I started making this simple celery soup in March when we had a few extra bunches of wilted celery knocking around in the fridge. It has since become one of my favorite versatile dishes because it pairs well with nearly everything savory. It’s great as a stand-alone bowl of soup for lunch or alongside grilled cheese for a light dinner. But it’s also a magnificent light gravy served beneath a filet of salmon, chicken, or grilled vegetables, and it even tastes great cold. Who knew?
It takes minutes to prepare, and requires only the basics. It takes on new flavor by using a variety of onions. Now that we have fresh onions in the garden, I always chop up the green tops and add them in, too.
Saute onions in high-heat oil. Add garlic. Stir to incorporate. Add chopped celery, dried or fresh thyme, and twist of pepper. Add broth to cover the veggies. Boil at medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and cover with a lid to encourage veggies to steam and soften. (Optional: Add cubed potatoes for a creamier, heartier dimension to the soup. I typically prefer to highlight the flavor and natural creaminess of the onions and celery.)
Cook until celery is soft enough to fall apart when pressed on with a spoon. Turn off heat.
Use an immersion blender to puree into a creamy soup. You can play with this part of the process, leaving some vegetable bits or pureeing until entirely smooth. Alternatively, ladle into a blender, being careful not to over-blend or liquefy the soup.
Add 1-2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar and a generous drizzle of olive oil. The apple cider vinegar adds an important acidic component that brings out the flavor of all the ingredients combined. A few squeezes of lemon juice or white wine vinegar would work well here, too, but I prefer the mildly sweet addition of the apple cider vinegar.
Salt and pepper to taste, being careful not to over-salt. Celery is a high-sodium vegetable, and highly flavorful, so it naturally needs less salt. Be mindful, too, of whether or not your broth contains salt already.
Optional additions include a drizzle of heavy cream, or a small knob of butter added prior to pureeing for a richer, creamier texture and flavor. (Today, I used none of these as I was craving a clean, crisp soup with the mild flavor of a good olive oil.)
Top with red pepper and black pepper and a sprinkle of thyme, or serve beneath grilled salmon, meat, or veggies for a surprising alternative to typical sauces or gravy. I keep this soup in the fridge for several days and use it as a flavor addition to nearly everything savory, including fried eggs and tomatoes on toast.
- 1-2 medium onions or multiple varietal onions, including tops. Scallions/green onions and shallots work well here, too
- 2-4 medium cloves garlic, to preference, chopped coarsely
- High-heat oil for sauteeing (avocado, sunflower, safflower, or grape seed are all great options)
- 2 bunches of celery, including tops, washed and chopped coursely, all the way down to the root tip
- Thyme, 2-3 teaspoons dried, or 2-3 tablespoons fresh
- Course ground pepper
- Chicken or vegetable broth to cover (I used Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base)
- 1-2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Optional: Cubed potato, red pepper flakes, cream, butter for finish, grated cheese (my kids love it with some grated cheddar mixed in)