Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Dec

Watercress Bacon Soup

Whether you live in an area being hit by a winter cold snap or you’re lucky enough to be basking in a balmy climate, there is comfort to be found in a bowl of soup. A sip of steaming soup will warm and nourish you to your core, but there’s also great comfort found in the fact that you can’t screw up soup too badly. Gather ingredients in one pot, simmer, and voila, you’ve got soup.

There is however, a bit of an art to selecting just the right ingredients and we think Danielle Thalman has done just that with her Watercress Bacon Soup. Our first soup entry for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest strikes just the right balance of home cooked comfort food (there’s bacon in it!) and intriguing, complex flavor from a green called watercress.

Watercress is one of those unassuming, weed-like greens that lets others, like spinach and arugula, hog the spotlight even though it has just as much, if not more, to offer. Those of you who buy watercress regularly already know about its pronounced peppery flavor and delicate leaves. But have you realized how insanely nutritious this green is? Watercress is an abundant source of beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1 and B6, C, E and K, iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It also contains a flavonoid called quercetin that is thought to act as a natural anti-histamine and reduce inflammation.

All these nutrients, and its peppery, earthy flavor, make watercress a nice contrast to meaty, rich bacon. Together, with the help of just a little onion and garlic, watercress and bacon simmer into a soup loaded with flavor and comforting goodness.


  • 4-8 slices bacon
  • One bunch of watercress (wash and separate the leaves and stems then chop the stems up fine)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (or white onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 cups meat stock
  • Inner leaves of celery (to add flavor to the broth)

Optional Ingredients: For a richer broth, Danielle sometimes adds 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream or a peeled and cubed potato (sweet or russet) to the soup. When she wants to turn the soup into an even heartier winter meal, she’ll grill a NY steak while the soup is simmering and then plop half the steak into each bowl of soup.


Start by frying the bacon in a large, deep frying pan. Then remove the bacon, chop it up and set it aside; use the bacon grease (or olive oil if desired) to sauté the onion and garlic until browned. Then add the watercress stems, crumbled bacon, stock and celery leaves.

(If using cream or potato, add now) Simmer for at least 30 minutes with a lid on then add the watercress leaves and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Pluck out the celery leaves. Add salt and pepper if needed, but the watercress and bacon should already provide adequate seasoning.

Makes two big meal-sized servings or 3-4 smaller “lunch side dish” servings.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Looks amazing! I’ll have to give that a try.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on December 12th, 2009
  2. Oh…my God that looks good.

    emmcubed wrote on December 12th, 2009
  3. Perfect soup recipe for a cold snowy day!

    Grok wrote on December 12th, 2009
  4. Wel rnt u th cavewoman, Danielle. :/ …Bt no one knows u live right by th golf course!! >:)

    XxtoastxX wrote on December 12th, 2009
    • “toast” is my vegetarian teenaged daughter, you can ignore her… :)

      DThalman wrote on December 13th, 2009
  5. Just made it. Instead of adding the optional salt, I used baby shrimp, for seasoning and for extra protein. It was very good.

    Rhys wrote on December 13th, 2009
  6. I had a similar soup at a restaurant last night, but they used broccoli rabe instead of watercress. Bacon in a broth-based soup is a very new idea to me, but it’s amazingly delicious!

    Kristin J wrote on December 13th, 2009
  7. Looks delicate and delicious!!

    iisierra wrote on December 13th, 2009
  8. Will be making that tonight!

    Lars wrote on December 14th, 2009
  9. Made it tonight. Delicious.

    Lars wrote on December 14th, 2009
  10. Fantastic recipe!

    Robin wrote on December 15th, 2009
  11. I made this tonight, and added mushrooms and a small potato. Woooweee! Thanks for another fabulous recipe

    MariaNYC wrote on December 17th, 2009
  12. i like the ideas for additions, mushrooms and shrimp! the collaboration on this site is phenomenal. truth be told, i almost NEVER make this without a sweet potato. since i generally eat no more than 1/3 a batch per day, it’s not too bad on the carbs to add the potato. also i’ve found the quality of the stock is key. my best batch ever i made with home-canned goat stock from a little pit-cooking project. (hey, that might be a good primal post…pit cooking. Or maybe he’s done it already.) also i actually cook it with the lid off, i like it to get really thick. i cook it WAAAAy down. not as pretty but i like this to be a thick paste of fat, potatoes and leafy greens. my next project is a fish stew–i need to eat more fish.

    DThalman wrote on December 18th, 2009
  13. I made this over the weekend – I substituted a few dashes of celery seed instead of leaf, as I had no fresh celery. Seemed to impart the same flavoring.

    This is a great winter pickmeup!

    Patrick Hall wrote on December 22nd, 2009
  14. I made this soup last weekend and it’s wonderful! I used organic turkey bacon because I needed to use some up I had in the fridge and it was good. Just a note to those adding cream (half and half works too): don’t add it prior to the 30 minute simmer as stated in the recipe or it will separate and the soup will look a little nasty. Add it at the end and cook just long enough to warm through.

    Ruby wrote on January 12th, 2010
  15. It’s winter in New Zealand and I made this today – absolutely fantastic!

    Dawn wrote on July 8th, 2010

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!