Monday, November 7, 2011

Healthy Potato Leek Soup

Howdy, all!  Long time no see, eh?  Actually, it's only been a week, but it feels much longer, especially since I've been super excited to share a rich and comforting soup I made over the weekend.


As the amount of daylight dwindles and farmers' markets close for the winter months, I turn to uncomplicated soups and stews made with cold-season produce like potatoes and leeks.  A good ol' hot pot of something hearty and fragrant is what keeps me from hibernating until it's no longer necessary to bundle up in a thick jacket, toque, scarf and mittens just to go start your car.

Today I'm going to share a recipe for a healthy potato leek soup, labeled "healthy" because a lot of creamy soups out there call for oodles of butter, cream and/or milk, none of which I use here.  Instead, I saute the leeks in a little olive oil, and blend half of the cooked soup while leaving the remainder chunky, kind of like a chowder.

What really gives this soup a rich and creamy texture, though, is the addition of cashews blended with water.  The nutty taste goes completely undetected and adds body and depth without being unhealthful.  I assure you, though, this velvety winter soup tastes more like an indulgence instead of "health food".

You may be wondering why I keep referring to winter, even though its official start date is more than a month away.  Here in Saskatchewan, we like to get a head start on it, as demonstrated by this photo I took on Sunday:


If there exists a better reason to make a warm bowl of soup, I'm completely unaware of what it may be.

Healthy Potato Leek Soup
Makes 4 large servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, sliced, white and light green parts only (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 large white potatoes, chopped (about 2 pounds)
5 cups vegetable broth (I used 2 bouillon cubes)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup water
Salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
Chopped vegan bacon, for serving (optional)


Directions:

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.  Cook the leeks in the oil until they've softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes depending on the size of the potato pieces.  Remove from the heat.

2.  Transfer half of the cooked soup to a blender and blend until smooth.  Make sure to leave the lid slightly ajar so that steam can escape and hot liquid doesn't explode everywhere.  Transfer the blended mixture back to the soup pot and stir to combine.

3.  Now blend the cashews with the 2/3 cup water - this works best in a small blender like the Magic Bullet, but you can just as easily use the same blender you blended the soup in.  Blend until smooth, and add the cashew mixture to the soup and stir to combine.  Generously sprinkle with fresh pepper, and a little bit of salt if necessary.  Serve in a soup bowl with a sprinkle of vegan bacon if you'd like.  Enjoy!


This potato leek soup pairs great with some toasted bread, or even a sandwich if you have a big appetite.  Each serving of soup falls just shy of 300 calories, so it would be wise to pair it with another food to make it meal-sized.

With satisfying soups like this in my repertoire, I might not even complain about the bitter cold or endless drifts of snow sceduled for the next five months.  There's something just so darn heartwarming about sipping some soup, cozy in a sweater, and gazing out at the frozen world outside.

Whether or not I'll have the same sentiments at the end of March is a different story. :)


...Logan concurs.  Except for maybe the whole heartwarming part.

11 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of creamy soups, this is going into my favorites! I really like the idea of blending half of it and incorporating a cashew cream. Can't wait to try this one!

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  2. Yay, glad to hear it! I really prefer the cashew cream to adding (non-dairy) milk to cream soups - the taste is so much more luxurious and it doesn't impart a "flavor". Hope you love it as much as we do! :)

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  3. I like creamy soups, so this on my eat list for the next two weeks. I love the pictures of the snow, I used to live in a snowy area myself. That picture makes me missing the snow and cold winter.

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  4. I think if I moved somewhere warm I'd probably get all nostalgic for snow, too. Though not having to spend half the year driving on icy roads would be a perk. :)

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  5. Sounds absolutely delicious! Leeks are the best.

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  6. Are you kidding me about that snow? Wow, Saskatchewan is wild! I love potato+leek soup but I've never thought to put cashews in there. Yum. Bookmarked!

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  7. Aren't you from Ontario, Vegangela? But I do believe Ontario has a much shorter and milder winter than us. Yeah, we're hardcore out here. :)

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  8. ALL OVER creamy vegan soups. And damn that's a lot of snow already.

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  9. I'm a huge fan of potato leek soup but not a fan of snow at all! I'll take your recipe but you can keep your snow :) ...even though it will be probably snowing soon here in New-Brunswick!

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  10. LOL! Don't you Easterners get ridiculous amounts of snow in the winter too?

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  11. My wife and I love creamy soups, and are sure to try this one out soon. Is that actually a picture from this year? That much snow already? Thanks for the great recipe.
    If anyone's ever in Calgary, we have a booth in the Calgary Farmers Market called Hearts Choices (open all year) and we have awesome Vegan and Veggie proteins like "Vegan Black Pepper Veggie Steak."
    http://www.heartschoicewellness.com

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