VegBox Recipes

Leeks

Leeks Leeks are in season over the winter and provide a useful source of fresh vitamins and nutrients when we don't have any salad vegetables. They provide the same health benefits as onion and garlic, such as boosting your immune system and even lowering cholesterol, but you need to eat more leeks to get the same effect.

In Season?
Leeks are at their best in the UK from September through to March / April time.
Buy?
When the leaves look firm, green / white and crisp, rather than wrinkled. The leaves of a fresh leek should "snap" if you break one.
Store?
Keep in the fridge or a cool, dark place for 4-5 days.
Freeze?
Prepare as usual and then blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well. Freeze in pots or bags and use in soups or casseroles.
Cook?
Wash well to remove all mude and grit. Use in soups or casseroles. Or you can chop them and saute them in butter for 5 minutes, or steam (5-6 minutes).

More Leeks Information

Leeks are a member of the onion family.

It was originally favoured by the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who brought it to mainland Europe.

Leeks are in season over the winter and provide a useful source of fresh vitamins and nutrients when we don't have any salad vegetables.

Choose leeks that are white and green, with no yellowing, as these are already old.

Avoid leeks that are over 1 1/2 inches in diameter, as these will be tougher and stringier than smaller leeks (still fine for soups).

What To Do With Leeks

  1. Trim the root and any tough-looking dark green leaves.


  2. Cut the leek in half, lengthways.


  3. "Fan" the leek under running water, separating out the leaves to wash out the grit and mud


  4. Then slice the leek into chunks. Dry well.


  5. Leeks are great:
  6. in soups
  7. sauted in butter as a side dish (5 mins, stir often
  8. steamed (5-6 minutes)
  9. roasted (190C Gas mark 5 for about 1/2 hour, rubbing with a little olive oil first helps prevent burning)


Little Known Leeks Facts

  • You get the white stem on a leek by "earthing up" - covering the stem with soil regularly during the growth period, to stop the sun turning the stalk green.


  • That's why leeks are so muddy and have to be washed properly (see "what to do with") unless you fancy losing a filling!


Suggested Leek Recipes

Balsamic Salad of Roasted Leek and Peppers

Here is a gorgeous recipe from the Leek Growers Association.

This is a warm salad of chunky rounds of leek and pepper, oven roasted with thyme and oregano in a white balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and finished off with a liberal sprinkling of pine nuts, leaves of rocket and parmesan shavings.

Serve as a light lunch accompanied by some foccacia bread or as a first course.

Serves 4 Prep 15 minutes Cook 30 mins

Chicken Carrot and Pearl Barley Soup

This recipe came to us from our friends at British Carrots to accompany our feature on ethical meat consumption.

They say:

"The next time you’re having a roast chicken, this soup is the ideal thing for the next day. Use the chicken bones to make delicious fresh chicken stock, the last bits of chicken meat and any leftover vegetables like potatoes or peas - all can be stirred in. Pearl barley thickens the soup and makes it really hearty too. It’s a delicious, warming soup for any time of year."

Creamy Peas And Leeks

This is a super-easy recipe that brings out the delicious sweetness of late summer peas and leeks.
It takes less than 20 minutes and makes a great jacket potato filling or even an omelette topping!

Hallowe'en Soup

This recipe for Hallowe'en Soup is on test - but still available for you to try. Why not give it a go?

Jerusalem Artichoke & Vegetable Soup

This recipe has been provided by Moelyci. They operate a box scheme in Gwynedd.

Leek And Brie Tart

This tart is a delicious combination of the sweetness of leeks and the creaminess of Brie. It's great with cranberry sauce.

Leek and Butterbean Bake

This delicious leek recipe makes the most of the sweetness of leeks, with the creaminess of the butterbeans. The Parmesan crust gives it a delicious crunch - and the herbs smell fantastic as it's cooking.

Leek And Butterbean Soup

This is a delicious, filling soup for autumn and winter evenings. It's worth making extra to freeze - or so hungry eaters can come back for more. And there's a secret ingredient, to give it an extra zing!

Leek And Potato Soup

Leek and potato soup has to be a winter classic. And if you're not too bothered about calories, a splash of cream transforms the flavour.

Leek And Red Onion Canneloni

This delicious autumn recipe uses in-season leeks and red onions, to make a change from the usual spinach and ricotta canneloni.

Monastery Soup

There are many variations on monastery soup but here is one that works well with spring and summertime vegetables.

Roasted Leeks

Leeks are a great winter vegetable because they have a long season and actually taste better (sweeter) after the first frosts. Fresh, young leeks are small enough to roast whole. Larger, later-season leeks should be sliced first. This recipe is creamy and easy.

Root Veg And Bean Stew

This ragout (stew) is great because, after the initial cooking, you just bung it in the oven and get on with something else.

Although the recipe suggests using parsnip and kohlrabi, you can use it to finish off almost any leftover vegetables at the end of the week.

It's great with jacket spuds or brown rice.

Three Bean Summer Soup

This is a delicious summer soup. Lighter than those of winter, it makes the most of the new season’s vegetables, whilst still filling you up and being wonderfully warming. You can use haricot beans or butter beans for this recipe, depending which you prefer. The main thing is to stick to what’s in season with the vegetables. That way they’ll be packed with flavour – and good for you too!

Welsh Leek and Goats’ Cheese Rarebit

Here is a gorgeous recipe from the Leek Growers Association.

A variation on the classic recipe brings this traditional favourite bang up to date. Welsh goats’ cheese comes in a variety of guises. Choose a mild, creamy one without a crust so it will easily melt into the sauce.

Makes : 4 servings Preparation Time : 20 minutes Cooking Time : 10 minutes Oven Temperature : Medium hot grill

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a traditional, chunky soup, served with soup pasta. We often think of it as a summer dish, but with a little lateral thinking, you can create a soup that brightens up any winter’s day.

Got one? Send us your recipe!

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