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Kitchen Test: Potato-Leek Soup with Nova Lox
Nova-style, cold-smoked sockeye salmon elevates a chill weather staple from simple to wow


Welcome to Vital Choice at Home!

This series features me, Michelle — a writer and soccer mom from the Rocky Mountains — my husband and two kids, some beautiful Vital Choice seafood and lots of regular home cooking.

(Click here to learn more about me, below.)

I want to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.


“This is the best use of nova lox I've ever tasted,” said my husband, a man who is ambivalent about smoked salmon, but who has been converted due to the incredibly mild flavor of Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Nova Lox.

It's finally looking and feeling like fall here in the Colorado Rockies, which means it's my favorite time of the year — soup season!

Recipes for potato, leek and fennel soup abound, and for good reason. They make great use of the pantry produce that's easy to find as the days grow colder.

However, potato soup is generally too one-note for my taste, too heavy and, frankly, too boring. It needs something bright and dynamic to elevate it. Nova lox to the rescue!

By puréeing the soup and garnishing it with beautiful, colorful, flavorful sockeye salmon nova lox, this soup goes instantly from comfort food to company-worthy and incredible.

A few notes for the cook
This sockeye salmon lox is incredible and mild – because it's cold-smoked, it has a vibrant flavor, perfect texture (even after thawing overnight in the fridge) and is free of the artificial preservatives in some brands.

You only need to lightly season the soup with salt, because the smoked salmon garnish adds the perfect bit of savory enhancement.

I just received the gift of a nice blender, and this soup puréed to a perfect texture in just seconds. You can also use an immersion blender — either works well.

The cream and lemon juice are optional — the soup is very creamy once it's puréed, but the cream does add a nice bit of extra flavor on the cream one way or and richness. Feel free to omit or substitute Greek yogurt.

Lastly, as you can see in the photo, I chopped the nova lox into ½-inch pieces as garnish. However, the second time I served this, I more diced it at bit more finely — both were beautiful and both had pleasing texture in the smooth soup.

Potato Leek Soup with Nova Lox
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (save the fronds for garnish)
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream or Greek yogurt (optional)
4 ounces Vital Choice sockeye salmon nova lox, thawed and chopped or diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional) Fresh chives, chopped

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large, heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel, leeks, shallots and garlic and cook uncovered, stirring often, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the vegetables – if they begin to brown on the edges, lower the heat.
  2. Add the broth, potatoes, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Let the soup cool slightly, then remove the bay leaf and purée using a conventional blender or an immersion blender. (Take care when blending hot soup!)
  4. Return the soup to the pan and stir in heavy cream (you can skip this entirely or substitute Greek yogurt if you prefer). Do not return to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add lemon juice if you prefer – it adds a nice brightness – then garnish with chopped chives, chopped fennel fronds and 1 ounce of Vital Choice nova lox per serving.
Please note: if you reheat the soup as leftovers, be sure to keep it below a boil if you've added dairy of any kind.

My rating: 4 out of 4 stars


A Note from Michelle

Like you, I have a passion for beautiful-yet-healthy food that's easy to prepare.

While I do love making the occasional "fancy” dinner, most of the time I'm short on time and have a house full of hungry people who want to eat NOW.

I'm not a professional chef — just a busy mom who loves to cook and who's focused on that intersection of healthy and delicious.

I want this series to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.

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