Part of the Allium family, like onions and garlic, leeks offer some serious health benefits, from lowering bad cholesterol and raising good to helping prevent ovarian, colon and prostate cancers, to stabilizing blood sugar levels. Some of you may agree that they are a pain to clean, but we promise you it’s well worth the effort (source: Hellawella).
Nutritional value: Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these veggies. Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. Leeks are also a good source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. (Stalks contain minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium. Leafy stems contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin). (source: WHFoods).
Recipe: Drunken Leeks (Source: Greenearthinstitute)
- 6 to 8 small leeks, trimmed, washed
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Instructions: Melt the butter and cook the leeks and garlic for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add the red wine, a dash of salt, and mix well. Cover and cook for 15 more minutes or until leeks are tender. Place the leeks on a serving dish and reduce the liquid left in the pan for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and pepper to taste. Pour over the leeks and garnish with parsley.
Dough: Use your favorite pizza dough recipe OR change this to an appetizer and just buy a sourdough baguette
- 2 leeks; halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 c chardonnay (I used a cheap one — Charles Shaw)
- 1/2 tsp agave nectar (honey would be fine)
- approx 2 tblsp goat cheese
- approx 3 tblsp flat parsley; chopped (*arugula would be good, too)
- Get the dough ready. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
- While the oven is preheating, saute the leeks with the olive oil over high heat until they are soft, caramelized and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with salt. Add the chardonnay — the leeks should be just covered (not drowning) so you may have to adjust your measurement depending on your pan. Let braise over medium-high heat until the liquid has cooked out. Taste the leeks. Freak out about how good they taste. If the flavor is off, adjust with more salt or more chardonnay.
- When the oven is ready, cook your dough without toppings for about 5-7 minutes or until the bottom begins to brown and the dough is nearly cooked through. Spread the goat cheese all over the bread, getting some on the crust and evenly distributing it over every bite. Spread the leeks all over evenly. Cook until the edges of the crust start to brown and dough is cooked.
- Sprinkle with ample parsley (or arugula). Enjoy!
- Healthy sauté leeks and fennel. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.
- Add finely chopped leeks to salads.
- Make vichyssoise, a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.
- Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring.
- Braised leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.
- Add sliced leeks to your favorite omelet or frittata recipe.
Recipe: Leeks with Lemon Vinaigrette by Blue Kitchen.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock [or vegetable stock—see Kitchen Notes]
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Heat a sauté or frying pan large enough to hold leeks in a single layer over a medium flame. Add oil and butter and swirl together. Arrange leeks in pan, cut side down, and sauté, turning occasionally with tongs and spatula, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Handle leeks gently when turning to keep as intact as possible.
Add stock, water and 1 tablespoon parsley to pan. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover pan, cooking leeks until tender, about 10 minutes. Arrange leeks on a serving platter, cut side up. Add lemon juice and mustard to pan, whisking to combine. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper [use a light hand with the salt and taste before seasoning—your stock will provide some salt]. Pour vinaigrette over leeks and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve immediately.