Soups are the ultimate comfort meal that can really warm you up during the colder seasons and I must say that this winter, I have been really into making different types of soups. There are endless vegetable combinations and so many spices and herbs to be added that it’s really to make a different tasting soup each week and not get tired of them.
Lately, my favorite soup has been this potato leek soup. It’s very creamy and full of delicious rich flavors. I know potatoes are often villainized in modern trendy diets but I want to challenge that misconception. They are a very good source of healthy carbohydrates that we all need for our bodies to function properly. As long as they aren’t being deep fried or covered with a ton of fat sour cream and butter, there is nothing to fear about eating potatoes.
To make this soup, I modified a recipe I found while browsing through care2.com. I chose to add kale to boost the nutritional value of the soup and make the green color a bit more intensive for a more interesting look. I also added some other seasonings and took out the salt because I feel the vegetable broth is already salty enough. I also didn’t blend this soup because I prefer to have more texture in my food but feel free to use an immersion blender to make it even more creamy if you want to.
Nutrients in this recipe
Potatoes consist mainly of carbohydrates but they are also a nice source of protein and fiber while containing almost no fat at all. They are also packed with plenty of potassium which is often overlooked. Potassium is mainly associated with bananas but to get all of the recommended potassium daily intake, you would need to eat nine bananas each day. It’s not really possible and not healthy at all so it’s important to look for potassium sources in other foods – like potatoes. They also contain a lot of vitamin C which is very important for our immune systems, especially during flu season. And lastly, potatoes have over sixty different types of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, phenolics, and flavonoids, which all have antioxidant properties*.
Kale is one of the healthiest greens, a true nutritional powerhouse. Just one serving of kale provides more than the necessary daily intake of vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a very good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper that is especially recommended to vegetarians who often have trouble supplying those minerals. Kale also contains plenty of flavonoids, phytochemicals with antioxidant properties.
Onions are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate. Both onions and garlic contain sulfides that have been linked to improved immune system response and respiratory health. They also have antibacterial properties.
Leeks have similar properties to onions and garlic since they all come from the same family. They have a lot of fiber, flavonoids, and contain about half of the recommended intake of vitamin K.
Canola oil is the oil I use most often when cooking due to its high omega 3 fatty acids content (higher than olive oil). I need to be careful about getting enough omega 3 in my diet because I rarely eat animal products and omega 3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish. Choose organic canola oil so that you can avoid any genetically modified ingredients.
*Food Research International 2011, April. Beneficial phytochemicals in potato – a review. Ezekiel Rakarathnam, Singh Narpinder, Sharme Shagun, Kaur Amritpal.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
- Servings: 10 (1.5 Cups each)
- Calories: 130
- Carbohydrate: 25 g
- Sugar: 3 g
- Total Fat: 2.5 g
- Saturated Fat: less than 0.5 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Fiber: 3.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 75 mg 5%
- Potassium: 550 mg 11 %
- Vitamin A: 26 % Thiamin: 9 % Riboflavin: 7 %
- Niacin: 8 % Pant Acid: 7 % Vitamin B6: 30 %
- Vitamin C: 50 % Vitamin E: 4%
- Calcium: 7 % Iron: 10 % Zinc: 5%
- Magnesium: 12 % Copper: 20 % Selenium: 2.5 %
- Manganese: 28 % Phosphorus: 11 % Omega 3: 5% (0.08 g)
The percentage sign refers to the daily recommended value. This value may be higher for you if you are an athlete or have a particular nutritional deficiency.
Creamy Potato Leek Soup
- a cutting board
- a sharp knife
- a stock pot
- a wooden spoon
- a potato masher OR an immersion blender
- 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 medium or 2 large potatoes (I recommend Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes)
- 2 large leeks
- 2 medium or 1 large white onion
- 3 to 4 cups of chopped kale
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 T. of canola oil
- dried rosemary
- black pepper
- red pepper
- Cut the potatoes into cubes of about 1/2 inch in length. Leave the skin since it contains the most nutrients (it’s safe to eat as long as you wash them thoroughly). Slice the leeks into 1/4 inch pieces. Chop the onion finely. Mince the garlic.
- Heat canola oil in a stock pot over low medium heat.
- Put the minced garlic in and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add in the sliced onion and leek. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Once the onion and leek slices turn slightly translucent, add the chopped potato cubes.
- Pour the vegetable broth and bring to a boil under a cover. Once the soup starts boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes.
- Add the herbs and seasonings to taste.
- Use a potato masher or an immersion blender to further combine the ingredients into your desired consistency.
- Add the chopped kale and carefully stir it in.
- Remove from heat and serve while still hot to warm yourself up on cold days.