As the weather gets colder don't be sad... celebrate! It's soup season!
Soup is one of the easiest things to make vegan. You replace butter with olive oil, bacon fat with olive oil, chicken stock with vegetable stock, and milk with cashew cream. And even if you don't have the foresight to prepare cashew cream, or are allergic to nuts - you can blend in potatoes for a thick "creaminess". Soup is so easy to make, and so hard to fail at, that any number of substitutions and alterations will rarely produce bad results.
My main advice is keep it simple. I generally follow this formula for soup:
1. Star ingredient
2. 1-2 complementary ingredients
3. Oil, onion, water or stock, and possibly garlic.
4. Optional cashew cream or potatoes for creaminess.
5. 1 fresh herb to finish
6. Crunchy element - nuts, croutons or toast for dipping
This week I felt a yearning for the leeks from springtime, but also a desire for something hearty and warm. Time for potato-leek soup.
Being that it's Vegan Mofo, I am mindful not to throw cream in where it's not needed. You don't need dairy to make this soup tasty - it's full of potatoes, which when blended create a starchy cream-like consistency in any soup. The leeks give a very mild onion flavor, and the spicy croutons have a zippy crunch to balance out the smooth soup. Adding a bit of dill gives it a little pop of fresh flavor, a flashback to summer.
Easy Vegan Red Potato Leek Soup
6-8 servings, 30 minutes
3-4 C leeks (about 2 extra large or 4 large) cleaned and white parts chopped into 1/8” half-moons
2 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 T)
6 C good quality organic vegetable stock
4-5 C red potatoes, unpeeled (about 5 large), diced into ½” pieces
1 T lemon juice
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
Dill Croutons (recipe below)
1. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook about 10 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
2. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer 15 minutes until tender.
3. Using an immersion blender, roughly puree the soup half-way. Or, transfer about half the soup to a blender to puree, and add back to the pot.
4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice.
5. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh dill and croutons.
These make a great garnish for soup or salad, as well as a crunchy bar snack.
Baguette or day-old bread, cut into ½” cubes
Heat oven to 350F. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with spices. Sprinkle a pinch of dill on top. Bake until golden and crispy, 10-15 minutes.