Fresh Herb Soup

Every summer my tarragon plant gets quickly out of control, growing to at least four feet tall and taking over a good third of our large herb bed.  I do a lot of things to try to keep it in check–pesto, tarragon salt, tarragon chicken, etc.–but sooner or later it has to be somewhat aggressively hacked back.  This year all of the herbs are growing out of bounds, so it was time to make a pot of fresh herb soup.  I also had some green garlic and green shallots from the C.S.A. share (both are just the immature versions of those plants, and you can use the whole plant for cooking), so I chopped those up and softened them in olive oil and then poured in some stock and tossed in a whole lot of fresh herbs.

Herbs for soup

You can use any types of herb you like, just keep in mind that you should include higher ratios of milder herbs, like parsley, tarragon, and thyme, and smaller amounts of those with stronger flavors, such as rosemary.  I used a whole lot of tarragon, plus lemon thyme, oregano, dill, chives, and a little bit of rosemary.  The most time-consuming aspect of this soup is stripping the herbs away from any woody stems.  For thyme, oregano, and tarragon, you can just run your fingers from the top to the bottom and the leaves will strip off.  Use younger, more tender herbs whenever possible.

Fresh Herb Soup

I topped the soup with poached eggs and a drizzle of olive oil to make it into a light meal.

Fresh Herb Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 bunch green shallots (or green onions), trimmed and chopped
  • 2 stalks green garlic (or a few cloves of mature garlic), trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • A few large handfuls of mixed fresh herbs, such as tarragon, thyme, oregano, and dill, all tough stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • poached eggs and/or extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  1. In a soup pot, warm the green shallots and green garlic in the olive oil until they have just softened. Add in the vegetable stock and all of the herbs, along with the white pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the toughest herbs are soft.
  2. Carefully blend the soup to break down the herbs, using either an immersion blender to blend it in the pot, or by transferring the soup in thirds to a stand blender (when blending hot liquids in a stand blender, remove the cap insert and cover with a hand towel while blending, so you don't get splashed with hot liquid). Taste the soup and adjust the salt, if needed.
  3. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top each serving with a poached egg and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

Fresh Herb Soup

You can also toss in a few handfuls of spinach, chard, or kale to give this a little more body, but I like the flavor of the herbs alone.  Some grated parmesan is another nice way to top the soup before serving.

This barely made a dent in the tarragon plant, so I will be making some pesto really soon–it’s wonderful with seafood.

Thanks for reading,


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5 Responses to Fresh Herb Soup

  1. Judee@ Gluten Free A-Z Blog July 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    I am a soup lover and soup maker, but I’ve never made an herb soup like this. I have lots of herbs on my patio. Pinning this one to try next week.

    • Angela July 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

      Hi Judy, hope you enjoy the soup! It works well for the excess.

  2. Ellen VanSlyke January 9, 2019 at 11:18 am #

    Years ago, our daughter-in-law, Sherri, treated Jim and me to lunch at The Sheraton Inn where she was working in Accounting. I was not feeling well but ordered some soup. I do not recall the name of it and tried to find out but, apparently, they had stopped serving it by the time I got around to trying to get the recipe. It was a very bright green soup from all the herbs and whatever else was in it. The broth was clear so I know there was no milk in it. It was the most delicious soup I had ever tasted and would love to find the recipe. If you are reading this and can help me out, please do.

    • Angela January 24, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

      Ellen, I’m not sure, but is sounds similar to a spinach-and-herb soup that I had a while back: fresh spinach wilted with green onions, some herbs (parsley, thyme, maybe basil?), garlic, and chicken stock, then pureed. It was bright green. I have also had one made with fresh peas that was a bright green.


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