Take a look at a leek and you may notice something familiar. Its tall, strong stalks resemble its petite cousin, the scallion. Leeks are related to a long line of vegetables, including garlic, onions, shallots and scallions. The similarities between the plants, however, end upon first taste. The leek has a far more subtle, sweet flavor than its pungent family members.
The slightly sweet leek is a tasty way to improve your health. This yummy plant holds a wide array of nutrients, including manganese, vitamin C, B6, iron, and folate. Regular consumption leads to lower LDL cholesterol levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels, thus lowering your risk of heart disease. Leeks are also high in fiber -which aids in the regulation of the digestive tract and protects against colon cancer- and contain antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting the body from many harmful invaders.
When preparing leeks, be sure to slice the light green and white stalk lengthwise down the center. Remember to rinse in between the layers, as soil tends to be caught in between.
Lucky for us, leeks are an easy, appetizing addition to many meals. They’re a classic ingredient in soups, like in our Tomato Leek Provencal or try them tossed with fettuccine in this week’s Miso Morel Pasta with Peas. This versatile plant can also be added to risottos, pasta sauces, and quiches for a delicious, mild flavor!