This creamy Vegetable Leek Soup with potatoes and carrots is thick and creamy while being completely gluten and dairy free. Includes instructions for making into an Instant Pot Vegetable Soup. Read to the end to learn my trick for making creamy soups that doesn't require cream or flour to thicken.
Compared to last year, we've had such a mild winter here in Calgary. After a weekend of freezing weather and snow, the sunshine is right back with balmy temperatures and warm Chinook winds that melt all the snow away.
This kind of Canadian winter I can almost live with. Well, almost indeed. In my perfect climate, winter doesn't exist. What's a gal to do. Compromises must be made sometimes.
At the same time, winter carries with it certain lovely aspects. Like cuddling up on the couch with a hot mug of cocoa. And heart-and-belly-warming comfort foods. Soup falls into this category for me - and this creamy vegetable leek soup is a perfect example of comfort food.
Leek Vegetable Soup From My Childhood
I absolutely LOVE soups. Light or rich. Creamy or chunky. All are warmly welcomed on my tongue and in my tummy. Soup rocks.
When I made these Cheese Sticks with Leek a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of a vegetable leek soup from my childhood. Without much to go by, I set out to recreate it. In my memory, the only vegetables in the soup were leeks and potatoes, together with ground meat (or was it meatballs?) and probably a lot of cream.
My own version is a little different - optimized, if I may say so myself. There is no ground meat, but we start out by crisping up some bacon. The bacon fat is then used to pre-cook the leek and corn. The crispy bacon bits are used as final topping later. That's right. Making use of everything we can.
Next, to the softened leek and corn we add diced potatoes and carrots. Adding corn and carrots as additional vegetables (compared to the soup from my childhood) makes for a great colour and texture contrast. With only leek and potatoes for the original soup, it looked rather dull and grey.
Puree For Creamy and Chunky Combination
Since this is a half creamy, half chunky soup, we are only adding as much broth as needed to cover the vegetables. Simmer until soft, then puree ⅓ of the soup; the rest remains chunky. I just used my blender. You can also use a food processor, just be careful not to add above the "liquid fill line". There will be soup all over your counter otherwise.
(You could also use an immersion blender, if you own one. You can puree parts of the soup right in the pot, which means less dishes. Yay! Just make sure to leave plenty of chunks; all depending on preference.)
Add the puree back (if not using immersion blender) and season the soup. Start with ¼ teaspoon each of nutmeg, oregano and black pepper; then add more to taste (I ended up with probably about ½ teaspoon each). For a little heat I also used ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, but this is totally optional.
Makeover: Instant Pot Leek Vegetable Soup
Now, more than 4 years after first publishing this recipe for vegetable soup with leeks I finally tried to make it into a pressure cooker version. And I have to say I love it!
The Instant Pot vegetable soup is still a super easy one pot soup recipe. You can even skip the sautéing step, as the pressure cooking process softens the leeks perfectly well.
Overall, there might not be a lot of time savings between the Instant Pot and stove top versions of this leek veggie soup. But with the Instant Pot version there is the added benefit of not having to watch the pot to make sure it doesn't boil over.
There is also no need for stirring in between. So it is the 'hands-off' part that is the true benefit. It give you time to set the table, check homework, or do anything else still waiting to be done before dinner time.
And of course there are those times when you want to use the Instant Pot rather than the stove - be it while camping or when you want to keep the kitchen (and yourself) cool.
Pressure Cooker I Use
Delicious Comfort Food As a Result
The end result is a delicious bowl of warming comfort food. It is perfectly creamy (without any dairy added) with hearty chunks to bite. Add the bacon as a topping on each bowl.
I also like green onion slices and a few rings of raw leek (if you would like to try that, make sure to save a few in the beginning). Leftovers of this vegetable leek soup make wonderful lunches and stay good in the fridge for several days.
Original images from when this Leek and Vegetable Soup was first published
Creamy Vegetable Soup with Leek (Dairy-Free)
- 3 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 leek stalks sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup corn frozen
- 4 medium potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 4 cups broth chicken or vegetable; I use water + Better Than Bouillon
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper optional
- In a large soup pot heat the oil and fry the bacon pieces on medium heat until crispy. Lift bacon out of the pot and set aside.
- Cut off the root end and dark green tops of the leek. We only want the white and light green part. Slice open lengthwise and clean thoroughly (leeks tend to trap dirt in the layers). Then cut finely.
- Add the leek, garlic and frozen corn to the pot and cook on medium for a few minutes until the leek has softened (and corn should be thawed). Now add the potato and carrot dices and pour broth over. All the vegetables should be covered.
- Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft (about 20 minutes).
- Puree about ⅓ of the soup in a blender. Add pureed soup back into the pot. Season to taste with nutmeg, oregano, black pepper (about ½ teaspoon each) and cayenne pepper (¼ teaspoon), if you would like some heat.
- Served topped with the bacon pieces, green onion slices or even some raw leek rings.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Press the Sauté button on your Instant Pot and wait until the display shows 'HOT'. Add the olive oil and cut up bacon. Cook until the bacon is crispy, then remove from the pot to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Add the sliced leek, garlic and corn kernels and sauté them until the leek has obviously softened (sauté step optional). Press 'Cancel' to stop sautéing.
- Add the diced potatoes and carrots to the Instant Pot. Add broth and seasonings (nutmeg, oregano, black pepper, cayenne - start with about ¼ teaspoon each). Stir to combine.
- Close the lid and turn the pressure valve to sealing position. Cook the soup on 'Manual' High Pressure for 8 minutes. The pot will take about 10-12 minutes to pressurize before the timer starts counting down.
- Once the cooking time is up, turn the pressure valve to quickly release the pressure (QR).
- Make the soup extra creamy by transferring about ⅓ of the soup to a blender and pureeing. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot and watch as the soup transforms into a thick and creamy texture. Alternatively, use an immersion blender and blend some of the soup right in the pot until is looks creamy but still has plenty of chunks.
- Taste and adjust the spices to taste. Serve this Instant Pot vegetable soup topped with the crispy bacon pieces and sliced green onion.
Other Soup Recipes
Check out these other delicious soup combinations for more yummy to your tummy!
- Thai Chicken Coconut Soup - Tom Kha Gai
- Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup - Video
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Pumpkin Soup
The Instant Pot typically has a "Soup" setting that you can use for making soup. This setting is designed to pressure cook soup ingredients to perfection.
The cooking time for soup in an Instant Pot can vary depending on the recipe. On average, most soups will cook for around 15-30 minutes under pressure.
Yes, you should always seal the Instant Pot when making soup. Sealing the pot is essential for creating the necessary pressure to cook the ingredients effectively.
Yes, a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, is excellent for making soup. It significantly reduces the cooking time and helps to infuse flavors into the soup.
To make your soup more creamy without dairy, consider using techniques like blending a portion of the soup, adding coconut milk or a non-dairy milk alternative, or using ingredients like potatoes for natural creaminess.
Leek soup is good for you because leeks are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, and fiber. They also contain antioxidants and have potential health benefits, such as supporting heart health and digestion.
To deepen the flavor of vegetable soup, you can use techniques like sautéing the vegetables to caramelize them, using vegetable or chicken broth, adding herbs and spices, and allowing the soup to simmer for a longer time to meld the flavors.