Slice the leeks then rinse them well in a colander with cold water.
Preheat a heavy bottom stock pot over medium flame and add a splash of water and the cleaned leeks with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for a few minutes until they have collapsed and begin to caramelize. (add more liquid if needed to make sure they don’t burn).
Meanwhile rinse the squash, discard the seeds and cut it into one inch pieces. Add it to the pot with the leeks together with the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Give everything a good stir and add the minced garlic and garlic powder. Stir again and pour in the veggie stock.
Bring the soup to a simmer then add the vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast) and cook for about 25 minutes until the squash is cooked through.
Add the cooked beans to the soup and simmer until warm. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste and adjust seasonings with sea salt and black pepper to your taste.
Transfer two cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Add the puree back into the soup pot and mix to combine.
Rinse the kale well and remove the stems. Chop it into small pieces and add it to the soup. Cook a couple of minutes until wilted. Serve hot with a pinch of the red pepper flakes and lemon wedges on the side.
Slow Cooker Method:
Combine all of the soup ingredients in a slow cooker except the kale. Cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours, or on LOW 7 to 8 hours.
Add the kale in the last 15 to minutes of cooking. Serve hot with extra nutritional yeast on the side.
Nowadays I make most recipes oil-free and WFPB compliant. If you insist of adding some olive oil to this soup just add it at the very end before serving.
Only use the liquid smoke if you want to give your soup a smoky flavor. Start with very little and work your way up as it can be overpowering.