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3 Hearty Vegan Soups: Potato Leek, Butternut Squash & Celery

Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.

Vegan soup

Vegan soup

Soup: Tasty, Nourishing, Healthy

There can't be many people who don't appreciate the pleasure of a comforting bowl of piping hot soup. It is on the menu from infancy, when soup with bread broken into it is transported from bowl to mouth via a parent-piloted plane, complete with engine noise. It is the healing mainstay when children fall sick, and it can be kept hot in a thermos to bring welcome warmth on cold days for adults at work.

Here are three hearty vegan soups that are tasty, nutritious, and easy to prepare. The heartiness of these soups is partly down to an ingredient common to all three; the humble spud. Potato is a great soup thickener, and it goes very well with the creamy ingredients in these recipes.

Recipes on this Page

  1. Potato Leek Soup
  2. Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
  3. Creamy Celery Soup
Potato and leek soup

Potato and leek soup

Recipe 1: Potato and Leek Soup

I must admit to being late to the party of adding coconut milk to leek and potato soup, having used non-dairy cream in the past—but I am now a convert. This basic soup should be on everyone’s culinary repertoire; simple to prepare, but it hits the spot every time. After cooking, you can create a smooth blended soup, or leave it chunky if that is your thing. I opted for a blended version this time, to keep in line with the photo theme.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 leek, washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 120 millilitres (½ cup) coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Put the oil in a pan and saute the leek over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrot and garlic, and saute 1 minute more.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and add the potato.
  4. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and adjust seasoning.
  6. Use a blender if you want a smooth soup.
  7. Serve piping hot.
Stock from scraps

Stock from scraps

How to Make Stock From Scraps

I have several recipe books that suggest making vegetable stock from scraps. Although I am not an ardent adherent to this philosophy, I do occasionally make my own stock, after which I invariably ask myself why I don’t do it more often. The general consensus is to save your vegetable scraps in a ziplock-type bag in the freezer, and then once a week boil them up for stock.

As I cook vegetables every day, I can amass enough scraps for a pan of stock over two or three days. I keep them in an old mushroom punnet in the fridge. Here’s what a typical pan of stock would consist of:

  • The tops and tails from onions, carrots, leeks, celery, green beans etc.
  • Stalks and tougher leaves from kale
  • Broccoli and cauliflower stalks and leaves
  • The core and outer leaves of cabbage
  • Mushroom stalks
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Method

  1. To make stock, put 3 cups of vegetable scraps into a pan.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs, 1 bayleaf, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns and 1 litre of water.
  3. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes.
  4. Pass the liquid through a fine strainer and store it in the fridge. Use the stock within 3 days.
Butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup

Recipe 2: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Whether you call it autumn or fall, there are few dishes that typify that season, with its shift towards shorter days and cooler nights, than a deliciously warming butternut squash soup. That said, butternut squash is widely available all year round these days, so we can enjoy tasty soups like this, from the height of summer to the depths of winter.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup shredded kale, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 120 millilitres (½ cup) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

  1. Place a soup pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft.
  3. Add the chilli, coriander, cumin and oregano.
  4. Add the carrot and celery, potato and squash.
  5. Saute for 1 minute, keeping everything on the move.
  6. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Lower the heat to a simmer, and add the kale.
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes until everything is tender.
  9. Stir in the coconut milk.
  10. Blend the soup in a food processor, or with an immersion blender.
  11. Adjust the seasoning and stir in the lemon juice.
  12. Serve piping hot with fresh crusty bread.
Creamy vegan celery soup

Creamy vegan celery soup

Recipe 3: Creamy Celery Soup

As a young man who had recently switched to a vegetarian diet, I worked for a local roofing firm. In the winter months I often took two thermos flasks into the work van; one for cups of tea and the other filled with hot soup. One of my favourites was a creamy celery soup my mother made, which she thickened with potato.

Heads of celery are often on sale for very little money, so this soup is still in my repertoire. Easy to make, but immensely tasty, celery soup is the perfect accompaniment to a sandwich for lunch. In fact, were I to have this soup in a plastic cup with a sandwich on a cold day, sitting on an upturned bucket in the draughty back of a van while Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy played on the radio, I’d be whisked back to the days of my youth.

Celery soup was, of course, one of the varieties of Campbell's soup painted by Andy Warhol in 1962.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 head celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • ½ cup non-dairy cream or unsweetened soya milk

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan, and saute the onions until soft.
  2. Add the celery and carrot, and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and add the potato.
  4. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream (or soya milk).
  6. Blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Reheat and serve piping hot.

Soup Prep Playlist

Penetration hail from my neck of the woods, having been formed in County Durham in 1976, and they are still playing, fronted by original singer Pauline Murray. My brother bought Penetration's second album, Coming Up for Air, which I secretly listened to in his room before he got home from work. I loved it. This is their debut single from 1977.

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