Leeks Are So Full of Gut-Friendly Fiber, They Can Actually Lower Your Cholesterol—Here Are 8 Easy Ways To Cook Them Up

Photo: Daisybeet
Spring, summer, and autumn all boast their own impressive lists of in-season produce, but winter is thought of as a bit more barren. While it's true that there's less blossoming during the colder months of the year, there's still plenty of nutrient-rich produce ripe for the picking. (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and collard greens are a few you can stock up on.)

One delicious veg that's in peak season right now is leeks, an allium vegetable in the same family as onions, garlic, and chives. If their guest appearance on Emily In Paris isn't enough to inspire you to start cooking with them, their nutritional profile just might win you over. Recently, gut health nutritionist Amanda Sauceda, RD, shared on Instagram why leeks are a digestion-supporting all-star.

Experts In This Article

"Leeks are a source of soluble fiber which is the type of fiber that helps with easy pooping, feeds your gut bacteria, as well as helping reduce your cholesterol," Sauceda says. Quite the draw, right? "Soluble fiber gets its name because it attracts water kind of like a sponge and it gets fermented by gut bacteria," Sauceda explains. "Insoluble fiber, the other type we have, doesn’t attract water or get fermented by gut bacteria. Insoluble fiber adds weight and bulk to stool. Think of it like a broom helping clean up the digestive tract." Both types of fiber are important; they just have different jobs.

Belonging to the allicin family, Sauceda says that leeks also have many of the same benefits as onions, scallions, chives, and garlic. "Allicin is a plant compound that has been researched as an antimicrobial, for anti-cancer effects, and is also being looked at for its potential with helping heart health," she says.

When it comes to actually figuring out what the heck to make with leeks, Sauceda says there are a lot of yummy ways to cook them up. "Using leeks in a soup or snacking on them as chips can be yummy ways to eat a bunch," she says, adding that she also likes to add them to vegetable stock. "[When you're cooking leeks], make sure to wash the white parts of the leeks really well," she says. "The way they grow in the ground dirt and debris can get stuck in between the layers. Swish it around in water after you’ve cut it to clean it all away."

Inspired to get cooking? Rounded up here are 8 leek recipes. Keep reading to check them out and get ready to reap all their gut-supporting benefits.

leeks nutrition recipes
Photo: The Spruce Eats

1. Buttered leeks

If it's your first time cooking with leeks, this is the perfect recipe to start with. All you need besides your leeks is butter and sea salt. You can also use it as a base recipe, incorporating in your favorite spices.

Get the recipe: buttered leeks 

leeks nutrition soup
Photo: Vegan Huggs

2. Vegan potato leek soup

Leek and potato soup is a classic for a reason—it's downright delicious. Normally, it's made with heavy cream, but in this vegan version, coconut milk is used instead. You get the same uber creamy end result you're after.

Get the recipe: vegan potato leek soup

leeks nutrition stew
Photo: Gourmandelle

3. Leek stew with black olives and wine

This stew is a little more unexpected than other leek recipes and is full of nutrient-rich ingredients (and, hey, wine). Dill, tomato paste, and onion all add layers of flavor that complement the slightly sweet taste of the leeks perfectly.

Get the recipe: leek stew with black olives and wine

leek fritata
Photo: Daisybeet

4. Asparagus and leek frittata with goat cheese

Not only is this brunch dish full of fiber, it's a great source of protein, too. You know how sometimes after a big breakfast you feel like heading straight back to bed? That's not going to happen with this dish. Instead, you'll be fired up for your day.

Get the recipe: asparagus and leek frittata with goat cheese

leek recipes stuffed sweet potato
Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

5. Wild mushroom and leek stuffed sweet potatoes

This recipe makes delicious use of a trifecta of winter produce: sweet potatoes, leeks, and wild mushrooms. Topping it off is an easy homemade sweet potato aioli, made with vegan mayo, garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and salt.

Get the recipe: wild mushroom and leek stuffed sweet potatoes 

leek recipes risotto
Photo: Minimalist Baker

6. Mushroom and leek risotto

Another tasty way to serve up a leek-and-mushroom pairing is with a stick-to-your-bones nourishing risotto. This recipe calls for vegan Parmesan and vegan butter keeping it entirely plant-based.

Get the recipe: mushroom and leek risotto

leek gratin
Photo: Every Late Bite

7. Caramelized leek, fennel, and onion gratin

It's a whole allicin family affair! Leeks, fennel, and onion are all incorporated into this creamy, one-pan gratin. This recipe is also vegan and chock full of anti-inflammatory spices for a ton of flavor.

Get the recipe: caramelized leek, fennel, and onion gratin

chicken and leek pie
Photo: Hungry Healthy Happy

8. Chicken and leek pie

If you love chicken pot pie, this dinner is right up your alley. The leeks give an underlying hint of sweetness that's unexpected, yet delicious. Topping it all off is a layer of cheesy mashed potatoes, something else you definitely don't get with a traditional chicken pot pie.

Get the recipe: chicken and leek pie

Get more healthy recipe ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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