Potato soup is one of the first recipes I ever veganized, and it was completely unintentional. Growing up vegetarian, my mom frequently made potato soup for me, since it was vegetarian by default, and a dish everyone in the household loved. When I was in college I started making my own version, but I used soy milk, only because it was more convenient for me to keep soy milk stockpiled in the cupboard than to buy dairy milk, which I used so little of that I knew it would inevitably spoil.
I never missed the dairy in my vegan potato soup, and over the years it evolved. The original version was a simple creamy potato soup, with a soy milk base, and chunks of potatoes, carrots, celery, and whatever other veggie I had on hand. It was delicious, but as I learned about creative ways to season up my vegan cooking, it got more and more delicious, until one day I realized my vegan potato soup wasn’t just ultra creamy and delicious, it tasted downright cheesy.
Nutritional yeast is one of my go-to savory seasonings for adding flavor to vegan dishes, and that’s what gives this soup its rich cheesy flavor. To take things even further, I added some vinegar for tang, and a bit of heat, which, believe it or not, makes the soup taste even cheesier. Don’t worry if you’re not into heat – the little bit of hot sauce in this isn’t enough to burn your mouth. And if you can take the heat, throw a little extra hot sauce on top!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 leeks white and pale green parts, cleaned and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups unflavored soy milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper hot sauce or more, to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh chives for topping
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until very fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add soy milk, broth, potatoes and thyme to the pot and give everything a stir. Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer 1/3 of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, then return it to the pot and stir it into the rest of the soup. Reheat if needed. Stir in the nutritional yeast, hot sauce and vinegar, then season the soup with salt and pepper. Taste test and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chives and additional hot sauce. Serve.