The bright color and peppery flavor of watercress adds a touch of green goodness to a classic soup. Usually a dairy-based soup, it’s easy to make vegan leek and potato soup by simply swapping in plant-based milk.
Oat milk or cashew milk are my favorites for this soup because of their creaminess. If you can make this soup the a couple of hours before, or the night before it’s needed, so much the better — the flavors improve from standing overnight. But if you need to serve it just after it’s made, that’s more than fine.
Tips for prepping leeks
Leeks are related to both garlic and onions, and have a sweeter, subtler flavor than their lily-family cousins. Leeks often have sandy soil lodged between rings, so washing well is very important. Trim off the brush-like root end and dark green stalks (stalks can be used in stock preparation, but are otherwise not palatable).
Cut the remaining white and light-green portion of each leek in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a colander and run water over them, separating them as you do, until completely clean.
If the leeks are very sandy, first put the slices into a bowl of water and swish around to loosen before transferring to a colander to complete the rinsing. See lots more in this site’s Guide to Leeks.
A word about watercress: A member of the mustard family, the peppery heat of this tiny green comes from the mustard oils that are released when chewing the leaves. It’s a mild and pleasant bite, and this tender, vitamin-C rich green is easy to love.
Recipe adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium or 3 large leeks, white and palest green parts only, chopped and very well rinsed (see prep tips above recipe box)
- 4 large potatoes, any variety, peeled and diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1 bunch watercress leaves, roughly chopped (some stem is fine)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups plain plant-based milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, more or less to taste
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and sauté over medium heat, covered, until they begin to turn golden. Stir occasionally.
- Add the potatoes, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, and just enough water to cover. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with the side of a spoon. Add the plant-based milk and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes longer.
- Stir in the watercress and parsley; season with salt and pepper.
- If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two before serving, or let cool and refrigerate overnight. Heat through before serving. If need be, adjust the consistency with more plant-based milk, then adjust the seasonings.
If you like this potato and greens-based soup, you may also enjoy …
Here are more heartwarming vegan soups & stews.