This creamy vegetable potage soup is healthy, warming and soul-satisfying. It’s the meal I turn to when I’m craving a hug—it’s easy-to-make and will soothe you from the inside out. I pair it with toasted, cheesy baguettes (oh, swoon ?) for a mid-week meal that my whole family adores. [Video below!!]

Close up of a cheesy baguette dunking into a bowl of potage soup.

Vegetable potage soup

I studied in the south of France during college, and like so many cooks before me, it’s where I discovered my passion for food.  As the weather cooled, my host mom (mère Michelle) would serve a steaming bowl of potage to start each meal. It’s one of my strongest taste memories from that first time in France (and I ate a lot of delicious things!), probably since it tastes like a grandma’s hug (more like an elegant French grandmère’s hug). It was just what I craved alone in a new country. 

What is potage?

Potage is a thick soup that’s usually pureed. It has its origins in France and was a staple of medieval cuisine (if you’ve ever heard the term “potage garden,” that’s where it comes from, as the vegetables were used to make potage). It’s usually served at the start of a meal.

Side angle shot of a bowl of soup topped with chopped pistachios.

French vegetable pureed soup

Michelle would make a different potage nightly, using everything from potatoes, to celery root, winter squash, carrots, celery, rutabaga and/or turnips. She would simmer the vegetables in water along with garlic and herbs, then puree everything until rich and creamy. I’ve been making my own potages ever since I returned home to the states.

The ingredients for the vegetable potage soup laid out on a countertop.

Easy potage recipe

This version brings me right back to her kitchen. It has a base of onions, carrots and celery, and is scented with garlic and thyme. The soup is thickened with sweet potatoes, giving it a savory-sweet flavor. Since there’s no added cream and is made with simply with water, it’s ultra healthy yet tastes totally seductive. Best of all, it comes together in less than forty minutes. To make a meal of it, I serve the soup with cheesy baguettes, my own American-grilled-cheese interpretation. 

Process shot divided into four quadrants showing the steps for making vegetable potage soup.

Can you make potage in the slow cooker?

Yes! In fact, I feature a slightly different sweet potato potage recipe in my cookbook, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker. In that recipe, which is made with leeks and apple, everything just goes straight into the slow cooker without any pre-cooking. However, for this version, I suggest sautéing the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until they start to soften (about 3-5 minutes) before adding them to the slow cooker (OR you can simply microwave them all together for 5 minutes!). Otherwise, the onion won’t completely soften and can overwhelm the other flavors. Cook the potage on the low setting for 5-6 hours, or on the high setting for 3-4 hours. 

Cheesy Baguettes

Toasted cheesy baguettes are the perfect accompaniment to the soup (but are optional, of course). Baguette halves are toasted until lightly crisp, and then are topped with shredded cheese (I love gruyere, Comté or cheddar) and are baked again. The cheese melts into the crevices of the bread, creating the perfect soup dunker. For an extra kick, you can rub the toasted bread with garlic before adding the cheese—think cheesy garlic bread!

Close up of cheesy baguettes.

Substitutions you can make in this soup

This is a really flexible soup and can be adapted to what you have on hand. Here are some easy swaps:

  • Swap out the onion for 2 large leeks.
  • Use winter squash in place of the sweet potato. 
  • Switch out the thyme for other herbs or spices (think curry powder and ginger)
  • Use chicken or vegetable broth in place of the water (although I prefer the cleaner taste of water).
Close-up overhead shot of a bowl of potage soup.

Tips for making potage:

  • Slowly sautéing the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil helps to draw out their flavors, resulting in a better tasting soup.
  • I prefer to use water in this soup, which gives it a clean flavor, but you could use chicken or vegetable broth instead (see above for more swap ideas). 
  • You can use a hand blender or regular blender to puree the potage. I love my Vitamix, which gives the soup a super silky texture. 
  • A few drops of lemon juice at the end brightens the soup and rounds out the flavors.
  • If you’d like, you can drizzle the soup with olive oil, heavy cream or coconut cream before serving (although it’s not necessary). I love sprinkling the top with finely chopped nuts for a bit of texture.

This vegetable potage takes me right back to France, while rooting me here in America.  It’s the perfect meal to escape the mid-winter blues.   

More soup recipes to try:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Easy Vegetable Potage Soup with Cheesy Baguettes

Healthy, simple and utterly satisfying, this creamy vegetable potage (i.e. pureed soup) is comfort food at its finest! The soup gets thickness and richness from sweet potatoes, and water is used in place of broth, giving the potage a clean, pure flavor (and making it naturally vegan). It’s a nutritious meal that can be adapted to what you have on hand (see above for swap suggestions). Toasted cheesy baguettes are the perfect accompaniment, but are optional (for an extra kick, rub the toasted baguettes with garlic before adding the cheese). Dunk a baguette into the steaming soup, take a cheesy, creamy bite, and welcome to heaven.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy vegetable soup, healthy sweet potato soup recipe, potage soup recipe
Servings: 4 -6 people

Ingredients

Potage

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (1 large potato), peeled and diced
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 lemon wedge

Cheesy baguettes (optional)

  • ½ baguette, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup packed shredded gruyere, Comté or cheddar cheese

For serving

  • Finely chopped pistachios, pecans or hazelnuts (optional)

Instructions

Make the potage

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and sweet potato. Season with more salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes. Pour in the water. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes and vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. (While the soup cooks, make the cheesy baguettes—see below.)
  • Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to taste.

Make the cheesy baguettes

  • Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Arrange the baguette halves on the prepared baking sheet (cut sides up) and brush them lightly with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 4-6 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top. Mound the cheese evenly over each piece of bread. Bake 1-2 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve

  • Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with finely chopped nuts, if you'd like. Serve the soup with the cheesy baguettes on the side for dunking.

Notes

Do Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips:
  • Slowly sautéing the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil helps to draw out their flavors, resulting in a better tasting soup.
  • I prefer to use water in this soup, which gives it a clean flavor, but you could use chicken or vegetable broth instead (see above for more swap ideas). 
  • You can use a hand blender or regular blender to puree the potage. I love my Vitamix, which gives the soup a super silky texture. 
  • A few drops of lemon juice at the end brightens the soup and rounds out the flavors.
  • If you’d like, you can drizzle the soup with olive oil, heavy cream or coconut cream before serving (although it’s not necessary). I love sprinkling the top with finely chopped nuts for a bit of texture.

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