AHHHH Leeks

 They offer such a beautiful, subtle, sweet, and oniony flavor to so many wonderful dishes. 

Unfortunately, leeks are another vegetable that is often overlooked because people are unsure of how to pick, prepare, and eat them.

Let's see if we can change that today!

Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

A fond memory, from my last trip to visit family in England, is my aunt's homemade fresh leek and potato soup she served prior to a scrumptious lamb dinner.

The flavor of the soup was incredible and I’ve tried to recreate it many times but, have failed miserably. I guess I'll just have to keep trying or book another trip!

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Leeks have so much to offer and are used in a variety of ways.

You can enjoy them raw, cooked, in quiches, soups, stews, stocks, sauces, and salads.

Many chefs serve them sautéed, grilled, roasted, braised, mashed, as a side dish, and more!

The scariest part about preparing leeks is feeling confident that all of the sand and grit is removed from in between the leaves.

NO WORRIES, when you’re ready to take the plunge, the button below links you to a fantastic video of how to prepare “grit free” leeks for any dish. 

I believe wholeheartedly, that the end result of a delicious meal packed with amazing health benefits, makes the effort of learning how to incorporate this functional food into your eating regimen well worth your time.

Chopped Leek

Chopped Leek

Flower on a leek plant

Flower on a leek plant

Leeks (allium porrum) are part of the allium family that also includes scallions, garlic, onions, and shallots. 

Allium vegetables are known for having flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutritional properties that are extremely beneficial for all of us.

The bulb and the lower part of the leaves contain the flavonoid kaempferol that protects the blood vessels by producing nitric oxide.

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Every inch of the leek promotes a healthy heart because the active form of folate is available from beginning to end.

Like garlic and onions, leeks protect the body from oxidative damage to cells because they have a very high level of polyphenol antioxidants.

Leek Quiche

Leek Quiche

Leeks are a very good source of vitamin K, which is great for blood clotting, bone strength, and overall heart health.

Leeks provide a decent amount of the amazing antioxidant (inflammation fighter) vitamin A, which is also great for the eyes, skin, and neurological system.

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A quarter cup of leeks is only 8 calories and, besides vitamins A & K, it also gives you a bit of copper, manganese, magnesium, vitamins C & B6, as well as iron.

Vegetables and fruits in the allium family, such as leek, offer protection from stomach cancer with the compounds quercetin and allyl sulfide.

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Leeks and its cousins are considered “sulfur-rich.”

Sulfur is a major mineral in every cell within the body and is involved in the following:

  1. Keeping the hair, skin, nails, cartilage and immune system strong

  2. Helping fight heart disease by lowering cholesterol and thinning the blood

  3. Maintaining a healthy function of the central nervous system with the production of the amino acid taurine.

Leek and Veggie Quiche

Leek and Veggie Quiche

Now, you will not say "eek" when you're looking at purchasing and consuming a leek! 

Enjoy!

 

Resources:

Eating Well – Squash and Leek Lasagna: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249284/squash-leek-lasagna/

Food.com – Braised Leeks: http://www.food.com/recipe/braised-leeks-178790

Fruits & Veggies More Matters – Pasta with Spinach and Smoked Sausage: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/recipe/?iRID=630

Huffington Post – Leek Recipes We Love That Aren’t Just Potato Leek Soup: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/leek-recipes-soup_n_2861355.html

Martha Stewart – Potato Leek Soup: http://www.marthastewart.com/332290/potato-leek-soup

The World’s Healthiest Foods – Sautéed Greens: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=93   and Braised Salmon with Leeks: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=88

Woman’s Day – Ricotta, Pea, and Leek Quiche: http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/food-drinks/recipes/a53997/ricotta-pea-and-leek-quiche-recipe/

 

 

 

 

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