leek soup with crusty bread in a bowl leek soup with crusty bread in a bowl Leeks make a fabulous meal when blended into soups, salads, pastas and more. (Photo: Ekaterina Kondratova / Shutterstock)

The many ways to cook with leeks

These veggies are tops in taste, versatility and ease of cooking. That's precisely why we love cooking with them.

Leeks. What are they good for? A whole lot, as it turns out. From frittatas to pastas to salads to fritters, there's a place for leeks in almost every meal and every cuisine.

Yet some of us aren't quite clear on what they are. Despite an onion-like taste, leeks are not a type of onion; they're called alliums, which is the same family that counts garlic, shallots and scallions as members. Onions, you might say, are a close cousin.

fresh leeks sliced on a wooden tableWhen you slice into a leek, you'll notice how many layers it has. (Photo: Vitylia/Shutterstock)

Another misconception about leeks is that they're stalks. The edible part of the plant is actually a bundle of leaf sheaths packed tightly together, so while they look like celery, they're actually lots of thin fibers.

And those fibers turn out mighty tasty when cooked. Here are six ways to cook with this versatile vegetable from our Israeli Kitchen, plus one more for good measure.

Leek and mushroom frittata

leek mushroom frittataThis frittata is the way to eat breakfast. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

For Sunday brunch or any morning where coffee and cereal just won't cut it, a light, fresh frittata is the way to go. This one's packed with leeks and mushrooms for an earthy, wholesome flavor. Get our recipe here.

Spinach turnovers with leek sauce

spinach turnovers with leek sauceThese spinach turnovers are perfect right out of the oven. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

It's not always easy to make creamy meals without using dairy, but when the occasion (or diet) calls for it, this dish is an excellent option. Thick, rich coconut milk is a perfect base for the sauce and a wonderful complement to the crusty, flaky turnovers with a robust spinach filling. Get our recipe here.

Braised apples and leeks

apple and leek saladThis is way better than your average dinner salad. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

You might not have thought about putting these two foods together, but Jerry James Stone did – twice, actually. He tells us how to braise apples and leeks together in a flavorful side dish here. And he turns it into a salad here.

Kale, leek and feta patties

kale leek pattiesThese patties offer another way to enjoy kale. (Photo: Sarah Berkowitz)

Despite being a nutritional powerhouse, kale doesn't always get the love it deserves. OK, maybe we'd all rather eat donuts than leafy greens, even the leafiest of them all. But with this recipe, the kale and leeks merge quite nicely with a little olive oil and light frying into a patty. They're great for entertaining, as recipe author Sarah Berkowitz recently discovered. Get her recipe here.

Pasta with leek sauce

pasta with creamy leek sauceLeeks make a delicious sauce for pasta. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

Eating more veggies is easy breezy with this simple and tasty pasta sauce that makes leeks the perfect centerpiece for sauce. The leeks bring a fresh and bright zing to the traditional heavy cream sauce. Your favorite spring pasta dish has arrived. Get Stone's recipe here.

Lemon leek pasta

lemon leek pastaPasta dishes don't have to be heavy and fattening. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

And if you're not into creamy sauces, or you're simply trying to eat more plant-based foods, you can just cook pasta and leeks together as in this charming medley. You can add all kinds of veggies to this recipe – including mushrooms, red bell peppers and snow peas, and give it more pizzazz – or keep it simple with just the leeks and lemons. Either way it’ll be delicious, and will definitely satisfy that carb craving. Get our recipe here.

Creamy leek soup

fresh creamy leek soup in a bowl on a wooden table.What's the best garnish for leek soup? Leeks, of course! (Photo: HandmadePictures)

This version of creamy leek soup by Epicurious food editor Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez promises to be "velvety but not at all heavy; dolloped with cool, billowy cream." Didn't know leeks could do that, did ya?


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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Recipes

The many ways to cook with leeks
Learn the many ways to use leeks in your cooking, from pasta sauces and salads to frittatas and fritters.