Thanksgiving is around the corner! And who doesn’t love a comforting, pureed soup for this time of year?!
You all know that I’m always experimenting with different foods, namely vegetables, proteins, and fruits. So today, I’ve decided to play around with a food I’ve always wanted to try, but never had the guts to do so: I’m talking about leeks!
Leeks Are NOT For Weak!
You might think leeks are some God-awful vegetable your grandmother tried to force feed you back in the day. Or, perhaps you think leeks are a snooty food only served in high end
(i.e. small portioned) restaurants. Well, I’m here to tell you that despite their high brow appeal, leeks are actually a delicious green veggie to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. Here are just a few of the health benefits:
- Detoxifying—Did you overdo it over the weekend with too many calories, too much fat, or too much salt? Cooked leeks are a great way to flush excess water out of your system. Mind you, this is NOT to say that I support or promote detoxing in any way. BUT, if you’re PMSing or trying to cut 1-3 pounds of water weight for an event, leeks might be just what the trainer ordered 🙂
- Vitamin and Mineral Rich—Leeks are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folic acid, and Niacin (a B vitamin). In particular, a lot of leeks are very mineral rich in elements like magnesium, selenium, and other trace minerals that we don’t know a ton about quite yet. They also provide up to 10% of your RDA of iron.
- Loaded with Antioxidants—Leeks are in the same family as onions and garlic, hence their flavor and texture. You all know by now that onions and garlic are incredibly healthy and loaded with nutrients, hence why Michael Pollan’s Cooked talks about their microbial properties. We can’t totally confirm this yet, but there’s word that leeks also possess some of these amazing health benefits, namely reducing cardiovascular disease and other adverse effects associated with aging.
Normally, I love using my Vitamix to blend and puree my soups. But I realize this can be tedious and annoying for many of you, not to mention a Vitamix can be quite pricey. Instead of using a high speed blender or even an immersion blender, I brought out my good ol’ fashioned potato masher. The key to this soup is making sure the veggies are super soft and mashable. No one likes lumpy mashed potatoes, nor do they like pureed soups with chunks of raw veggies. You also want to make sure not to over mash the soup so that it looses its texture. There’s really no wrong or right way to do this, however, so don’t let this technique scare you! Trust me, this is MUCH easier (and less dangerous) then dumping piping hot soup into your blender (which I know we’ve all done at one point or another).
One final note about this recipe. Just because I don’t personally cook with or consume dairy
and a lot of other foods doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a diary product when it adds flavor and body to a meal. When preparing this soup for my grandmother, I threw on a handful of shredded cheese and some dried cranberries to make it a little more festive. My grandmother said this was actually a beautiful play on sweet and savory!