Vegan Potato Leek Soup with Ramp Leaf Pesto

 
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A hearty, deeply satisfying soup for chilly spring days, with the vibrant green color and flavor of the spring forest drizzled over the top in the form of a punchy, wild leek pesto.

comfort • SOUP • Spring • vegan


 

The grass might be growing greener and the trilliums may be just on the verge of opening, but the weather has been anything but mild these past few days. Rainy, cold, miserable…these are just a few of the adjective that come to mind.

But the explosion of green across the woodland floor is unstoppable now, and as I follow the path down into the forest behind my house, I’m greeted with a vision of stunning beauty, made all the more striking by the long, cold months of anticipation and longing that preceded it.

As the dried leaves crunch beneath my boots, I inhale the rich scents of earth and soil and the sweet, pungent note of wild leek. I spot blood root and the first bobbing yellow head of trout lily, little spring beauties sprinkled over the ground like confetti. I long to stay, but the rain has begun to fall now and my hands are going numb from the cold, so I get what I came for (a basketful of ramp leaves) and head back for the warmth of home.

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As the dried leaves crunch beneath my boots, I inhale the rich scents of earth and soil and the sweet, pungent note of wild leek. I spot blood root and the first bobbing yellow head of trout lily, little spring beauties sprinkled over the ground like confetti. I long to stay, but the rain has begun to fall now and my hands are going numb from the cold, so I get what I came for (a basketful of ramp leaves) and head back for the warmth of home.

Happily returned, I set about making this soup and marvel at how the world feels so much nicer when a pot of something warm and delicious is bubbling away on the stove; especially when you’ve just come in from the cold.

It strikes me how important contrast is in appreciating things.  Spring wouldn’t be half so beautiful if we didn’t have the stark monochrome of winter to compare it to. And soup never tastes quite so satisfying and comforting as it does when the weather outside the door is anything but.

And maybe it’s contrast that makes this soup so satisfying too. One the one hand, you have the thick, velvety, stick-to-your-ribs potato soup; pure homely comfort. On the other, you have this vibrant emerald green pesto with punchy, wild flavor. Both good in their own right, but together they become something spectacular; each playing off the other to create something that never could have been so delicious on its own. Just like spring. 

 
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Vegan potato leek soup with ramp leaf pesto

Prep Time 20 min • Cook Time 30 min • Total Time 50 min

 

SERVES 8

For the soup:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 3 leeks, sliced into half moons

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 6.34 cups (1.5 liters) water or low sodium vegetable stock

  • 15.49 (439 g) can of cannellini beans, drained

  • 2 cups (500 ml) oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste

  • black pepper to taste

For the Ramp Pesto:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil

  • 1 large bunch ramp leaves, chopped

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

  1. First, make sure your leeks are washed well, as no one likes to chomp down a piece of grit. I find the easiest and most effective way to clean leeks is to slice the bottom and green tops off, and then slice the leek in half lengthwise. Then you can run each half of the leek under the faucet, peeling back each of the layers to rinse away the dirt hiding between them. Usually, the dirt will be hidden between the first few layers, so you won't need to be overly concerned about the center. 

  2. Once your leeks are thoroughly cleaned, start heating the olive oil in a large stock pot. Once the oil is warmed, add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften -- about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the potatoes, and stir well to incorporate. Then add the water or vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20  minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

  4. Add the drained beans and stir to incorporate. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and add the milk, salt, nutmeg and black pepper.

  5. Blend the soup until completely smooth and creamy. You can either do this in the pan using an immersion or stick blender, or you can process the soup in batches using a blender or food processor. 

  6. Once the soup is blended, test for seasonings and adjust as you see fit. The soup tends to absorb quite a bit of liquid as it sits, so if you aren't eating right away, you may want to add a little extra stock, water or milk to thin it out when you are re-heat it later. 

For the Ramp Pesto:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over very low heat. Add the chopped ramp leaves, and allow to cook in the oil until they begin to wilt and sizzle as they release their juices into the oil, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

  2. Add the ramps, vinegar and salt to to a blender or food processor and blend until you've created a lovely, smooth and vibrantly green pesto. This pesto is more on the liquid side so you can easily drizzle it into your soup. 


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Immersion blender

organic apple cider vinegar

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