Leek and Butter Bean Soup with Crispy Kale & Bacon

This Leek and Butter Bean Soup recipe has a lot going for it but, honestly, it needs improvement. I think the flavour from the leek, butter bean and mustard go so well together but I did include a few alterations in my recipe below which I feel really did help. One that I mentioned in the video but didn’t mention in the recipe is the leek cooking time. Give them more! Doing this again I’d add a good splash of water and allow to cook on low for at least half an hour. As mentioned in the video, low and slow cooking makes leeks go incredibly melting and buttery, which is perfect for blending to a creamy soup.

That change makes this vegan leek and butter bean soup not only healthy and delicious, but it would improve the smoothness or mouthfeel. The crispy bits to accompany this soup are obviously not vegan, but can be made vegan by omitting the bacon and replacing it with an extra tablespoon or two of olive oil to fry the kale and hazelnuts. Add a generous pinch of sea salt flakes and smoked paprika to replace the saltiness and smokiness from the smoked bacon.

The recipe also simply requires sliced leeks, which I was doing when I discovered dirt between the leek layers and remembered how to clean them. This is pretty important because you really do not want that dirt getting into your soup.

Leek & Butter Bean Soup with Crispy Kale & Bacon


  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 500g leeks, sliced
  • 4 - 8 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 x 400g cans of butter beans
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • half a small pack of flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 -4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 40g chopped kale, tough stems removed
  • 25g hazelnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Trim the leeks of the roots and the tough green parts. Halve lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Slice and add to a bowl with the thyme leaves.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over a low heat. Add the leeks and thyme, cover and cook for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Add the beans plus the liquid from their cans, the vegetable stock and the mustard. Stir and bring to the boil.
  4. Boil for 3 - 4 minutes, add the parsley and blitz with an immersion blender (hand blender), regular blender or food processor. Then set aside to make the crispy kale and bacon.
  5. Fry the bacon in a dry frying pan for as low and slow as you can. This will make the bacon extra crispy.
  6. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside to cool and chop.
  7. Add the remaining tsp of olive oil to the frying pan with the rendered bacon fat. Add the chopped kale and hazelnuts and stir fry for a few minutes until they are crispy and toasted.
  8. Serve by ladling into bowls and sprinkling over the crispy kale, bacon and hazelnuts.
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