Straightforward Leek Recipes That Anyone Can Make

Whether you have one leek to cook or many, there will be a collection of leek recipes to suit.

Check out our top vegetarian recipes

  • Classic Creamy Pasta Primavera with Leek, Peas and Chive Gremolata: This vegetarian leek recipe is a healthy option for any vegetarian looking for a filling and nutritious meal. It only takes 25 minutes, so it is a good option when you’re in a hurry.
  • Leek Soup: Another dish that takes minutes to prepare, leek soup is an ideal way of using up leeks you’ve already prepared as a side dish but not used. Simply finely chop your leeks or use a food blender to liquidise them and add them to stock. Include any other starchy ingredients you have spare, such as potatoes or a little plain flour, to thicken your soup.
  • Braised Leek and Carrot in Spicy Thai Sauce: A tasty and spicy leek recipe that is worth trying out. The leek in this recipe is allowed to really shine, by being braised in a rich sauce along with tender baby carrots.
  • Vegetarian Leek Pie: Leeks make for very good pie fillings alongside other vegetables, such as diced turnips, potatoes or peas. Cook your pie filling first, then add your ingredients into a blind-baked pie with vegetable stock before finishing off the pastry in the oven until it is golden and crispy.

How to Cook Leeks Properly - Your Step-by-Step Guide

There are several ways to cook leeks, including baking and boiling, but they often taste best once sautéed or lightly fried. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Clean Your Leeks: Begin by preparing your leeks by washing off any mud that may still be attached. Although the outside of leeks may look clean, dirt can get trapped in between the leaves that make up the stem. Run the leeks under the tap and allow them to dry out, or soak your leeks in clean water for a few minutes and pat them down with a kitchen towel so you can move on to the next stage without them being too slippery.
  2. Chop Your Leeks: When you know how to cut a leek properly, you will realise you can either slice them lengthways or form circles by cutting at regular intervals along their length. As long as you remove the bottom section where the roots form, either way is fine. Note that leeks are less dense toward their upper end, so they can fall apart after chopping the greener sections. This is quite normal, so increase the width of your cuts as you work from the bottom to the top so that each section of leek is about the same size.
  3. Heat Some Oil in a Pan: To boil leeks, add them to a simmering pan for ten minutes, but to sautee them instead, add some oil or butter to a frying pan and allow it to heat up. Next, carefully add the leeks. If they’re still wet, you may get some sizzling, so place them in gently using tongs. Reduce the heat and move the leeks around in the pan so that they fry on all sides.
  4. Sautee Your Leeks: Your leeks will smell sweeter and turn slightly golden after a few minutes. Keep moving them in the pan for about five minutes until they’re cooked through.
  5. Serve Your Leeks: You can now take your leeks out of the pan and place them directly onto plates for serving or, alternatively, put them into a serving dish to place at your table. If you’ve been preparing leeks for another recipe that uses them, such as leek and potato soup, for example, you can allow your leeks to cool and store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Leek Recipe FAQs

What is the best way to eat leeks?

Leeks can be eaten raw. However, like onions, which are also part of the allium family, leeks have a strong flavour that sweetens with cooking. Therefore, it is best to eat leeks cooked, ideally roasted, fried or boiled.

What pairs well with leeks?

Because of their distinctive taste, leeks don’t go well with all other ingredients. That said, there are some tried and tested flavour combinations, such as potato and leek soup and ham and leek pie. Leeks work well with cheesy toppings, mushrooms and other ‘earthy’ flavours, such as split peas, for example.

Why do you soak leeks in water?

You don’t have to soak leeks in water but it is a good idea since these vegetables grow in the ground. Doing so loosens any earth that might be trapped within the vegetable. Running leeks under a tap for a few seconds is often just as good as soaking.

What is the best way to prepare a leek?

To prepare leeks for most recipes, you should wash them by soaking or running them under water and then straining. Next, trim the white roots but leave the sweetest white part of the lower leek in place. Then, simply chop them into coin shapes like carrots or cut them lengthways, as preferred. They’re now ready for cooking.

How long does it take to cook leeks?

If you’re frying your leeks in a little oil or butter, then about five minutes is sufficient. To roast them, pre-heat your oven and allow them to cook for around 20 minutes. Boiling them takes minutes, as does air-frying them.

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