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Vegan Cheezy Potato and Leek Soup

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A rich, creamy, cashew cheezy bowl of potato and leek soup.  Oh, and it’s vegan!

cheesy cashew leek potato soup 10Cashews = “cheese.”  No really, they do.  I swear I’m not nuts! (<– hah!) 😉

If you do not eat vegan food then this may seem like an incredibly foreign concept to you.  In fact, when I first started dipping my toes into the land of cheese-free cooking, I wondered how in the world cashews could ever resemble dairy-laden cheese.  And despite being baffled and incredibly curious about this all at the same time, it took me roughly two and a half years as a vegetarian to finally try cooking with cashews in a way that did not involve making nut butter or trail mix.

cheesy cashew leek potato soup 6My first experience was in making Alexis’s Pinto Bean and Swiss Chard Enchiladas <– these are killer, by the way.  I was truly amazed at the results.  Now of course cashews do not result in the same texture as cheese.  It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  But, when combined with other foods like nutritional yeast, the flavor is definitely there.

Since my enchilada experience, I have since come across several other recipes calling for cashews, including: nacho “cheese,” ricotta “cheese” for lasagna, and cashew “cheese” grilled cheese sandwiches.  While all of these sound amazing and will surely be made soon, I could not shake the idea to veganize and healthify a former favorite of mine: cheesy potato soup.

And so… this Vegan Cheezy Potato and Leek Soup was born.

P.S. Leeks are amazing in soups, so do not leave them out!

cheesy cashew leek potato soup 3Vegan Cheesy Potato and Leek Soup

Serves 4 to 6


1 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 3 hours, and drained)
water, for cooking
one leek, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
5 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (not baking yeast)
1/2 tsp turmeric
fine sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste


1. Line a large soup pot or dutch oven with a thin layer of water.  Heat over medium-high heat.  Once hot, lower the heat to medium and add cut leeks to the pan.  Sautee for approximately 5 minutes, adding additional water as necessary.

2. Add potatoes and vegetable broth to the pot.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

3. While the leeks and potatoes are cooking, combine soaked cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and turmeric in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Add additional milk, if necessary.

4. Once the potatoes are cooked through, use an immersion blender to puree the leeks and potatoes until smooth.  You can also use a blender for this step.

5. Stir the cheezy cashew cream into the soup and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

cheesy cashew leek potato soup 11Talk about comfort food.

During the Winter months, there is nothing that I want more than a warm, creamy, and cheezy bowl of potato soup.  Add in some crackers, croutons, roasted chickpeas, and/or a slice of bread and I am even happier!

cheesy cashew leek potato soup 5For the heads up, this soup freezes wonderfully.  I normally cook for one, so I love throwing a couple of containers in my freezer for easy week night meals.  When your body just craves comfort food (or when you are sick), this comes to the rescue in a pinch!

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Have you tried cashew cheese yet?
If so, what is your favorite recipe?  Please share the recipe links in the comments!

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • June Burns January 6, 2015, 4:53 am
    Mmm that looks wonderful! Perfect for a cold winter day. Love vegan "cheesy" soups like this :)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 8:55 am
      Thanks so much, June! It is SO perfect for a freezing cold day. I hope you give it a try!
  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies January 6, 2015, 6:38 am
    I tried cashew cheese for the first time in vegan cheesy potatoes - it's very surprisingly how sometimes cashews even feel like cheese. This soup looks delicious - I can definitely never turn down potato soup! Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies recently posted...Most Popular Posts 2014My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 9:01 am
      Oh yum!! Now I'm thinking it would be awesome in mashed potatoes! I'll have to try that.
  • Linda @ Veganosity January 6, 2015, 7:43 am
    Yes! Cashews (most nuts) are incredible cheese substitutes. This soup looks delicious! Thanks for the dinner idea. :) Linda @ Veganosity recently posted...Saturday Vegananuary NewsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 9:08 am
      Thanks Linda! I hope you enjoy it! Have you tried using any other nuts for cheese substitutes? If so, which ones work well?
  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine January 6, 2015, 10:42 am
    You're tantalizing me with this wonderful soup of goodness! Since cashews are in my top 3 favorite foods, YES I love cashew cheese! The first time I used cashews for actual cheese was in my vegan margherita pizza! SOOOO good ;) http://strengthandsunshine.com/grilled-vegan-margherita-pizza/
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 1:54 pm
      I have heard of cashew cheese being used on pizza, but I haven't tried it yet. I definitely NEED to change that! Your version looks delicious.
  • GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth January 6, 2015, 3:49 pm
    I had leeks for the first time in November and they were awesome! I was seriously surprised at how much I liked them. I also haven't tried using cashews in 'cheesy' recipes since I went dairy-free, so I'll def be making this. Pinned! GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted...30 Healthy Recipes for Packed Lunches & SnacksMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 4:32 pm
      Leeks are definitely one of those "who knew they were so good?" kind of vegetables. I LOVE them roasted and in soups. I think you will really LOVE using cashew cheese in place of dairy. It is a great, whole-foods way of getting the cheesy flavor without eating a bunch of processed vegan "cheese." I love it best in soups, salad dressings, and in Mexican food. Let me know what you think!
  • Farrah January 6, 2015, 5:20 pm
    My church uses cashews to make a "cheese" sauce for their vegan mac n' cheese! It's pretty much the only macaroni + cheese I've ever really liked! (I'm not the biggest fan of copious amounts of cheese. :P ) This looks awesome! <3 I love hot soups; it's pretty much all I want to consume these days! Farrah recently posted...Your Imaginary TrainerMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 6, 2015, 6:20 pm
      Seriously, your church is AMAZING!! I am so impressed that they make vegan mac and cheese. I bet it is to die for!
  • karen January 7, 2015, 7:13 am
    This soup looks fantastic. I've never made a soup before using cashews. It sounds interesting and now I really want to try this! :) karen recently posted...cuban speciality; potato filled with meatMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 7, 2015, 4:58 pm
      You definitely need to try using cashews in soup. They make it so thick, creamy, and dreamy :)
  • Alexis @ Hummusapien January 7, 2015, 3:06 pm
    Aren't cashews so dreamy?! I love how you used them with potatoes and nooch in this yummy soup! Maybe we should puree the enchiladas into soup...
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 7, 2015, 4:59 pm
      Haha!! Those enchiladas are so darn delicious that they would probably taste amazing in soup form! ;)
  • Olivia Schwab January 8, 2015, 1:50 pm
    This looks soo good!!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 3:52 pm
      Thank you, Olivia! Please let me know if you try it :)
  • Doug February 22, 2015, 9:04 am
    Thanks for the recipe and the recommendation on freezing. I did not know that cashews = cheese! I love raw cashews, so can't way to try this recipe out. Doug recently posted...Great Accessories for Cast Iron SkilletsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl February 22, 2015, 3:44 pm
      That fact that "cheese" can be made from cashews is pretty amazing, isn't it? I'm hope you enjoy the soup!

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