Fall + Soup = Happy Me! There’s so many reasons to love soup! It’s warming and delicious, it’s healthful, it’s practical, it’s inexpensive, and it’s simple to make. And once the soup is together, all you need is a salad or some bread and you’ve got a perfect meal! The possibilities for different soups are limited only by your imagination…and thankfully I’ve got a very active one!
The recipe for Dairy Free Potato Leek Soup I’m sharing today is a true family favorite. This exact version, however, is an adaptation of the potato soup I used to make. My old recipe contained milk, cream, butter, and usually ham. It was pretty darn good, but it sure wasn’t something that fit into my CEBH Lifestyle! However, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that since we love the flavor of this soup so much, I had to find a way to make it healthier so we could still enjoy it. The biggest hurdle was achieving the creaminess I wanted without actually using ANY dairy! So once again, I turned to cashew cream, which combined with almond milk, became an even creamier and more delicious soup base than my original recipe!
Every time I make potato soup I can’t help but think of a time when my in-laws were celebrating an anniversary and my husband, his 3 brothers, and all the spouses and grandchildren were at their house. His mom had made big pots of chili and potato soup, and I chose the potato. Now his mom has a real thing about tiny cookies (seriously her cookies are exactly 1.5 bites each), tiny pieces of pie (who cuts a pie into 10 pieces?), and apparently cutting potatoes into teensy tiny itsy bitty pieces. Seriously – she cut them so tiny that by the time she served the soup, the potatoes were completely disintegrated! When those of us who ate the potato soup compared notes later that day we were cracking up because NONE of us got even a single bite of potato!!! All we had was potato flavored milk with a few miniscule onion pieces!
See all those beautiful big pieces of potatoes? You’ll never be left wondering where the potatoes are in my soup! 😉
Anyway – I’m the polar opposite. I like big chunky potatoes in my soup so you know exactly what you’re getting! And, as the recipe name implies I include leeks for their mild oniony flavor (if leeks are unavailable I substitute a sweet onion), celery for its earthy taste and texture, and finally carrots for sweetness and beautiful color. As for seasonings – I prefer to keep it really simple in order to avoid overpowering the potatoes. I use a little fresh garlic, a little more salt than I would typically use in a soup, and ground black pepper. A LOT of ground black pepper! Then I topped it off with some fresh chopped red bell pepper.
The prep for this recipe is simple, but like with many of our recipes I recommend making the cashew cream earlier in the day, or if you’re like me, just always have some prepared and ready to go in the fridge. I use baby potatoes so all I have to do is clean them up and cut them in half. Then peel the carrots and slice them, slice the celery, chop the garlic, and slice the leeks~white and light green parts~into 3/4″ to 1″ pieces.
Tip: To wash the leeks, slice them, then separate the rings of the sliced leeks and submerge them in cool clean water. I put them in a colander, then place it in the sink. Let the leeks soak a few minutes, swishing them a few times with your hand to loosen any sand and dirt caught in the layers. After a few minutes the dirt will settle to the bottom of the sink, and you can lift the washed leeks right out of the water to drain before cooking.
In a large stockpot, sauté the leeks and celery in a drizzle of olive oil. Once they are softened add the minced garlic and cook another minute or two.
Next add the carrots and potatoes. Pour in the almond milk, season with half the salt and black pepper, and bring it all to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer about 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Once the potatoes are cooked, stir in the cashew cream, heat through, and check for seasoning. My personal preference is to go heavy on the pepper in this dish, but I’ll leave it up to you to determine what you like best! I also find that I use more salt in this soup than I do in any other recipe I make…all those potatoes need a lot of salt!
The cashew cream lends a velvety smoothness to this soup that I was never able to achieve with any other ingredients!
Doesn’t it look fantastic? Don’t you just want to dig right in??? Serve it with some crusty bread like this jalapeño cheddar and enjoy the perfect fall meal!
- 3 lbs. potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 leeks, sliced and rinsed
- 4 large carrots, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 64 ounce carton plain unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups cashew cream~link to recipe in post
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp salt - or to taste
- 3 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red pepper, diced, optional
- Drizzle oil in large stock pot.
- Sauté leeks and celery until softened, then add garlic and sauté another few minutes.
- Add potatoes, carrots, almond milk, 1 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are fork tender - about 40 minutes.
- Stir in cashew cream, heat through, and check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
- Ladle into bowls and top with diced red peppers if desired.