Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

photo 1It has officially gotten cold in Seattle. Not “girl” cold where it’s 50 degrees and my tosies get a little chilly. I’m talking Midwest, you can see your breath, chill hits to your bones cold. We’ve had low 30’s for about a week now and even my poor parsley I forgot on the patio was frozen to the bone! With cold like this, a big bowl of warm homemade soup is just the ticket to help you thaw out! After being used to cooking an ENTIRE Thanksgiving feast, four pies seemed like a walk in the park! I opted for the my go-to holiday hits and baked four fresh crusts from scratch  for pumpkin pies and two pecan pies. Of course, I home-roasted the pumpkins using my recipe HERE.
we would up with all of the veggies that I had drug up my parents house with the best intentions of cooking up for my family. What do you do with bunches of leeks and a massive yellow onion?

Well, you buy potatoes and carrots and make soup of course! I wrote this recipe from looking at a few different ones, and deciding that I didn’t want dairy OR soy in my soup…and using this a little as a kitchen soup recipe to clean out the fridge. The recipe  is sweet because it’s relatively low maintenance and you can make it in your VitaMix or if you have a food processor. Super simple, SUPER delicious, and super healthy! No diary, no soy, gluten-free, and  can be made vegan if you substitute out the chicken bullion.

photo 3Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)
prep time: 10 min | cook time: 1 hr
5 leeks
2 ½ tsp minced garlic (or 5 fresh cloves)
5 stalks celery + the center lighter part with the leaves
dried Parsley (or fresh!)
5  medium russet potatoes
2-3 large carrots
½ large yellow onion
2 tbsp chicken bullion ( I swear by Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, Reduced Sodium)
8 cups water
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
fresh sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400.

photo 2photo 1 copyWash, peel and chop all vegetables. To clean the leeks, cut just above the roots and just below where the dark green leaves start to branch off. Wash the body of the leek and peel the outside layer off. Cut into disks. For the dark leaves, cut the tips off and be sure you have washed them well. Then slice and set aside. For the potatoes, I usually cut the potato in half, then half again and cut into chunks.

Misto spray a cookie sheet then place carrots, potatoes and onion on cookie sheet. Dust with fresh cracked pepper and dried parsley (unless you have the fresh stuff- in that case add when you puree the soup).  Cook 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft in the center. Turn veggies once or twice so that all surfaces get browned.

While those veggies are in the oven, get out a large pan and sauté the garlic. Add the leeks, separating the layers of the disks, and the celery. Then add a little fresh cracked pepper and some salt. Sauté until all the veggies are cooked. As I turn the leeks and celery in the pan, I’ll do a light olive oil Misto spray just so everything gets a little charred in the pan and I’ll also coat with pepper. Also, any of the leek that is still held together in the little disk, separate the different layers as you cook.  I never measure pepper and I like the flavor so I usually just cook by sight and will add until I feel like it’s seasoned.

To make the broth, bring the water in a 10-cup stockpot then stir in the chicken bullion. Add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Once all veggies are cooked and the broth has simmered, remove the bay leaf and get your vita mix ready. Place 1/3 of each of the ingredients in the blender and blend on medium until thoroughly puréed.  Once puréed, place back in the stockpot and repeat until all of the ingredients are puréed. Simmer soup for 10-15 minutes and serve.

Can be frozen up to 4 months in a freezer Ziplocs bag or Tupperware. .

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

photo 2When the weather turns soggy, I start to practice my winter sport of “being in the kitchen”. From caramelizing and chopping to baking to broiling, when the weather turns to mush I turn to the kitchen. …and a glass of wine, but that’s a year round sport!

This year I’ve really tried to focus on cooking “in season” and challenging myself to prepare my “typical” foods in a different way. While leek’s are not something that we traditionally have on hand in our house, they made the headliner in today recipes. To be honest, the lack of consistent main stage placement in our cabinet is purely due to the fact that I only know two ways to cook them; sautéed or made into leek soup. While they are can be found year round, they are in season November to February and are more readily available.

The more I looked into the nutrition characteristics of leeks, the more I realized that I wasn’t the only one who usually passed up these shallot and garlic relatives in the grocery aisles; many people shy away from these cardio enriching veggies because they don’t know how to cook or prepare them. Leeks are high in folate, which is a key B complex vitamin for supporting and balancing our cardiovascular system (source) as well as being very high in potassium and very low in sodium, giving it naturally diuretic properties (source). Sharing the same family as garlic and onions, they boast immune, antioxidant, and heart-healthy benefits. 

Enjoyed in in salads with vinaigrette, in soups, sautés, risottos, sauces, pastas, frittatas, creamed, carmelized, Bruschettaed… there are SO many ways to prepare leeks it will blow your mind! Check out this Leek Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

When shopping for leeks, look for ones that are  firm and straight, with dark leaves and white bodies. Quality leeks should not be yellowing, wilting or cracking. To store, keep them unwashed and untrimmed,wrapped in a paper towel inside a plastic bag in the fridge up to a week. Cooked leaks should be kept for no more than two days, but you can freeze them up to three months once they’re blanched for three minutes and stored in an airtight bag.

I have to warn you, you’ll need a spoon readily accessible once this soup is cooked, is so good you’ll be eating it out of the pot!

photo 1Vegan Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from recipe posted on Care2.com Serves 4 – 6

1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 large leeks, whites and greens, washed and sliced
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
½ tsp fresh cracked sea salt
3 cloves garlic, or 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 large white potatoes, washed and cubed
5 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you’re making entirely vegan)
½ tsp crushed rosemary

  1. Wash all veggies
  2. Heat EVOO in stock pan with the chopped leeks, onion, garlic and sea salt, sauté  stirring often until the onions begins to turn translucent
  3. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, get your blender out and prepared to blend up the soup
  5. Once cooked, remove the soup from the heat and ladle  into your blender, 1 cup at a time (if you have an immersion/stick blender you can blend the soup right in the pot)
  6. Blend the soup  until smooth and free of chunks
  7. Pour smooth soup into a heat-proof bowl and continue until all of the soup has been blended
  8. Transfer the blended soup back to the original soup pot and warm over low heat until heated through
  9. Serve hot