Leeks are a delicious member of the onion or allium family and can be added to so many meals for a delicate onion flavour. Leek makes a great soup or a stew, it pairs well with cheese and it’s perfect in casseroles or even roasted as a side dish.
There seems to be no way that you can’t eat leeks but how about cold? Can you eat leeks raw and pop them into salads and sandwiches too?
You can eat leeks raw. They are delicious and a little like much bigger spring onions. Pop them into salads or sandwiches for delicious mild onion flavour and a little crunch.
What Does Raw Leek Taste Like?
Leeks have a flavour all of their own but it can be likened to a much milder onion flavour. They are more subtle than shallots, red onions and white onions. They are closer to salad and spring onions, in flavour.
They have a fresh earthy taste that sits somewhere between a spring onion and an onion. In addition, you get a wonderful crunchy texture that adds bite to your food.
Although they are a member of the allium family, they do not have a garlicky flavour. Instead, they take on more onion flavours that you’ll be used to.
How to Eat Leeks Raw
There are lots of ways to cook and eat your leeks cooked but how about raw? The great news is that there are also lots of ways to eat your leeks raw too! Here are a few ideas:
You can use raw leeks in all the same ways you would use raw onion. So if you like the idea of onion in your salad but find the taste overpowering then try some raw leek instead.
It adds the same type of flavour and crunch but is much milder than white onion and has a slightly earthier taste. Once sliced, you can place it into a bowl of ice-cold water to crisp it up further.
If you slice your leeks into fine slices then you can pop them into a sandwich. Make sure you chop them finely or you will find the flavour overpowering in comparison to the rest of your ingredients.
This works with any type of sandwich. If you love cheese sandwiches but find onion adds a little too much flavour then try a little leek instead.
You can also use them where you might often use chives. This is especially useful if you don’t have any chives leftover but need that subtle onion flavour. Remember, you’ll need to use less raw leek!
Raw veggies and dips are the perfect snacks that will fill you up, they help provide nutrition but won’t be too calorific.
Wash your leeks well and then cut the toughest part of the green leaves off and the root of the leek. This will leave you with the whiter and pale green section of the leek.
Cut this into wedges or slice the leek along its length to create long slices. Then you can add your favourite dip and enjoy a great mid-afternoon snack. You can add variety by including other raw vegetables too.
Wash, peel and slice your leeks and add them as a garnish to a steak or a lamb chop. You could even add them to garnish your lunchtime meals such as jacket potatoes and salads.
Not only will they add a little flair to the look of the meal but they add great flavour too!
Benefits of Eating Leeks Raw
Leeks are amazing vegetables, they taste great, add interest to your meals and are full of vitamins and minerals. Leeks contain flavanoids that can promote heart health and a host of vitamins including vitamins A, K and E.
They also contain plenty of other nutrients your body needs such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
On top of all of this, they are really low in calories so won’t harm your diet. One serving has approximately 35 calories and they are fat-free too.
Should You Eat Raw Leeks?
If you like the taste then yes you should eat raw leeks. They are easily accessible and should be available all year round from your supermarket and they are good for you too. You do need to give them a good wash first to ensure that any dirt, debris and bugs are washed off.
The best thing about leeks is you can put some fresh leaks in your fridge and either eat them raw or cook them – however you choose to eat them.
Ultimately, including any vegetables you can (and a variety of them) is only a good thing so it’s well worth eating raw leek every so often.
Raw Leek FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating raw leeks then these might help:
Yes, you can eat both baby leeks and fully-matured leeks raw. You’ll find baby links more intense so a little will go a long way. This is because the flavour is more concentrated.
Yes, all parts of the leek are edible. You will find the top, leafier end tougher so they will need to be cooked for much longer to soften them up a bit.
Yes, you should use the whole of the leek. Many recipes will recommend slicing the white and pale end of the leeks before throwing out the darker green sections. These can still be used in stocks, soups and stews, however!
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.