Foods by Color: Leeks


I didn’t even know what a leek was until a few years ago but now I adore the lesser known cousin of onion and garlic.  Leeks taste great in soups, pastas, quiches and more. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly before you add them to your dishes though, I made the mistake of just quickly rinsing them once and the sandy texture that resulted was pretty unfortunate.

Health Benefits

Not only are leeks, which taste like a sweet version of onions, delicious, but they are also packed with nutrients.The active substances in leeks help protect against cancer, particularly allyl sulfides, which block the action of hormones or chemical pathways within the body that promote cancer.  Eating allium vegetables (leeks, garlic, onion, shallots) regularly are associated with a reduced risk of prostate and colon cancer. The sulfides in the allium family also decrease the tendency for blood clots to form, lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, and lower high blood pressure.  I normally just use the white bulb in cooking, but the tiny rootlets are mineral-dense and edible after you soak, rinse, mince and sauté.  Leeks contain two important carotenoid that aid in eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are currently being researched for their ability to prevent macular degeneration.  Leeks also contain fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A.

Selection and Storage

Leeks are available all year but their peak season is September through April.  When selecting leeks look for a clean, white slender bulb with two to three inches of white and tightly rolled dark green tops.  Slim, cylinder ones are younger than large bulbous ones and will have more delicate flavor and texture.  If the leek is limp at all then skip it.  When storing leeks lightly wrap the un-rinsed leeks in plastic wrap in your vegetable drawer of your refrigerator to contain their odor and moisture.  Leeks can be stored between five days and two weeks depending on how fresh they were when you purchased them.

Lemon Recipe Round-Up

14 delicious leek recipes

portobello and leek carbonaraPortobello and Leek Carbonara from How Sweet Eats

velvety cream of potato leek soupVelvety Cream of Potato Leek Soup from Salted Lemons

leek frittataLeek Frittata from Cookie and Kate via With Style and Grace

butternut squash leek and brie galetteButternut Squash, Leek and Brie Galette from Strawberry Plum

{Featured in Top 10 Savory Galettes}

greek macaroni with roast garlicGreek Macaroni with Roasted Garlic from Adventures in Cooking

{Featured in the Summer 2013 Week 8 Meal Plan}

potato leek and corn chowderPotato, Leek and Corn Chowder from My Recipes

{Featured in the Fall 2012 Week 1 Meal Plan}

asparagus and leek spring quicheAsparagus and Leek Spring Quiche from How Does She

gruyere crusted leeks and appleGruyere Crusted Leeks and Apple from Cheryl Sternman Rule via Oprah

apple leek and butternt squash gratinApple, Leek and Butternut Squash Gratin from Whole Living

{Featured in the Fall 2013 Week 2 Meal Plan}

chicken leek pancake bakeChicken, Leek and Mushroom Pancake Bake from Drizzle and Dip

leek chard and corn flatbreadLeek, Chard and Corn Flatbread from Smitten Kitchen

cheesy leek french breadCheesy Leek French Bread from A Nutritionist Eats

cheesy leek risottoCheesy Leek Risotto from Simply Delicious

bacon leek pastaFettuccine with Goat Cheese, Leeks and Bacon from Not Without Salt

{featured in the Spring 2013 Week 10 Meal Plan}

Eat More Leeks!

{Sources: 150 Healthiesst Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden Photo Source: Russel Kipnis on Etsy}

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  1. Thanks for including my leek recipe! I also LOVE leeks.

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