Teaching last semester was so hectic that I really took my mid-semester break to relax. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up some delicious, real food meals. One of my favorite soups to make in the winter is potato leek and adding kale is not only great for its nutrition profile of but also for color and taste! Potatoes tend to get bashed in the “diet” world but they are actually a very nutritious staple carbohydrate to consume. They have twice the potassium of a banana, plus vitamin C, selenium and B vitamins and more! It’s the deep frying or the addition of bacon, cheese, sour cream and butter that you don’t want to do to these nutritious potatoes too often.
The first time potato leek soup even entered my brain space was in grad school when my roommate made it. She liked to use butter, cream and bacon though so, with a plant-based diet, I had to make my own delicious version!
I fancy-fied this vegan version with some rosemary and kale. You can even add more creaminess and protein if you’d like by adding some white beans and blending in.
Sometimes I love chunky textured soups and others I want creamy! If you prefer a creamy textured soup but want to add kale, use the immersion blender before adding the green super-food.
While this soup can be served cold, it can really warm you up on a cold winter day and I prefer it hot! I love adding some nutritional yeast for an added boost of flavor, B vitamins and protein. If cheese is part of your diet, you can add some grass fed cheddar too. The photo below is from a batch I made that incorporated white beans and used the immersion blender.
Before you grab the recipe, I have some purchasing tips:
Since it is no longer farmers market season, I was happy to see BJ’s wholesale club began selling organic bagged potatoes and onions. In addition, organic kale was on sale at Whole Foods which helped the cost of the recipe last time I prepared it too. Using frozen bagged kale may be more cost effective; if you do this only add 1.5-2 cups.
Potato, Leek and Kale Soup (GF, V, DF)
Ingredients (see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil (olive works too)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large leeks, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch slices (white & light green portion)
- 2 C chopped white onion (about 1 large or 2 small onions)
- 3 med-large gold (preferred) or russet potatoes with skin (about 1.5-2 lbs), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4 Cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- 3-4 Cups chopped kale or 1-2 Cups frozen kale
- Dried rosemary, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
- Chop garlic and vegetables as indicated with the ingredients list.
- Heat oil in stockpot over low-medium.
- Add chopped garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
- Before the garlic turns brown add the chopped leeks and onions.
- Stirring occasionally, cover for 5-10 minutes, or until the onions & leeks take on a slightly translucent color.
- Add your chopped potatoes and vegetable broth and cover.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for a total cooking time of 20-25 minutes.
- Add dried rosemary and black & crushed red pepper to taste.
- Using a potato masher, carefully mash the contents to mix up the ingredients. You can do this to whatever consistency you prefer or even use an immersion blender to make it creamy.
- Stir in the kale and turn of the heat.
Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:
Garlic, Onions & Leeks are all part of the same family, providing the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health. Both onions & leeks provide Vitamin C. Onions are also a great source of vitamins B6 and folate while leeks contribute vitamins A & K in great amounts as well as the mineral manganese.
Potatoes are packed with potassium which is very important for fluid balance in the body. Fluid balance is essential for all of your body’s functions and how energized you feel. And guess what? You would have to eat 9 bananas to get enough potassium in one day, so start looking to more fruits & veggies for this nutrient. Potatoes also provide you with iron and magnesium among other minerals and are a good source of Vitamin C and B vitamins, especially B6. Over 60 phytochemicals have been found in potato flesh & skin including phenolics, flavonoids, polyamines, and carotenoids, which provide antioxidant and cardiovascular enhancing properties (1).
While there is actually no definition for “superfood” I still like to consider kale as one. One serving gives you more than your daily need of Vitamins A, C and K. It is also a known vegetarian source of calcium and iron as well as magnesium and copper. In terms of phytochemicals, kale provides about 40 flavonoids which are great antioxidants.
1. Food Research International 2011, April. Beneficial phytochemicals in potato – a review. Ezekiel Rakarathnam, Singh Narpinder, Sharme Shagun, Kaur Amritpal.