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This Rustic Potato Leek Soup recipe is left nice and chunky (not puréed), it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan (no cream), and made with a simple, light, garlic-herb broth. So cozy and delicious!
Meet my favorite kind of leek and potato soup. ♡
By contrast to traditional potato leek soup recipes — which are usually puréed and loaded up with tons of heavy cream — this more “rustic” version is left deliciously nice and chunky, which I love. It’s also made with a light, herby, garlicky broth that tastes wonderfully flavorful on its own, without any need for cream. And when served with zesty homemade croutons or a good loaf of crusty bread, I’m telling you, this soup is the most wonderful wintertime comfort food.
I’ve been making various versions of this soup ever since we moved to Europe, since leeks absolutely abound here. (Truly, they’re so popular that even the tiniest little convenience stores always carry them!) But it always seemed like such a basic simple recipe that I never really considered posting it here until my husband insisted this winter that our friends and family back home would love it just as much as we do.
As you’ll see, the ingredient list is short and simple and can be customized with whatever fresh or dried herbs you happen to have on hand. It’s also naturally gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. (Although if you happen to eat dairy, we always love topping our bowls with some coarsely-grated Parmesan cheese.) And best of all, it can be ready to go in just a half hour or so, making it a great recipe for busy weeknights. We usually serve ours with a simple side salad and some crusty bread (or croutons) and the combo always feels perfectly light and cozy.
So if you’d like to join our little family in our simple soup tradition, pick up some leeks and potatoes the next time you’re at the market and let’s make some rustic potato leek soup together!
Rustic Potato Leek Soup Ingredients:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this rustic potato leek soup recipe:
- Leeks: If you are new to working with leeks, check out my short guide (including a video tutorial) for how to select, clean and cut leeks. We will only use the white and light green parts in this soup, so be sure to discard the dark green parts. And as always, don’t forget to clean your leeks since dirt often gets trapped between those layers.
- Potatoes: I prefer to use unpeeled buttery Yukon Gold potatoes for this soup, but feel free to use any type of potato that you prefer.
- Onions, celery and garlic: These will serve as the other base veggies for our soup, sautéed in olive oil (or butter). I love adding in lots of garlic, but you can use less if you prefer.
- Dry white wine: To deglaze the pan and add some depth of flavor to the broth. (That said, if you prefer not to cook with alcohol, you can just add in a bit of extra veggie stock.)
- Vegetable stock: To serve as the base for our broth. (Or chicken stock would work too.)
- Fresh thyme: I recommend adding in lots of fresh thyme and/or any other fresh French-inspired herbs that you love (such as rosemary, sage, tarragon, oregano, etc). If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you could add in a teaspoon or two of dried thyme (add it slowly, to taste) or, even better, a few teaspoons of Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning.
- Bay leaves: I also recommend adding a few bay leaves to the broth.
- Cayenne, salt and black pepper: And as mentioned above, I really love adding some cayenne to the broth to give it a noticeable but subtle backing of heat. I usually add 1/4 teaspoon, which you can definitely notice. But if you’re wary of heat, I recommend starting with just a pinch and you can then add more if you’d like.
- Optional toppings: We love serving this soup with homemade croutons (we’re partial to sourdough croutons made with a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence) and a sprinkle of coarsely-grated Parmesan cheese. But feel free to also add some chopped fresh chives or other herbs on top if you’d like too.
How To Make Potato Leek Soup:
Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below. But here is a quick overview of how to make potato leek soup:
- Sauté the veggies. First, we’ll sauté the onion, leeks, celery and garlic in a large pot until softened, and then deglaze the pan with some dry white wine.
- Add the potatoes and broth. Next come the potatoes, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne.
- Simmer. Let the soup all simmer together until the potatoes have softened. (The amount of time will depend on how chunky your potatoes are).
- Season. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Give the soup a taste and season with however much salt and black pepper you think it needs. (This will also depend on how salty your veggie stock happens to be.)
- Serve. Serve warm, garnished with whatever toppings sound good, and enjoy!
Possible Recipe Variations:
As I mentioned above, this potato leek soup recipe is incredibly flexible. So please feel free to experiment and customize it however you’d like! For example, you could…
- Add extra veggies/greens: Feel free to also add in any other simple soup veggies or greens that you love, such as carrots, parsnips, spinach or kale.
- Add a protein: This soup would also be delicious with some ham, chicken, or sausage added in. Or of course, crispy bacon would also be delicious sprinkled on top.
- Add pepperoncini: We’ve also made this soup with sliced pepperoncini peppers in place of the cayenne and they add a delicious, briny hint of heat. Highly recommend.
- Add cream: If you would like a creamier soup, feel free to add in your desired amount of heavy cream.
- Purée the soup: If you prefer the texture of puréed potato leek soup, just use an immersion blender to purée the soup (once the potatoes are completely tender and you have discarded the bay leaves and thyme) until smooth. Or alternately, you could transfer it in batches to a traditional blender and pulse until smooth. (Just use caution, as always, when puréeing hot liquids. I recommend only filling the blender halfway, and always tenting open the cap on the blender lid so that hot air can escape.)
More Favorite Potato Soup Recipes:
Looking for more cozy potato soup recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves!
This Rustic Potato Leek Soup recipe is kept nice and chunky, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan (no cream), and it’s full of the coziest, comforting, simple flavors.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
- 3 leeks, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons (white and light green parts only)
- 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or less, if you prefer)
- fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- optional toppings: homemade croutons, grated Parmesan, chopped fresh chives
- Sauté the veggies. Heat olive oil (or butter) in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leeks, celery and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the potatoes and broth. Add the white wine and use a wooden spoon to lift off any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the stockpot. Add the potatoes, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne and stir to combine.
- Simmer. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Season. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Give the soup a taste and season with however much salt and black pepper you think it needs.
- Serve. Serve warm, garnished with whatever toppings sound good, and enjoy!