In a heavy bottom soup pot or Dutch oven, saute the leeks in the olive oil for about 3 - 4 minutes until soft, stirring regularly so they don't burn. *You can add a little water to the pan if it becomes too dry and the leeks are sticking.*
Add the minced shallot, and saute together for about 30 seconds.
Then add the minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
Add the 6 cups of vegetable broth.
Then add the thyme, bay leaves and salt.
To this mixture, add the cubed potatoes and stir together.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium and cook together until the potatoes are fork tender but not totally falling apart.
At this point, if you want potato chunks in your soup, scoop out about 1 and 1/2 potatoes worth of cubes and set aside. Remove the bay leaves.
With a hand-held immersion blender, *CAREFULLY*, because it's very hot, blend the soup that's left in the pot to a creamy consistency, then add the potato cubes that you took out and set aside and add them back into the pot with the blended soup.
Adjust your seasonings - salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the optional nutritional yeast.
Garnish each portion with fresh chopped parsley and fresh chopped green onions (scallions).
**Optional garnish** - oven roasted cherry tomatoes for added color and flavor - "how to" link is in blog post.