I’m challenging myself this year to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals. Does food taste better with bacon sprinkled on top? Yes, yes it does. But as reducing our meat consumption is one thing we can all do to help save this planet of ours, it’s worth investigating which dishes can be made without animal products and still taste great. This Vegan Potato Leek Soup is a case in point.
Traditionally, I’ve made this dish with cream (and, ok, with bacon bits on top), but I decided to see if I could get the same hearty, creamy, warming soup without it. I’m using vegetable instead of chicken stock for the liquid, and then a bit of coconut milk at the stage where you might normally add cream. And, I’ve added some mild miso paste to give the soup a bit more depth and savoriness. The result? Delicious, and just as creamy as the original. Comfort food at its most nurturing.
How do you make Vegan Potato Leek Soup?
Start by preparing your vegetables. Peel and chop 3 medium potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks. Slice a small onion in half, and with the flat side of the onion facing down, remove the skin and dice. Peel and chop one clove of garlic. Cut off the dark green leaves of 3 medium leeks and rinse. Remove the outside leek layers, and check to see if there is dirt between the remaining layers. If so, slice thinly and place leek slices in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove leeks with a slotted spoon, trying not to disturb the dirt at the bottom of the bowl. If leeks look clean, just slice thinly.
Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions, garlic, leeks, and 1.5 teaspoons miso paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned and miso is fully incorporated into the vegetables.
Add potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 4 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, with the pot partly covered, until potatoes are tender. Now blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. However, let the soup cool down a little before blending. Blitzing hot soup in a regular blender can be dangerous! After soup is puréed, bring back to a simmer, and add 1/2 cup coconut milk. If soup is too thick for your liking, add more vegetable broth. Heat soup gently for 5 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld. (If you have added over a half cup of vegetable broth, you may want to heat for a little longer since that’s a lot of extra liquid.) Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with a swizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped chives to serve.
One quick note on the coconut milk—if you want, you can leave this out of the recipe entirely. The soup will still blend together smoothly without it, but I do enjoy the extra richness it brings to the dish.
What type of potato should I use for soup?
For soup, you want a creamy potato rather than a starchy one. Yukon gold potatoes are perfect, as are many thin-skinned potatoes like fingerlings and white potatoes. In France, my potato of choice is the Mona Lisa potato. I find it at my favorite vegetable vendor in the marché. Potatoes to avoid are traditional baking potatoes, like russet potatoes, which are too starchy for soup and can create a mealy texture.
What is miso paste?
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans. While that may not sound appealing, its taste is almost the very definition of umami. It’s salty and savory, and a little funky. A little goes a long way. The paste is similar in consistency to a nut butter and comes in several different varieties from light to dark (often labeled white or sweet up to red or brown). The darker the miso paste, the longer the fermentation, and the more intense the miso flavor. You can often use any miso you like for a recipe, but you may want to use less if you have a dark miso paste.
It’s delicious in salad dressings, in marinades, in broth or soup, and in a glaze for fish. Mix it with coconut milk and lime juice to make an easy cooking sauce for vegetables, chicken, or fish. Mix it with butter to serve with grilled or sautéed vegetables. You can even mix it into baked goods to cut their sweetness just a bit and add depth of flavor. In terms of nutritional value, miso is very high in sodium; however, it also is a great source of probiotics since it is a fermented food product.
What should I serve with potato leek soup?
This soup is perfect served with some crusty bread and a side salad. If you want to stay vegan and gluten-free with your meal, try serving with my Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Miso Dressing or my Kale Salad with Cranberries (minus the goat cheese on top). Some simple greens tossed with my Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing or my Meyer Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette would also be delicious with this soup.
How long will this vegan potato leek soup last in the fridge?
This soup will last in the refrigerator for 3 days. After that, freeze any leftovers (see below). Note that soup will thicken up as it cools. If it is still too thick when you reheat it, stir in some broth or water to loosen it up.
Can you freeze vegan potato leek soup?
Yes, you can freeze this soup. Because this soup is vegan, you don’t have the issue of cream or milk separating when frozen and then thawed. That said, cooked potatoes can also have an issue when frozen and then thawed. If when you thaw and reheat the soup, you find the texture to be a little off, just give it another whirl with the immersion blender. Note that you should never freeze hot soup. Let it cool to at least room temperature before storing in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Even better, cool it completely in the refrigerator before freezing.
If you are looking for other vegan recipes, be sure to check out my:
- Vegan Chickpea Curry with Spinach
- Quinoa Grain Bowl with Sesame-Ginger Dressing
- Orzo Pasta Salad with Black Beans and Corn
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 lb (475g) Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 medium-large leeks
- 1 1/5 t. white or yellow miso paste
- 4-5 cups (950 - 1180 ml) vegetable stock
- 1/2 c. (118 ml) full-fat coconut milk
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped chives, for garnish
- Start by preparing your vegetables. Peel and chop potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks.
- Peel and dice onion.
- Peel and chop garlic.
- For the leeks, cut off the dark green leaves and rinse. Remove the outside leek layer, and check to see if there is dirt between the remaining layers. If so, slice thinly and place leek slices in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove leeks with a slotted spoon, trying not to disturb the dirt at the bottom of the bowl. If leeks look clean, just slice thinly.
- Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add chopped onions, garlic, leeks, and miso paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned and miso is fully incorporated into the vegetables.
- Add potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, with the pot partly covered, until potatoes are tender.
- Now blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Bring soup back to a simmer, and add coconut milk.
- If soup is too thick for your liking, add as much of the extra cup of vegetable broth as desired. Heat gently for 5 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with a swizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped chives to serve.
If you do not have an immersion blender, you can blend soup in a regular blender. Just let it cool somewhat before you ladle it into the blender—blending very hot liquid can be dangerous!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 646mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g