Healthy Potato Leek Soup
A “healthy” potato leek soup might seem like an oxymoron, but we’ve managed to tweak a few key ingredients in this classic comfort food to create a healthier option. Our version remains a satisfying and delicious recipe while hiding healthier ingredients in the soup pot. Traditional potato leek soup typically includes russet or Yukon potatoes, heavy cream, and butter. It’s also typical in most recipes that the green part of the leek (the part where most of the vitamins and nutrients reside) is tossed in the compost—not so in our version.
We’ve chosen not only to use a lower-starch potato variety (the fingerling potato) but also to add a couple of secret nutrient-dense potato-replacement ingredients to reduce the overall glycemic load of this meal. If you follow our instructions, your guests (and even your kids!) will be none the wiser that they’re eating a healthier version of this rich, creamy delight.
Secret Ingredient #1: Celery Root
Celery root, also known as celeriac, is actually a cousin of the green celery stalks you’re used to seeing in the produce aisle. It’s a bulbous, gnarly (sometimes hairy) root that needs to be peeled before consuming. Celeriac also has a low glycemic load of three compared with russet potatoes, which rank at a whopping load of 29. Making this swap will do wonders for the glycemic load of the whole meal (and likely help your waistline in the process). This funky root veggie boasts high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (even without the skin), giving this soup recipe a big nutritional boost.
Secret Ingredient #2: Cauliflower
You’ve likely heard by now that cauliflower serves as a pretty decent stand-in for starches like potatoes and rice. (Grocers like Trader Joe’s even sell it already “riced” for you in the freezer section these days.) And remember white veggies are still full of nutrients especially cancer-fighting antioxidants! Cauliflower also blends into a rich, creamy soup base as smooth as silk, which means we don’t need a ton of heavy cream to add depth to our potato soup.
Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is in the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale (just to name a few), and it shares a lot of the same nutritional profile, including a somewhat impressive amount of protein, potassium, and vitamin C. If you take care to scoop out all of the cauliflower florets when you blend up half of your ingredients, no one will ever know that this secret ingredient made it into your soup pot and transformed your comfort food into a healthy recipe.
Be sure to thoroughly wash the roots and leeks to remove all residual dirt. Leeks tend to collect dirt at the point where they turn from white to green, so you might want to rinse again once you separate the white from the green. Keep the light green parts with the dark for roasting at the end.
Be sure to remove any brown, hairy notches from the celery root that remain after peeling. You can easily dig them out with a knife. Doing this ensures that there are no stringy surprises in your final bowl of soup, and that a chunk of celeriac is similar in size to a chunk of potato.
Leave the skin on your fingerling potatoes. These potatoes are small enough that it would be a bit of a hassle—and a possible finger hazard— to attempt to peel them. But in addition to being a time saver, leaving the skin on also adds more nutritional value to the final dish.
Healthy Potato Leek Soup
A healthy potato leek soup might seem like an oxymoron, but we’ve managed to tweak a few key ingredients in this classic comfort food to create a healthier option. Our version remains a satisfying and delicious recipe while hiding healthier ingredients in the soup pot.
- 2 large leeks white and green parts separated and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (divided) or olive oil, plus more for green leek topper
- 4 medium celery roots or 2 large ones, peeled and cubed
- 10 fingerling potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ large cauliflower or 1 small one, large cored and chunked into 2-inch pieces
- 6 cups Kettle & Fire Beef Bone Broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- OPTIONAL: 6 strips of uncured bacon broiled and crumbled
- OPTIONAL: freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Add white part of leeks and cook until they become translucent. Add celery root, potatoes, cauliflower, broth, water, and bay leaves to the pot. Cover, increase to high heat and bring to a boil. Then lower to medium heat. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, heat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the green part of the leeks, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Lay out flat on a large sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes, or until just browned. Set aside.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup and discard.
Turn heat to low and transfer all of the cauliflower and half of the other ingredients into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Then stir blended contents into the rest of the ingredients. Stir in apple cider vinegar.
Ladle into bowls and top with green leek tops, crumbled bacon and black pepper (if using). Serve piping hot.