By Ashley Bode | November 9, 2011

Photo: michelle@TNS

By: Ashley Bode

It’s easy to get carried away during the fall with hearty root vegetable-based foods. There is something familiar and comfortable about their starchy texture and rustic flavors. It is, however, important to remember to pick your veggies just as wisely as you would choose your protein.

Choosing hormone-free and pasture finished proteins is becoming an ever-more popular practice. Because these products are more expensive it would be fair to assume that most conscious consumers would be buying meat less frequently. The same may not be said for organic vegetables. It’s hard to avoid buying essentials and let’s be honest, organics are expensive, putting the average person in a bind when trying to be mindful. Why not make a list of the food that are most important to buy when choosing organics? There are tons of lists on the internet through various different sources with plenty of research to back their findings. I have my own list that I have made with my own research and common sense.

Think about it from this standpoint; there are certain foods that are more exposed to pesticides and harmful chemicals than others. Root vegetables are grown based on the science of osmosis, absorbing all the nutrients, vitamins and water needed through the soil they are planted in. If this soil is contaminated with harmful substances you can bet that those roots are absorbing the bad with the good. Herbs and leafy vegetables above ground are sprayed directly with pesticides and become coated with toxins.

With these two ideas in mind, I have put root vegetables at the top of my list. Onions, potatoes, garlic and carrots I only buy organically. These products also tend to be less expensive, so the mark-up for organic is not that high. Leafy greens and fruits come in a close second. Organic herbs, spinach, apples, pears and berries are a must on my grocery list.

Here’s a recipe for Potato and Leek Soup that utilizes both the bounty of fall vegetables and inexpensive organics. Careful with those leeks, they can make your eyes burn just as much as an onion.

Organic Potato and Leek Recipe

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of organic garlic
3 large organic leeks, chopped
1 cup of dry white wine
5 pounds organic russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup minced fresh chives or green onion tops
2 tablespoons minced fresh organic basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh organic dill
Hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
Chopped fresh chives or green onion tops


  1. In a large stock pot, heat butter over medium heat. Sautee garlic and leeks until soft. Add in the white wine and reduce slightly.
  2. Add in the potatoes, chicken broth, water, cream, chives, basil and dill. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are very tender and soup thickens slightly, about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer 2 cups of soup to blender and puree. Return puree to pot. Season with salt, white pepper and hot pepper sauce. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing.)
  5. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.

To read Ashley’s original post, click here.

Photo: michelle@TNS

For more of Ashley’s tips and recipes, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)


You Might Also Like:

Featured Recipe

More Recipes

Meet the Team

About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Marc Burger