Chunky Celery Soup

Chunky Celery Soup Recipe

Today I introduce to you a chunky celery soup made from everything that needed to be used up in my kitchen - celery, carrots, a potato, an onion, a bit of garlic, and some leftover wild rice. And while it might sound a bit boring, this soup is exactly what you want on a cold night. It's a study in dualities - both hearty and light, chunky yet brothy, simple with plenty going on.

Chunky Celery Soup Recipe

My bunch of celery had plenty of lively celery leaves at its crown, so I decided to make a quick pesto-style drizzle with them. Sometimes it is hard to find celery with the leaves intact, and don't worry if you can't get them, the soup is delicious on its own. Alternately you might experiment with any thinned pesto you might have on hand (for ex: I made a parsley oregano pesto the other night, would have be great here), a tapenade might be good, or a drizzle of chile oil? I do love the way the celery leaf pesto heightens the celery flavor in the soup, but again - don't let it discourage you if you can't get them.

Chunky Celery Soup Recipe

Really, you can use just about any cooked medium-sized grain in this recipe. I chose wild rice because I love it alongside celery. You could try a plump brown rice, barley, or even wheatberry here with good results. AS I mentioned up above, I was lucky enough to come across celery with the leaves intact on top. I made a drizzle out of one cup (lightly packed) celery leaves, 1 large clove of garlic, about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Puree all of these ingredients in a food processor for about 30 seconds.

1 large onion
1 large russet potato
3-4 small -medium carrots
10 medium-length stalks of celery, washed well
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups of lightly-flavored, great tasting, vegetable broth (or water)
2 cups cooked wild rice, brown rice, barley, or wheat berries

1/3 cup celery leaf pesto (optional, but see head notes)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into pieces that are about 1/2-inch or smaller. Do your best to cut everything roughly the same size, this will keep cooking time across the ingredients somewhat uniform. You should end up with about 2 1/2 cups of chopped celery.

In a large thick-bottomed soup pot over medium high heat combine the olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a few big pinches of salt. Saute for about ten minutes or until the onions and celery soften a touch and expel some water. Stir in the garlic and add the stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the celery, carrot and potatoes are just cooked through - resist the urge to over cook them into mush. Stir in the rice a few minutes before the potatoes and carrot are cooked though. Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into soup bowls. Top each with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto (opt) and/or some Parmesan cheese.

Serves about 6.


I send an email roughly once a week, sharing new recipes and cooking inspiration. - xo heidi
Heidi Swanson


This looks wonderful. I recently made a similar soup although next time I make it I will add the wild rice as you did.

Thanks for sharing! :)


Perfect! I made the mistake of buying celery at Costco (tons!) and have been wondering what to do with it!


this sounds delicious! My boyfriend is a huge celery lover and has begun to convert me. The celery leaf pesto is a great idea -- thanks for the inspiration!

Jen (Modern Beet)

This sounds great - love anything with pesto in it!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

That looks delicious. The flavor of celery is all too often shunted to the back, I like this front and center approach.


I love wild rice in soups.

And, like some of the other posters, I have some celery that needs using as well! Thanks, Heidi.

P.S. Made your thin mint cookies from Super Natural Cooking last night...yum!

Laurel from Simple Spoonful

Yay! By the way, I've now made the lima bean chipotle pepper soup, and the chickpea noodle soup (with fresh wild mushroom infused noodles) and they're both amazing. I trust all your soup recipes.


I love how you did the celery drizzle with the celery leaves... I always end up discarding them, but now I'll think twice!

The Wind Attack

love this recipe! i've made a celery soup with wild rice before and was amazed at the depth and earthiness that celery adds as a featured ingredient.

the purcells

I do so love your soup recipes. I have all of these items currently on hand.... soup it is.


This looks awesome! Now I know what to do with all the celery I have! :-D


I usually prefer my celery raw to cooked, but this looks worth trying!

Fit Bottomed Girls

With all these days of baking sugar cookies and sweets a simple healthful soup is just what I need... Thanks!

Organic Goodness

Thanks for the delicious recipe.


I can't wait to try this soup!

I'm normally not a huge fan of celery. However, I just ordered some lentil soup at a Mediterranean restaurant this weekend, and was commenting on how tasty the perfectly cooked chunks of celery were in it...

Now I'm inspired to try your recipe!



thanks for this delicious recipe,
love pesto,u made my day

Healthy Food

Celery leaf pesto!? That is brilliant.


"Tis the season for creative soup making!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

This looks so simple and nourishing. Perfect for a snowy lunch or dinner. Thanks Heidi!


looks divine, will make this week, thanks!


That looks so good! I love when you can make something new out of what's in your house!


Fantastic idea for the pesto - I always hate to discard the celery leaves, seems such a waste. Looks delish!


I made (and blogged about) two soups last weeks using just what I had on hand, both with wheatberries, which have such wonderful chewiness. I added a little lacto-fermented sauerkraut to both the soups just before serving and it brightened the flavors of everything else and its crunchy complexity.


TO Kate w/the tons of celery..... Celery is excellent in stir fry! Just add additional vegetables or whatever, my celery went amazing quick. As for the soup this is on my to do list, mainly because I will be able to taste the flavor and not have the celery hidden behind any cream or another bold vegetable. Heidi .... you have created another winner!


I recently made a similar soup, and instead of rice I used quinoa since I had some on hand and it was delicious as well!


Wonderful! I have all that stuff in my pantry and fridge too! This is a terrible time to let anything go to waste so I'm all for this......please share more "Waste not Want not" recipes! Thanks!


In light of the fact that it was -19 (yes, that's 19 BELOW ZERO) here last night, this soup looks perfect for today. Warm, comfort food. Just what I need. And I have most of the ingredients, including some leftover mixed brown rice. Thank you. I'm starting to count on you for delivering inspiration to my inbox on days like this.


Looks wonderful...I love the green soup in the middle of winter - reminds me of summer in a comforting way!


I heart celery! We just got a couple of celery root bulbs in our CSA...I wonder if you could use them in place of the potato? Or maybe just add them in chunks for a double dose - mmm.
btw -just made your peanut cutter cookies - the BEST ever!


Quinoa sounds like it would be really good in this soup. Sounds lovely, and an excellent idea for the pesto.


This soup looks like like a wonderfully vibrant winter soup - - delicious! Your photos always highlight the dishes perfectly and really make you want to just reach into the computer screen and start munching!! (Or in this case, slurping! ) I'll have to try this some time. Simple but yummy recipes are my favorite!


You know, I always wonder what to do with celery. THIS looks like something good that's both nice for the waistline and the budget too. Thanks!


The recipe sounds great. Will make it. I just do not understand not using the leaves as some of the posts have stated. If nothing else, chop them up and mix with peanut butter. Makes a pb sandwich really fantastic. Also is great for adding to salsas for an extra kick (especially if you are not a cilantro fan or just don not have any on hand). The heart leaves are the best but the outer leaves are good also.


I am diabetic and it would be great if you could include the amount of carbs, protein, fats, etc. to all recipes to help me eat the proper foods for my condition. Thank you very much!

Barbara Ann

Amazing soup!
If you want it mild leave out the pesto
But the pesto gives it a great kick and is so quick and easy!
Thank you so much Heidi!


Just made this. EASY and yummy. Added broccoli that I had left over, and 2 cups of chicken broth, because that's what I had. Yummmm.....


I love coming up with new recipe ideas based on things I need to use up in my kitchen.

Culinary Cory

Yum. This looks really really good and perfect for someone who is not a great cook and a perfect thing to do with celery, esp. for a vegetarian.


Normally I'm not the biggest fan of cooked celery (the taste? the texture?). But the potatoes make it look so good. I'm always happy to find hearty soup recipes.

Rachel Goldman

My new favorite soup! I'm already a celery maniac, leaves & heart & all but never would have thought of the pesto. Another stroke of genius Heidi! I added one more intensifier which I use all the time, even at the table: celery seed.(Sold in the spice section.) Thanks for this great recipe.


I LOVE celery! I can't wait to try this. Thanks, yet again for another lovely recipe for me to meddle with.


Okay, they say timing is everything; well yours was perfect for this celery soup. With this weeks 25degree weather here in Portland, Or a warm hearty soup hit the spot..I subbed mushrooms for potatoes and some leftover lentil/amaranth for the rice...but it was still super yum! Thanks Heidi!


I'm grateful for the celery leaf pesto. I've been thinking of what to do with the leaves of the celery I buy. I'm also wondering if this will work with ginger, not just garlic, and chicken broth. Is it okay to use bouillion cubes?


I love that you just took what needed to be used out of your fridge and made a soup with it! It sooo sounds like something I would do!


mmm... sounds very healthy and the photo looks fantastic!
I'm trying it tomorrow. It will be perfect for the cold weather. :)

Kitchen M

I dont like celery
even though i am gonna try it.


I love making soups and stir-frys with leftover stuff in the kitchen pantry. Thanks for the tasty recipe.


On cold days nothing hits the spot more than making homemade soup on the fly. We often do the same thing here at the MODsquad. As always, your pictures are beautiful and the meals are delicious.


Celery is one of those veggies that I have never been able to like, but my husband and kids all love it so I think this will be a big hit in my house.


That sounds like a wonderful recipe. We call that sort of thing "comfort food" really would be great on a cold night! Thanks so much for the tip...Greg Sprout

Greg Sprout

this looks amazing as does everything on your site. your recipes have taken me and my cooking to a whole new inspired level. thank YOU!


I made this last night and it was delicious. I was not sure it would have enough flavor but it was full of flavor. The only thing I changed was that I used orzo instead of the wild rice because that's what I had on hand and it was great. We had rueben sandwiches made on the panini grill and it was perfect for a 20 degree evening meal!


it really does the trick for somethin hot after work

tom geoff

Smells good and tastes great on screen! I just wish it would translate to 3D:(! Great for cold wintery nights!


I am preparing it today, even though my husband does not like celery, I think he will love it ! I am looking forward to tasting it myself !


This sounds great. I wasn't sure when I saw the title but the recipe looks like it would be tasty.


Gotta try this one! Looks really yummy and a really good idea on the Pesto. :-)


I made this tonight, and it was wonderful! I used Rapunzel's Sea Salt and Herb bouillon and threw in a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne.

Thanks, Heidi!


This sounds great, I always have celery lurking in the fridge


Barbara Ann,
It sounds like you need to learn to figure that out yourself, instead of asking Heidi to do it...


I made this soup last night. It was absolutely amazing. The celery pesto for the soup was brilliant.


How do I add this chunky celery soup recipe to my tastebook??? You should set up a short cut for your new recipes to be added.

BTW - Thank you so much for this site!!


I love the soup - the best of its kind! I just need some advice on where to get celery leaf pesto. I tried Whole Foods but they didn't have it. If the only way is to make it yourself can I use the regular basil pesto?


I absolutely love this idea! I am a MAJOR fan of celery. Just the fresh taste it leaves in your mouth is enough to make even the most unhappy campers smile. I also love the way that celery turns my stool that wonderful green hue. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My bowel movements will never be the same!



I am sitting here nursing a bad cold and my boyfriend is making a pot of your celery soup in the kitchen as I write this. I know it will be perfect meal for a sickie like me. Thanks for the inspiration!

HS: I hope you recover soon Bethany!


Loved the soup - did not like the pesto at all though. Thought it had too much oil and overpowered the delicate soup.

HS: I like the "pesto" thin enough to easily drizzle - you can really make it as thick or thin as you prefer - you could even add nuts or grated cheese, etc. We'll have to disagree about the flavor.


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