This post may contain affiliate links.
Spring Leek Soup is the perfect way to celebrate the tender leeks of spring! Think of this soup as the delicate cousin of French Onion Soup. Both soups are topped with an oversized, melted cheese covered crouton, but instead of the deep, dark broth of French Onion soup, this leek soup has a light buttery broth and is prepared in a fraction of the time - 20 minutes from start to finish.
It's curious but true that my food cravings follow the seasons. In the fall and winter, my hunger drifts to the deep, rich flavors of braised meats, roasted root vegetables, and long simmered soups and sauces. But when the crocus and daffodil show their pretty faces, it's light, delicate flavors that I want.
It was two years ago that I scratched down ‘Spring Onion Soup with Gruyere’ in the notebook I keep of recipe ideas. The thought to make it with leeks instead of onions finally moved me to act. (I love leeks in soup! Like this Potato Leek Soup.) Soft, buttery leeks, a delicate broth, tangy-sweet Meyer lemon, crispy toasts and melted Gruyere – who could resist? It makes me wonder what other little gems are sitting there, scrawled on a page, waiting.
When you brown short ribs before braising, or caramelize onions for French Onion Soup, it's an exercise in patience. This soup is just the opposite.
To keep the flavors light and fresh, you'll want to keep the leeks moving in the pan - soften them, but don't let them brown. And once you add the broth, you'll bring it to a boil, just for a moment, to marry the flavors and that's it.
More Must Make Spring Recipes
Spring Leek Soup with Gruyere Toasts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large leeks white and light green parts, sliced in half lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced crosswise
- pinch fine sea salt
- 4 cups chicken stock
- pinch ground white pepper
- ½ Meyer Lemon juice and zest
- 4, ½- inch slices crusty bread toasted (I used whole wheat levain)
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 green onion thinly sliced (for garnish)
- Preheat broiler.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add leeks and a pinch of sea salt, to help sweat out the liquid. Cook and stir until leeks are tender but not brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add stock and white pepper, bring to boil. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Ladle soup into 4 broiler-safe serving bowls. Place one slice of toasted bread over each serving, pressing it down to submerge. Divide cheese evenly, sprinkling it over each toast.
- Place bowls under broiler and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- If desired, garnish each serving with green onion. Serve.
Delicious! Made this tonight, so light and easy! Definitely will make again!
Marissa Stevens says
That's wonderful, Judy! Thank you so much for coming back to let me know!
How would substituting Vegetable stock for the Chicken stock for us vegetarians work on this soup?
I think that would work great, Sara!
Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says
Oh my goodness, yeeesssss!!! I am such an onion fan anytime people ask me my favorite food, I have to hold myself back from saying onion, lol (they'll think I'm a weirdo!), but it really is true. I love that the flavor of this soup is light and fresh instead of deeper and caramelized. Sounds so perfect for spring!
haha, I love it! I've heard of some people who eat raw onions like apples - I won't go that far, but I love them too. Thanks, my friend. Have a wonderful weekend!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
I totally know what you mean about eating seasonal....funny thing, isn't it? Though, I'm always in the mood for any soup topped with cheese, lol! This one looks fabulous and love that it comes together so quickly. I bet it tastes delicious 🙂
Good point, Dawn! It's ALWAYS the right season for cheese! 😉
David | Spiced says
You know, I am the exact same way when it comes to seasonal flavors! In the winter, I want warming comfort food, and in the summer I want seasonal picnic (also comforting) food. This soup sounds perfect for the spring and the warmer temps that are a'comin'. Also, those gruyere toasts are right up my alley...what a fun idea!! 🙂
Thanks, David! It's been quite a winter here in Bend - so I'm so glad that warmer temps are a'comin'! 😉
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Ooh you'e so right calling this the spring soup. That heavy French onion soup is perfect for the depths of winter but this is great for Spring! 😀
Yes! I love having versions of my favorite recipes that work for different seasons...
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I (along with every sane person) absolutely LOVE french onion soup, so this leek twist is seriously calling my name!! I love that you used meyer lemon in here and the gruyere topped toast is just divine! I could use a bowl, or 3 of this right about now! Cheers, friend!
I'll gladly make you a bowl or 3, Cheyanne! xo
How weird this it getting to be...
So I decided I wanted soup tonight and came to Pinch and Swirl to look back over recipes of days gone by. Lo and Behold one of all time favorites it up again - second time around! No search required - Even my old comment. So strange!
Albeit now, I am on a Meyers Lemon hunt.
I am wondering if I could substitute Lillet... Hmmmm Citrus with a sweet finish.
Oh, that would be interesting, Tom! Yes, I've been going back through some of my favorite recipes, sprucing them off and adding little tweaks that I've learned since I originally posted them. I suppose it's meant to be that you make this soup again!! 🙂 If you end up using Lillet, let me know how it goes.
The Lillet worked great. I used about 1/4 cup of the aperitif to sub for the Meyers lemon juice.
Of course I followed Graham Kerr's advice and had a glass for myself.
I did use little lemon zest as directed.
Thanks for digging through the old recipe box.
haha, my pleasure! 🙂 I'll try your Lillet twist on this the next time I make it.
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Marissa! this looks delicious. We grow leeks in our garden and will I surely make this! I make a mussel dish with white wine and leeks and sometimes add Andouille sausage.
That sounds so good! We just had a mixed seafood paella for lunch today, so you're speaking my language. 🙂
Well I made the recipe tonight and it was WONDERFUL. I must admit as a carnivore I did add a small amount of Prosciutto de Parma. I did not have a Meyers lemon and when the soup was very warm it was a little tart with Sunkist's best, but as it cooled the lemon blended as it should.
Janet had given me some Gucci French sea salt that was aged in White Burgundy Barrels (Chardonnay) and I swear you could taste it. I just wanted to eat spoons of the salt.
This one will be made again - thanks for reviewing your notes.
Colo aka TomB
Tom! How wonderful to hear from you. I would love to try your version...