Chunky Celery Soup Recipe

A chunky celery soup perfect for a winter day - celery, carrots, a potato, an onion, a bit of garlic, and some leftover wild rice.

Chunky Celery Soup

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.

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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.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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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.


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

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.


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

Culinary Cory

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.....


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!


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

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.


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!


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!


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


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!


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


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. :-) Melissa


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!


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!


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 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.


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


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


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