Before I met the HH, he was a culinary vagabond, a peripatetic bon vivant who spent his evenings wandering from one acclaimed restaurant to the next. The HH, you see, ate almost all of his meals in restaurants in the days before our romance blossomed in the late 1990s (and I’ve written before how he once lived for two years in an apartment and turned the stove on exactly once.). As soon as he acquired his first paying job, he sought out the food of professional chefs daily (apparently Mum’s cooking wasn’t exactly all that enticing). By the time he reached his mid-20s, the HH had dined at every upscale eatery in the city and was a “regular” at hot spots like Bemelman’s, Le Trou Normand, the Courtyard Café or Joe Allen. His favorite meals consisted of thick, full-cream sauces atop butter-basted scallops; juicy pan-fried shrimp; or, as often as possible, near-blue filet mignon. (I know, it’s a miracle we two ever got together, isn’t it?).
Despite his gourmet palate, the HH’s salary was that of any other regular twenty-something, which meant that these gastronomic adventures often consumed most, if not all, of his weekly income. Given the choice between fine dining and new shoes, the HH invariably chose to endure wet feet in the rain. In fact, he was probably the only “regular” patron whose shoes were more worn than those of the wait staff!
These days, with his restaurant ramblings severely restricted (even if we could afford to dine out more often, there are precious few places that can accommodate my bizarre dietary restrictions), the HH sometimes reminisces about those halycon days when all the food he ate took a full day to prepare and was cooked by someone else. Once in a while, he asks whether I might be able to re-create one of those long-ago favorites. As a result, I spent one summer blending at least a dozen different takes on gazpacho; I’ve also toyed with endless variations on coconut cream pie.
One of my honey’s most-requested recipes is vichychoisse. Myself, I’m not a huge fan (in my mind, cold potatoes belong huddled in big chunks in a large bowl, swathed in may0-based dressing with dill and some green peas for your summertime family BBQ, thank you very much), but I did think that a warmed version would be lovely.
Recently I came across a recipe for an unusual potato soup. What made this one different? A secret ingredient that rendered it both substantial and silky.
I couldn’t resist, of course. I took the idea and
ran cooked with it. I created my own version of a healthier vichyssoise, one that gains its luxurious texture from a surprising addition–oats! When I served up a bowl of the soup, I didn’t tell the HH about the secret ingredient (he’s kind of getting used to foods that aren’t what they appear to be). He slid the spoon into the plush, velvety base and then into his mouth. He seemed to contemplate the soup for a moment, shutting his eyes and pursing his lips. Then he smiled and nodded.
“Mmmm, yes, this is great,” he finally said. “You know, I bet you could serve this soup in a fine vegan restaurant!”
Did you hear that? That’s how far my sweetie has come–from Coquilles St. Jacque at Le Trou Normand to Vegan Leek and Potato Soup at Chez RH–and the first restaurant that popped into his mind was a vegan one!
Well, it may not be classic vichyssoise, but this soup has quickly become one of the HH’s favorites. If you’re looking for a smooth, luscious first course for a holiday meal–and a restaurant-worthy one at that–do give it a try.
“Hey, Mum, you know that we can be peripatetic, too, right? And we can do it on eight legs! Oh, and if Dad’s not going to be eating that filet mignon any more, I think we might be able to help. . . . ”
Creamy Potato-Leek Soup
A terrifically easy soup that combines the nutritional value of potatoes with the additional B vitamins of oats. The texture will have you thinking there’s cream in the soup–all without any cholesterol at all.
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
5 large white or yellow potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups (1 liter) vegetable broth or stock
1/3 cup (80 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
fine sea salt, to taste
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened almond, cashew, soy or hemp milk
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks are translucent, 5-8 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients except the almond milk and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 20-25 minutes. Stir in the almond milk. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Purée the mixture with a hand blender or in a regular blender or food processor, in batches if necessary (take care not to burn yourself on the hot soup!). Return the mixture to the pot and heat over low heat until warmed through. Serve with crusty bread. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen (defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then heat gently before serving).
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.
Subscribe for recipes and more about living well without sugar, gluten, eggs or dairy! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll receive emails sharing recipes and videos as soon as they’re posted, plus weekly updates and news about upcoming events. A healthy lifestyle CAN be sweet!
JL goes Vegan says
Ricki, this soup looks out of this world! Bravo!
Love the description of HH’s restaurant adventures pre-Ricki 🙂
Thanks, JL! He was quite the adventurer, indeed! 😉 Talk about opposites attracting. . . !!
Brenda W. says
I’m so glad to hear you enjoy McDougall’s recipes!! Me too! (and I don’t follow a fat free diet). But their recipes are so creative and filling and good!
PS .. you omitted the oats in your ingedient list
Agh! How ironic, since THAT was the “secret ingredient”!! I’ve added it now–thanks! 🙂
Hallie @ Daily Bites says
Mmm…one of my favorite soups, Ricki! Love love love potatoes and leeks together. 🙂
I hadn’t realized it before, but I do, too! 🙂
I think this needs to be on our menu next week. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy. This soup would definitely warm a belly!
It was perfect for the snowy weather we had yesterday. . . I’d like to keep the soup but ditch the snow. 😉
Well done, Ricki!
I’m not entering for prizes, but had to tell you how lovely your pics are! I am seeing wonderful photos on the web today, and yours are one of 2 sets I’ve taken time to comment on… lovely!!!
The soup looks divine, too, and perfect for these chilly, hurried days leading up to the BIG DAY!
Gigi, thank you so much! 😀 (Now you have me wanting to go look at the other one. . . !). 😉 And yes, the soup is perfect for this time of year. 🙂
Kim (Cook It Allergy Free) says
Ricki, this is one of my favorite soups! Any time I am feeling under the weather, for some reason potato leek soup is what I crave. I will SO be making this. And really? What a perfect secret ingredient! Who would have thought to add the oats? I am all over this one!
Oh, and I agree with Gigi. These photos are just beautiful. You are not giving yourself enough credit, missy! 😉
I know–the oats are just perfect for the texture here. Crazy, indeed! And thanks for the photo comment–made my day (missy!!) 😉
Hi There Ricki~
My first thought was: these pictures are beautiful. Lovey presentation!
My second thought was: YUM! Potato soup is so very satisfying and such a comfort when those cold days set in! Great recipe Ricki.
Thanks so much, Amber! Gotta have hot soup on cold days! 🙂
I’m very impressed by your creative use of oats – the Quaker people should be paying you to develop more savory oat recipes like this!
I wish I could take the credit, Cara, but it’s Mary McDougall’s creation. 🙂 Glad you liked it!
Ah, oats — they can be surprising, can’t they? At our food co-op in Madison Wis., we used to get a soft-serve ice cream made entirely from oats, and it was so delicious and creamy. (Sadly, it’s no longer available.) Do you buy gluten-free oats?
Wow, now you’ve got me thinking about how to make oat-cream! 😉 I do buy GF oats when I can find them, but I don’t worry overmuch as I don’t have Celiac disease. Being gluten free is a choice for me, and part of the anti-candida diet. 🙂
I love the McDougall newsletter for the recipes too! They are totally the best part. Although, yours are way better 🙂
Aw, thanks, Courtney! 😀
I will be trying this soup for sure! What a great week for us plant-eaters! I love your secret ingredient, especially for my kids! And can I just say that HH is LUCKY he found you. His heart must thank you every day for saving it from a life of cream and restaurant meat 🙂
Ha, ha! Well, if his heart thanks me, sometimes his appetite and taste buds don’t. But when he thinks about it, he comes round to my way of thinking. 😉
I don’t think I’ve ever had vichyssoise before your version sounds delicious. I’m not a big fan of cold soups so I like that you served this one heated too. 🙂
My mom used to make leek & potato soup, but I haven’t had it in so long! Now that you’ve given me a healthier recipe, I can try making it myself!
Veggie V! @Veggie V's Vegan Adventure says
Thought I already left a comment about this soup. Maybe I got distracted by hunger. Ha ha! This looks and sounds so good! I pretty much love anything potato.
Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen says
Wow… This will warm me right up!
I do think it will! Thanks, Jesica! 🙂
Johanna GGG says
Potato and oats seem a great team – I have a root vegetable soup that has oats in it and I love the substance they adds to it.
Amazing to hear that HH was so into his gourmet restaurants – no wonder he got together with you – at least he appreciates good food – unlike E who used to think pasta with ketchup was gourmet and horrified me last week when the pasta went off by saying we could have pasta and ketchup!!!!
Johanna, that’s so funny! Oddly, the HH has always loved good food, even when he couldn’t really afford it. So he was poor, but with very good taste! 😉 I must have forgotten about the veg soup w/ oats on your blog (I seem to be forgetting about other recipes these days, hmmmnnn?) lol
Johanna GGG says
no worries – I posted that recipe a long long time ago and often wish I would remember it more often
Rachel @ Bakerita says
My sister is gluten and dairy free so this book would be absolutely perfect for her!
And that soup! Looks sinfully delicious. We love potato leek soup, so it will be nice to have a recipe she can eat!
Yay! Good luck! 🙂
Thanks for your sharing on the soup. It really looks great.
Ricki Heller says
Glad you like it!