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November 15, 2011

Recipe for wild rice and cranberry soup


Driving from Rhode Island to Boston last week, I passed a large cranberry bog bordering the highway. If you live in my part of the world (home of the Ocean Spray growers cooperative), you've probably seen your share of cranberry harvests. The farmer floods the bog, the ripe berries rise to the surface, and what was, all summer, a nondescript lake becomes a ruby-colored vista. The sight of that bog reminded me that I've been meaning to make this wild rice and cranberry soup ever since I saw a photograph of it on the cover of A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: The Best Vegetarian Recipes. The recipe calls for half-and-half, but you can omit it altogether for a vegan soup that's beautiful, satisfying, and gluten-free.

Wild rice and cranberry soup

Adapted from A Beautiful Bowl of Soup. Serves 4-6.


1 Tbsp butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or arrowroot, for gluten-free)
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups cooked wild rice
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fried sage leaves or minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add the flour, and stir to incorporate. Gradually add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Increase heat to medium-high, and stir until the soup is thickened, 3 minutes. Add the rice and cranberries. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are plump.

Stir in half-and-half, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To fry the sage leaves, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small nonstick frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the sage leaves into the pan, and cook for 15-20 seconds, until the sage is crisp but not brown. Top individual bowls of soup with fried sage (or with fresh parsley leaves). Serve hot.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: SallyBR | November 15, 2011 at 03:57 PM

Wild rice and cranberry... that would be wonderful as an opening for a "light" Thanksgiving menu - ooops, come to think of it, does that exist?

love the sage with it too, Lydia... very interesting soup idea

Posted by: Lib Scott | November 15, 2011 at 04:50 PM

How would this work with fresh cranberries....which is, after all, what you get from a cranberry bog? I think the dry ones are heavily sugared.

Posted by: Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) | November 15, 2011 at 04:59 PM

Sally, as much as I try to make our menu light, all I can accomplish is lighter. You, too?

Lib, good question. Of course you can use fresh cranberries, but you'll have to watch for two things. First, the cranberries will be more prone to burst. Second, you might need to add some honey or agave, to balance the tartness of the fresh cranberries.

Posted by: susan g | November 17, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Gluten free except for the flour! Cornstarch? Anyway, another winner, Lydia. Maybe we'll have to extend Thanksgiving to the full weekend -- and it would be fun.

Posted by: Lydia | November 17, 2011 at 01:19 PM

Susan, ack! Thank you so much -- I'd meant to add arrowroot as the GF alternative and forgot it, but I've corrected the recipe now. I'm so grateful to readers who take the time to point out my goofs.

Posted by: SallyBR | November 22, 2011 at 01:25 PM

Lydia... not sure how to reply under your own comment, but just wanted to say you are not alone... I guess everyone tries to go light, but this time of the year the "classics" are all pretty heavy. Portion control, maybe? ;-)

Posted by: Jemma | December 4, 2011 at 01:12 PM

I made this soup after Thanksgiving and it was delicious - the second day I added some leftover turkey to it as well - will definitely add to my soup rotation! Thanks Lydia

Posted by: Rena Mowry | March 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM

I am so happy to have found your site! I have just made this soup and it is amazing! Definitely will be a keeper in my soup round up.

I have always loved soups, but my husband- not so much. Thanks to some of your recipes I am turning him into a soup lover as well. AND he is starting to see there is more to soup than the red & white can!

Posted by: Lydia | March 28, 2012 at 06:03 AM

Rena, how exciting! My husband, too, wasn't a natural soup lover, but he tastes all of the soups I post here, and he's really come to love soup almost as much as I do.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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