Corn, Watercress, and Potato Soup

corn watercress and potato soup topped with flaky sea salt
Photo: Christopher Testani
Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
55 mins

A vibrant vegan soup that's versatile enough for occasions such as a casual lunch outdoors, cold gazpacho shots at a cocktail party, or as a healthy dinner with a hunk of good bread.


  • 3 leeks (1 ¼ pounds), white and light-green parts separated from dark-green tops

  • 3 ears corn, with husks and silks attached (1 ¾ pounds), plus more kernels, blanched, for serving (optional)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

  • 1 russet potato (10 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 bunch watercress (6 ounces), washed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso

  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

  • Flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen


  1. Thoroughly rinse and drain dark-green leek tops; transfer to a pot. Remove husks and silks from corn, rinse and drain them, and transfer to pot. Strip corn from cobs and transfer cobs to pot (reserving kernels). Add 8 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and whole peppercorns to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids and reserving broth (you should have about 6 cups).

  2. Slice white and light-green parts of leeks; submerge in water and agitate with your hands to dislodge any dirt, then thoroughly drain. Wipe pot clean; add oil and heat over medium. Add sliced leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft but not developing any color (if color begins to develop, reduce heat), about 10 minutes. Add potato, 4 cups reserved broth, and reserved corn kernels to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potato is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes. Stir in all but a handful of watercress; simmer 2 minutes.

  3. Transfer soup to a blender with miso and vinegar; purée until smooth. (Be careful blending the hot liquid: Remove feed cap from blender lid and cover with a kitchen towel to let steam escape, and purée in two batches if necessary.) Season to taste and thin with more broth, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Serve warm or chilled, topped with blanched corn kernels, remaining watercress, a drizzle of oil, flaky salt, and ground pepper.

Cook's Notes

If you don't have watercress, try another peppery green, like arugula. No cider vinegar? Add a pour of white balsamic or a hard squeeze of citrus. This soup will thicken slightly as it cools; stir in more broth or water to reach the desired consistency.

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