Potato and Leek Soup

I L-O-V-E-D potato and leek soup when I was younger, especially when it had bacon in it. Obviously my vegan ways have disallowed me to have a bowl from this same recipe, but I can certainly come pretty darn close to it with vegan ingredients. I use vegan bacon in this recipe, but have added in some optional ingredients if you are unable to find it. This soup is creamy, and also slightly cheesy flavored because of the addition of nutritional yeast. I had a big heaping bowl of this with fresh baked biscuits. You can also make this in the crock pot (just add all of the ingredients, and set it on the 6 hour setting). I opted for the quicker pot method because I wanted this soup in my belly, NOW.

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium leeks (or 1 large leek), finely chopped (cut the majority of the dark leaves off, as well as the root. Rinse the remainder thoroughly and finely slice it).
4-6 strips vegan bacon, chopped (I use the Tofurky brand. If you can't find it, after the soup has cooked through add a few shakes of liquid smoke + 1 tsp soy sauce, which helps lend a 'bacon' flavor to the soup)
6 small yellow potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces

7 cups vegetable stock
1 cup milk alternative (I use almond milk. You can also use a cream alternative.)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast 
lots of pepper

1) Saute the bay leaves, onion, leeks and sea salt in the oil and butter, in a large pot. Once the onions become translucent, and the leeks begin to wilt (about 5 minutes), add the vegan bacon (if using, if not add the alternative ingredients once the liquids have been added), and the chopped potatoes. Allow them to saute for a few minutes, or just until the bacon has browned slightly Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened. Remove the bay leaves, add the milk alternative, nutritional yeast, and pepper, allowing the soup to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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