Sunday, January 31, 2010

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

The words creamy and soup usually elicit thoughts of a rich pureed vegetable base with heavy cream stirred in. This simple soup gets its creaminess by pureeing part of the soup after it has cooked. I grew up eating my mom's creamy (and dairy-free) potato soup which very much resembles this recipe. She used the simple combination of potatoes, celery, onions, salt, and pepper. I've added a few more ingredients, such as leeks, carrots, and dill, to make it more exciting.

This soup is a great way to test for a nightshade sensitivity in Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet. I've added a little salmon as a topping to make the soup more nutritious. If you are vegan or don't eat fish you could try stirring in a bit of cooked mung beans. I pressure cooked a large pot of those tender little beans the other day which I've been incorporating into main dish meals, such as casseroles and stews.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

I like to use creamy Yukon gold potatoes in this recipe though any variety will do. If you use Russets you may want to peel them. For all other varieties it is fine to leave the peel on. Use this recipe to test for a nightshade sensitivity in Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet. Serve this delicious dairy-free soup with Whole Grain Flatbread and a green salad with our Everyday Salad Dressing or Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing.

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced into rounds
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds potatoes, chopped (about 4 medium)
6 cups water

cooked or smoked salmon
chopped fresh parsley

Heat a 6 to 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil then the leeks. Sauté leeks for about 4 to 5 minutes to soften (being careful not to brown). Add celery, carrots, salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes more to soften the vegetables and deepen the flavors.

Add potatoes and water, cover pot, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree part of the soup in the pot or remove half of the soup and puree in a blender. Return pureed soup to pot and stir together. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Garnish each bowl with cooked salmon and chopped parsley. Source:

I just love the mild onion flavor of leeks. I usually stick to using them in Potato Soup or a Layered Potato Casserole. Do you have any other ideas for using leeks?

More "Creamy" Soup Recipes:

Halibut and Potato Chowder
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Spiced Pumpkin Soup

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Perfect timing to find your recipe! Leeks and potatoes on hand and leek and potato soup on the brain. Looks like a wonderful recipe, gonna go try it right now :)


  2. Nightshades tomorrow! This'll be on the list.

    Mind if I re-ask an elimination diet question? What should we do when we find a sensitivity? Profound ones obviously need to be paid attention to. But what if the reaction is either minor or at least liveable? Is there a reason to totally eliminate that food forever, or could it be enjoyed now and then with the idea that there will be consequences--but minor ones.


  3. Oops! Forgot: Leave the root on the leeks, then split them in half lengthwise. Salt the cut side lightly, brush with olive oil and place lovingly on the barbie. Grilled slowly.....yum!

  4. Ann - sounds like good timing indeed! :)

    Barb - I actually just finished answering your question in the comments sections from my last Collard Wrap post. Been really busy this week. Thanks for the grilling tip, sounds fantastic! :)

  5. I've been waiting for this recipe since you mentioned it some time ago on my baked potato soup post I believe. I like that it's dairy free and love the salmon addition on top--too yummy! I love Yukon gold potatoes in soup. They just add a wonderfully rich flavor. I actually use Russet potatoes in my soup with the skins. At first people think they look weird if they see them, but once they taste the soup they forget about them. So much more nutrition there, but I agree, it's a personal preference. Thanks for this recipe, Ali!


  6. Looks delicious! I'm still in phase 2 (trying to figure out if I'm sensitive to lemons or cinnamon...) but would love to make this once I get to phase 3. By the way, I've been trying to figure out why tamari is added in so much earlier than soy?

  7. I love potato-leek soup and have a recipe that I make often similar to this one. But I've never thought of adding salmon on top...what a great idea!

  8. Thanks, Ali! You rock.

    I second the tamari question, and wonder if Bragg's is OK instead. The only wheat free tamari I can find-San J-has alcohol in it. (What's up with that?) :-)


  9. I toss leeks, parsnips & onions in the pot when I stew a chicken. Makes a yummy broth!

  10. This was so delicious! Instead of smoked salmon, I did smoked trout and used cilantro instead of parsley. With a dash of smoked paprika, this was a very satisfying meal. Thank you Ali for the inspiration.

  11. Thanks for sharing this soup recipe Ali. I turned out really yummy. I was out of carrots :( and ended up pureeing the whole batch until it was ultra creamy. My kids loved it. thanks again!

  12. Ali,

    So yummy and no reaction! Thanks for the great recipe. :)


  13. Shirley - thanks for sharing that great piece of Russet info! :)

    Iris - Some people react to soy but not to tamari, though if you are suspect, keep it out until the challenge phase. Soy can be an issue for many people and longer you wait to introduce it the better the chance you will have at accurately identifying it as a problem. ;)

    Hallie - Thanks! :)

    Barb - Yes, Braggs can be used, I'll ask Tom about the alcohol question. :)

    Thanks everyone for your wonderful feedback and ideas for using leeks! -Ali :)

  14. I made this soup last night - and oh, what yummy smells it made. BUT it was REALLY spicy. I think I messed up and used the wrong spoon for the black pepper! Good thing I like spicy food. ;) The salmon was the absolute perfect touch. Thank you so much for this recipe, and for your cookbook. I've been living out of it for a month, and I've also been migraine-free for a month. Coincidence? I don't think so.

  15. OMG. I didnt realize how much I missed potatos. I may eat the whole pot today it is so good.

  16. I have made this soup 10 times since I found it and you don't even need the salmon although it would be great! I love this recipe I can't mess it up.

  17. Hi Ali,
    I am on day 16 of the Elimination Diet and so far everything went well. Today I made the potato leek soup and in 20 minutes after eating I had a huge reaction: back pain, stomach pain, bloating, gas, my limbs are burning and I have a terrible headache. Clearly I react to potato. What do you recommend now. Should I try tomato tomorrow or just wait till all reactions are gone.
    I have celiac disease and my reason to start the diet was my chronic joint and muscle pains.

    I want to thank you for your great work, I enjoy your recipes and thoughts, they inspire me!


  18. Wow! Made this tonite for the first time. It's so flavorful! Hearty and delicious, and I love that it's vegan. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! :-)

  19. Have you tried this in a crock pot? If so, what heat level and duration? I have all these potatoes and leeks to use but no time to tend to the stove!


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