Seasonal Chef: Cooking with Spring Leeks


The leek is a vegetable that belongs, along with onion and garlic, to the Allium family. The spring leek is a younger version of the one you generally find at the store. The overall stalk is much smaller and the diameter only about 1 – 1 ½ inches. Cooking with Spring Leeks is fast and easy.

Leeks have a mild onion-like taste. Perfect for people that find onions too strong, but enjoy the flavor in various dishes. In its raw state, the leek is crunchy and firm. The tasty portions of the leek are the white and pale green base just up to the bottom of the dark park of the leaves. Place the dark leaves in the zip lock bag and keep in the freezer. They are great additions to flavor soup stocks.

Slicing spring leeks

Leeks contain important nutrients like lutein and carotenoids. They are also a good source of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Vitamins K and A. Because the white part of the leek grows underground, you will find it full of sand and dirt. Thorough washing is simple, but necessary before cooking.


Along with my spring leeks this week  I also picked up a pretty striped eggplant and decided to incorporate it into my dish for you.

Sauteed spring leeks and garlic

After a quick sauté of my spring leeks and garlic I added the eggplant

Grilled chicken tenders

and then the chicken. My main spice was Arizona Dreaming, from Penzeys. It’s a smokey combination of chilis, onion, garlic, lemon and cocoa powder. It’s one of my favorite blends and I highly recommend having it on hand. It’s great on meats and vegetables

Spring Leek, Chicken and Orzo Salad, Maria Reina
After everything is cooked a quick toss with your orzo, lemon and basil and you have a perfect dish for lunch or a light supper. Click here to see my recipe for  Spring Leek and Chicken Orzo Salad .

Cold Pea Soup, Mari Reina

With a few spring leeks left from my bunch I also created a quick Cold Pea Soup. Click on this link to see the recipe for that dish.

This coming Saturday, June 8, you will find me at Gossetts Farmers Market in South Salem. I’ll be demoing my orzo salad above using spring leeks from Gaia’s Breath Farm and eggplant from Madura Farm. Stop by between 10:00 and Noon for a taste, if you are in the neighborhood!

Buon Appetito!



About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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