This kind of soup is usually made with heavy cream and then pureed to make a very lush, smooth soup – much like this potato cauliflower soup. I like it a little chunkier, so this is my cream free, vegan potato leek soup! I’ve lightened things up with some lemon but it’s still a potato soup, and definitely comfort food.
It’s ultra traditional all over Europe and the UK; the first time I made potato leek soup I was about eight years old and had seen it in one of my mom’s cookbooks. I wasn’t really clear on what leeks were (I don’t think they were so commonly found in that region at the time) and my aunt recommended onions instead. This is before you could just instantly search everything online, of course. Not my best soup!
I go semi-blended, with just enough to make a slightly richer, thicker broth that still has pieces of potato and leek throughout. You can choose not to blend at all or go for a fully pureed soup – it’s up to you.
Scroll to the bottom of the post or click “skip to recipe” above to see the recipe card with full ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Olive oil
- A small onion
- Potatoes (see tips)
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Vegetable broth (or water, see tips)
- Cooked white beans
- Greens (optional)
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes, leeks, and garlic. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, and vegetable broth.
Bring the soup to a low boil (covered) then add the beans. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork soft.
Remove the soup from the heat and add the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed (before pureeing!). Blend the soup with an immersion blender to the degree that you’d like. Serve immediately.
This soup freezes very well – since we’re only two people, I usually freeze half in jars for later. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then reheat in a pot.
Tips and Notes
The type of potato you use will have some impact on the texture of the soup, but it isn’t hugely important. If where you’re getting them from notes if they’re floury or waxy, go for the floury potatoes. You want them to fall apart a bit when cooking.
I get loads of messages every time I share a soup recipe and say it can be made with water. As long as you season correctly (just add enough salt) you certainly can make just about any soup with regular tap water. Of course a good vegetable broth makes it a bit easier, but just season your food and you’ll be fine.
It’s particularly important to season this soup well – and any vegan potato soup. Potatoes absorb loads of salt and you’ll likely need a slightly heavier hand than usual to make up for it. Note that I always write less salt in the ingredients list than I end up using, as it should be to your personal taste.
If you don’t have white beans on hand (either cooked or canned) you can sub chickpeas or leave them out altogether. They add some extra protein and make the soup more filling – and they’re almost invisible in the finished dish, if you have picky eaters – but aren’t a mandatory element.
Here are some substitutes for thyme if you’re not a fan or don’t have it. I don’t recommend leaving it out altogether with no replacement.
This is a really simple, minimal soup, and there aren’t very many substitutions I can offer. You might notice that chard is pictured in the ingredient image, but not in the final soup. It’s optional and I decided against including it this time. You can use spinach, chard, kale, whatever you have on hand, if you decide to include greens.
More Cozy Soups
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Potato Leek Soup with Lemon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 400 grams about 4 medium potatoes, cut into 2cm (1 in.) pieces
- 2 medium leeks white only, cut into 1cm (1/2 in.) slices
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 litre 4 cups water
- 250 grams cooked or canned white beans, drained and rinsed
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions for about two minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.
- Add the potatoes, leeks, and garlic, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking*. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper, followed by the vegetable broth.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a rolling boil, covered. Add the beans.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. Taste and season as needed, then puree with an immersion blender to the degree you’d like (or don’t blend at all).
- Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days and can be frozen.