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Celery Takes Center Stage in This Decadent Soup

This luscious celery soup gives the stalky produce the star treatment it deserves.

The Washington Post

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celery soup

(Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Celery rarely gets the spotlight. Sure, it’s plenty popular as a foundational ingredient in countless recipes — such as part of the French mirepoix alongside onions and carrots — but when was the last time you saw it on a restaurant menu as a star ingredient? Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and so many other vegetables have had lengthy star turns. But not celery.

It’s like those character actors whose faces we all know from some of our favorite shows and movies but have to look up their names every time we see them to help us remember who they are.

But celery possesses an often-overlooked main character energy. It can take the lead and be so much more than just one of many ingredients you throw into soups and stocks or are given as a freebie with your order of Buffalo wings. Use it raw to add great crunch to salads. Braise the stalks for a showstopping side dish. Toss it in a stir-fry. Roast it underneath chicken to absorb all of that schmaltzy goodness. (I’m going to have to add that last one to my list of recipe ideas.)

And that’s just to name a few off the top of my head. Celery’s possibilities are limited only by a cook’s imagination.

So when I was flipping through “Big Heart Little Stove” by Erin French, a recipe for soup using an entire bunch of celery caught my eye. “Fresh, sweet celery cooked down with aromatics and given decadent body with butter and cream is nothing short of elegant,” French wrote in the introduction to the recipe. With words like “decadent” and “elegant,” I was hooked, so I used it as inspiration for my own version.

celery soup 2.jpg

The soup being pureed with an immersion blender. (Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

This recipe calls for an entire bunch of celery, and the vegetable’s flavor gets taken up a couple of notches with celery seeds in the soup and celery leaves used as garnish. (The leaves are full of flavor and nutrients.) A couple of Honeycrisp apples — or whatever variety you have on hand — add an extra touch of sweetness, while canned white beans lend earthiness, body and protein to the soup.

Simmered in chicken or vegetable broth or stock — alongside onion, garlic and butter — until tender, the entire pot gets pureed with an immersion blender until smooth. Heavy cream gets stirred in at the end for even more lusciousness. (And don’t forget to season to taste!) Last but not least, a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil — to stick with the green color palette — are added to each bowl for nuttiness, texture and even more richness.

This soup is bursting with sweet celery flavor made elegantly decadent by the various forms of fat (butter, cream and olive oil) included in the mix. That first spoonful brought a smile to my face that only grew with each subsequent slurp — and I’m certain it will do the same for you.


Servings: 4-6 (makes about 9 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 bunch celery (2 pounds), chopped, plus leaves reserved for serving
  • 2 medium Honeycrisp apples (12 ounces total), peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion (7 ounces), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups no-salt-added or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or stock
  • One (15.5-ounce) can no-salt-added or low-sodium white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, with their liquid
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped roasted pistachios, for serving


Active: 30 mins Total: 40 mins

Step 1

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the celery seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 2

Add the celery, apples, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery and onions start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the broth or stock, beans and butter, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Step 4

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Or you can puree the soup in batches in a blender: Be careful to not fill it more than halfway, and make sure to remove the center ring from the lid and hold a kitchen towel over the lid as you blend to prevent splatters.) Stir in the cream. Taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, as desired. Ladle the soup into bowls; top with celery leaves, pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil; and serve warm.


Nutritional Facts

Per serving (1 1/2 cups), based on 6

  • Calories


  • Fat

    21 g

  • Saturated Fat

    10 g

  • Carbohydrates

    26 g

  • Sodium

    427 mg

  • Cholesterol

    40 mg

  • Protein

    7 g

  • Fiber

    8 g

  • Sugar

    11 g

Aaron Hutcherson is a writer and recipe developer for Post Food at The Washington Post. He is a culinary school graduate and has worked professionally in the food and media worlds in various capacities since 2012.

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This post originally appeared on The Washington Post and was published April 9, 2024. This article is republished here with permission.

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