Love and Olive Oil
Green Garlic Soup Redux

Green Garlic Soup Redux

Chez Panisse Green Garlic Soup Recipe

I first made this recipe back in 2007, in the early days of this blog when all I had was a set of lime green dishes and a tiny kitchen with harsh fluorescent lighting.

It was less than appetizing.

Don’t you just want to frame that? I mean, lime green soup in a lime green bowl? And what an artful sprinkle of black pepper!

My, my how far we’ve come.

Green Garlic & Red Potato Soup

(I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I will never get rid of my old photos, no matter how bad the photos might be. I know a lot of bloggers update old posts, but I, for one, appreciate the perspective of change and improvement. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and that progress is ever so apparent in cases like this.)

Still, I felt this soup deserved a second chance, so when I spotted green garlic at the market recently, I decided that it was time. Because, unlike what that old photo might make you think, it really is a beautiful soup… even if it isn’t *actually* lime green.

Green Garlic aka Spring or Young Garlic

Green garlic isn’t easy to come by. It’s only available for a short time in the spring before the garlic starts scaping, though you might easily mistake it for green onions or spring onions. Many farmers will sell it as they thin out their garlic plants, allowing the remaining bulbs to grow larger and more freely than if they were overcrowded. While I see garlic scapes pretty regularly around here, this is the first year I’ve actually seen green garlic. Needless to say I was quite excited.

Green garlic is much more mild in flavor than mature garlic; if you substituted 8 ounces of the later in this recipe you’d end up with something quite potent (let’s just say no vampires would dare venture near your house anytime soon). I’d actually say a better substitution, if you couldn’t find green garlic, would be leeks: the milder flavor would be more palatable in the final soup.

We halved this recipe using the handful of green garlic you see above; it was slightly less than the weight called for in the recipe, and so we added one or two cloves of mature garlic to make up for the difference. You only use the white parts of the green garlic, the rest you can use like you would green onions, or make it into a pesto.

Chez Panisse Green Garlic Soup Recipe

It’s not a quick soup: give yourself a solid 90 minutes from start to finish (10 years ago I said it took us 2 hours to prepare, so I guess I’ve improved in other ways as well). Also? Learn from my mistakes back then and don’t overfill your blender with hot liquid. Trust me. It only takes one hot-soup-volcano and you’ll never do it again.

Green Garlic & Red Potato Soup

But the effort is well worth it, as the result is a creamy, perfectly garlicy soup that is lovely alongside some good crusty bread. In addition to the black pepper, we topped it this time with a drizzle of olive oil, some thinly sliced garlic scapes (you could also slice some of the green parts, like green onion) as well as some fresh watercress, the peppery leaves proving the perfect contrast to the rich, creamy soup.

Green Garlic Soup

Green Garlic Soup

This ultra creamy potato-based soup uses young green garlic, which is harvested in the spring before the bulbs have a chance to develop. If you can’t find it, substitute leeks instead.

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  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 24 young garlic plants, white part only, halved lengthwise (about 8 ounces worth)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds (22 ounces) small red potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, to taste
  • ground pepper to taste
  • thinly sliced garlic scapes, olive oil, and watercress, for garnish (optional)


  1. Melt butter in large, heavy bottomed stock pot. Add garlic and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and remaining 1/2 cup water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the broth, cover, and allow to bubble gently for 20 more minutes.
  2. Allow to cool slightly. Puree the soup in batches in a blender for 2 minutes until smooth. If a smoother texture is desired, pass the puree through a medium-fine sieve and return to saucepan. Stir in the cream and salt. Add the vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time, tasting the soup after each addition, until it tastes good to you.
  3. Reheat the soup gently and serve in warm bowls. Grind black pepper generously over each portion and serve with slices of toasted or grilled sourdough bread.

Recipe from Chez Panisse Cooking.

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  1. I made this soup today for the first time and found it to be absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe as written (thank you for such a great recipe), but used fresh chives  (minced) from my herb garden for the garnish and that worked well. The soup has a velvety texture and wonderful sweet garlic flavor. My husband loved it, too! I froze a quart of it for later use and believe that will be delicious as well. I suspect we will use this recipe for years to come, both for special occasions and quiet dinners at home. Lovely recipe!

  2. This is a keeper! I did not have all ingredients on hand so there were several revisions. I used sweet potatoes because they are healthier (who cares if the soup is not white). Spring garlic? Not available in my town so I used a bunch of green onions, added a few slices of red onions and at the end of cooking the potatoes I tossed in a 1/2 t of garlic. Used organic potatoes so boiled the peelings first then tossed them out, saving the cooking water. Followed the basic recipe, using only 4 C of chicken broth (bone broth-Costco), not 6.

    Garnished with green shoots from green onions and homemade bean sprouts. The flavor was wonderful; the sweet potatoes gave it a gentle sweetness that I was not expecting – the quantity of vinegar added cuts the sweetness if desired. Oh yes, I used non-filtered apple cider vinegar (alkaline, remember health… from Trader Joe’s), about 1 t per bowl. Served hot the 1st night; cold the next night–perfect for the heat wave here in WA state. My new summer soup!

  3. Okay but needs significant modifications – probably 2x garlic for the amount of liquid specified here. Also be careful not to burn garlic in step 1 as 1/4c liquid isn’t really enough to keep garlic from burning unless using a very small pan. A good starting place at least

  4. This looks incredible!

  5. This sounds and looks amazing! Definitely trying this out soon!

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