Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche

Step outside of your comfort zone and discover the pure goodness that is this Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup recipe! It’s a hearty yet bright plant-based soup recipe that is the perfect introduction to this peppery leafy green at its seasonal best from April through October. 

My husband, David, will tell you he kept a pretty basic palette before we started dating. I’ve since turned him into a huge fan of beets, Korean melons, persimmons, butternut and delicata squash, kale, lima beans and, the latest, watercress! It may not be the most popular leafy green but if you’re a newbie it’s worth a try – and I think you’re going to enjoy it as much as David does.

What is Watercress?

Watercress is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable that grows in water, hence its name. Nutritionally speaking, watercress has a lot going for it. Its taste and texture are also wonderful. Watercress leaves are delicate and taste peppery making it a great addition to wraps, salads, sandwiches and, as we’ve created here, a deliciously creamy soup. 

For salads, I like to mix arugula with other leafy greens and the same is true of watercress. It’s not a green that I would use as the base of my salad, but it’s lovely when married with salad vegetables and other mixed greens, such as baby spinach, kale or spring mix. 

Apply the same line of thinking when it comes to using watercress in soup. In this plant-based recipe watercress shares the spotlight with roasted garlic and is emulsified using white beans and a bit of potato for thickening. It’s a hearty yet fresh soup that just might be unlike anything you’ve had before.

Health Benefits of Watercress

Watercress is an uber healthy superfood that is rich in Vitamin A as well as Vitamins C, Eand K and it has a high antioxidant count. Calcium, iron and potassium are also among the more than 50 essential nutrients found in watercress. That is not an exaggeration: watercress is a literal super green. 

Combined, the vital minerals in watercress contribute to a crazy impressive list of health benefits, including but not limited to improving blood pressure, bone health, digestion, eye health, immune system and skin elasticity, among others. 

Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup Recipe Ingredients

This bright and creamy watercress soup recipe leans on fresh whole foods and a few pantry staples you likely already have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need to make this healthy, plant-forward soup recipe. 

Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup:

  • Garlic
  • Watercress
  • White beans, such as cannellini or great northern beans
  • Shallot 
  • Potato
  • Vegetable broth
  • Fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley, basil and thyme
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper   


Lemon Crème Fraîche:

  • Crème fraîche
  • Fresh lemon juice

How to Make Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche

This plant-forward soup recipe takes about 45 minutes to make and yields 4 generous servings. Please note that I highly recommend making the lemon crème fraîche a day in advance, or at least several hours in advance. Absolutely divine! Keep leftover watercress soup and lemon crème fraîche refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 4 days.

Step 1. Roast the garlic. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the tops off of two heads of garlic, drizzle with olive oil (optional), wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, unwrap and let cool.

Step 2. Cook the vegetables.

Start cooking the vegetables when the garlic has been roasting for about 15 minutes. Start by sauteing the shallots and diced potatoes in extra-virgin olive oil until the shallots are translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth, cover, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. At this point, the roasted garlic should be finished. Remove the garlic from its skin and add to the soup pot along with the beans. Cook for about 5 minutes. 

Step 3. Puree the soup.

Remove the soup from the heat and add the fresh herbs and watercress. Using an immersion blender, blend until completely emulsified and smooth. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your taste. 

Step 4. Make the lemon crème fraîche.

In a small bowl, use a whisk to combine the fresh lemon juice and crème fraîche. I enjoy adding fresh cracked pepper and a bit of lemon zest, but that is completely optional. Again, if you can make the lemon crème fraîche in advance you’ll be so glad you did.

Step 5. Garnish and serve!

Finally, divide the soup among four bowls and drizzle with lemon crème fraîche. Other ideas include a drizzle of olive oil, and additional squeeze of fresh lemon juice, grated parmesan, fresh herbs and croutons. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup: Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a gluten-free recipe?

Yes, this recipe leans on plant-forward whole foods that are naturally gluten free. 

Can I make this a vegan soup? 

Absolutely! Simply eliminate the crème fraîche. The soup is equally as delicious with a quick spritz of fresh lemon juice. 

Can I make this recipe oil free? 

Yes, use water or broth in place of the olive oil when sautéing the vegetables. Eliminate the olive oil completely when roasting the garlic.

Is this a low-sodium recipe? 

We have intentionally made the recipe without a great deal of added salt; however, there is salt in vegetable broth as well as trace amounts in crème fraîche and vegetables. For that reason, we consider this recipe low-sodium but it is not sodium-free.

Can I make this soup in advance? 

It is highly recommended to make the crème fraîche up to 24 hours in advance and store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve it. There’s no concern over preparing the soup in advance as well.

What is crème fraîche?

Crème fraîche is a cultured cream. It is thick and the consistency is somewhere between Greek yogurt and sour cream. crème fraîche originated in France and is a rich, velvety cream that tastes more like sour cream than Greek yogurt. You’ll find it in small containers at the grocery store. crème fraîche is high in fat and calories and should be used in moderation if you’re a health-conscious home cook.

Can I make the lemon crème fraîche in advance?

Yes! In fact, I recommend it. This is one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche


Step outside of your comfort zone and experience the pure goodness of this nutrient-dense soup that features roasted garlic, watercress, fresh herbs and a bright and velvety lemon crème fraîche.

  • Total Time: 45 mins.
  • Yield: 4 1x


Units Scale

Roasted Garlic and Watercress Soup:

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 cup diced potato, such as yellow or Yukon Golds
  • 5 cups low or no-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans or 14.5-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces watercress
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley, basil and thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Lemon Crème Fraîche:

  • Crème fraîche
  • Fresh lemon juice


  • Author: Cortney Sparkman
  • Prep Time: 10 mins.
  • Cook Time: 35 mins.
  • Category: Soups + Stews
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: watercress soup, healthy soup recipe, plant-forward soup, plant-based recipe, crème fraîche

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Latest Recipes

Recipe Categories

Hey! I’m Cortney.
Welcome to Sweet New Roots!

I hope these recipes and resources inspire you to get creative in your kitchen. Let’s get cooking!

Don’t miss a thing!

Stories and recipes, straight to your inbox. Subscribe to the Sweet New Roots newsletter today.