The secret to cutting a LEEK is about to be LEAKED! Learning how to clean and cut leeks will open up so many delicious recipes to make! Leeks have a mild onion-taste that’s sweet and subtle while adding a fun pop of bright green.
A leek can be cut into little half-moons or in thin strips! Leeks are tasty both raw and cooked (sautéed and roasted), making for the perfect addition in salads, soups, ramen, pasta, puff pastries and more!
My absolute favorite leek recipes include Ham & Leek Quiche, Lobster & Leek Puff Pastry, and Easy Roasted Carrots & Leeks!
Table of Contents
Easily navigate to different sections of this post!
- What are leeks?
- What do leeks taste like?
- What part of the leek do you eat?
- Substitute for leeks
- How to cut leeks
- How to clean leeks
- How to store leeks
- How to cook leeks
- What to make with leeks
- Step-by-step instructions & video tutorial on how to cut leeks!
What Are Leeks?
A leek is a vegetable and a member of the Allium family like onions! They are tall and long in shape with dark green tops, light green middles, and white root ends. Leeks are most fresh in the springtime.
What Do Leeks Taste Like?
Closely related to onions, scallions and chives, leeks have a mild, sweet onion taste, with less astringency than your standard onion. Sautéing or roasting leeks bring out their sweetness and mellow out their onion-taste even more.
What Part of the Leek Do You Eat?
The entire leek is edible but typically, the root end and the dark green top of the leek is removed. The darker the green, the tougher the texture. Those dark green tops can be used to flavor a delicious homemade stock!
Leeks – leeks can be found at most grocery stores, and in the springtime, they’re ultra-fresh at most farmers’ markets! Choose leeks that have the smallest amount of dark green, since the dark green part is tough.
Substitute for Leeks
The best substitute for leeks if you don’t have them on-hand are spring onions, scallions, shallot, sweet onion, or chives (from most to least intense onion flavor).
How to Cut Leeks
Chop Leeks Into Small Pieces (Half-Moons) OR Thin Ribbons!
- Trim leeks.
Cut off the root end and the dark green top. Dark green = tough and chewy! Save it to make some homemade stock.
- Slice in half and clean.
Slice your leek in half lengthwise. Fan open your leek and rinse all the dirt out between the layers. Pat dry.
- For half-moons…
Place leek back on your cutting board and slice them down the middle again, lengthwise (if the leek is relatively thick). The rest is easy…cut your leek into thin half-moons!
- OR for thin ribbons…
Place your leek back on the cutting board. Starting from one side of the leek, run your knife down the leek lengthwise in one long motion to create skinny long strips.
How to Clean Leeks
No need to soak your leeks in water! After cutting off the dark green top and root bottom, slice your leek in half lengthwise. Fan open your leek under running water, exposing all the layers and removing the dirt between the layers. Pat dry.
How to Store Leeks
The best way to store your leeks is unwashed and uncut. You can leave them right in the grocery store produce bag, placing them in your refrigerator crisper for up to 10 days for optimal freshness.
How to Cook Leeks
Leeks can be eaten raw, sautéed or roasted! The best way to cook leeks is to sauté them in a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil and salt. Sweat them over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until they’ve just softened.
What to Make With Leeks
Unless you’re planning to eat your leeks alone (you sure can, but they’re better as an accompaniment!), here’s what to make with leeks!
- Lobster & Leek Puff Pastry
- Cheesy Ham & Leek Quiche
- Roasted Carrots & Leeks
- Lobster Pasta with Leeks & Peas
- Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)
- Paglia e Fieno (Straw and Hay Pasta)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, leeks can be frozen for about 10 months! Blanch by slicing into desired pieces, dropping in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and then submerging in cold water for 3-4 minutes. Pat dry and place in a freezer-safe container.
Yes! If you’d like to add raw leeks to something like a salad, cut leeks into thin half-moons.
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- Cut off the root end and the dark green top. Dark green = tough and chewy! Save it to make some homemade stock.
- Slice your leek in half lengthwise.
- Fan open your leek and rinse all the dirt out between the layers. Pat dry.
Cut Leeks Into Small Pieces (Half-Moons)
- Follow the steps above. Then place leek back on your cutting board and slice them down the middle again, lengthwise (if the leek is relatively thick).
- The rest is easy! Cut your leek into thin half-moons!
Cut Leeks Into Long Ribbons
- Follow the steps above. Then place your leek back on the cutting board. Starting from one side of the leek, run your knife down the leek lengthwise in one long motion to create skinny long strips.