Benefits of Leeks + Crunchy Veggie Salad
Leeks is a vegetable from the same family as the onion, chives, shallots, and garlic. And because leeks belong to the same family as mentioned, it also has the same benefits and few more. I love leeks!! Probably because I grew up with eating it a lot as a child in Sweden. Leeks grows well in cold conditions, which explains why leeks is a common and a cheap vegetable in the Scandinavian countries. Unlike regular onion, leeks is mild to the taste, but crunchier. They taste good raw as well as cooked like an onion. Yet most people are familiar with cooked leeks, which is very common in soups and stews, especially in Europe. Leeks have wonderful benefits, but sometimes they can get a little pricey depending where you shop here in the US. You can grow leeks in your own garden, they require a sunny location and slightly acidic soil.With all its benefits and great taste, I really enjoy a colorful salad with some leeks particularly during Winter months.
Buying and Storing Leeks
You can use the entire leeks, not just the white part. The green part is just as tasty. Leeks should be straight and look good without any major blemishes. You want to buy the slimmest once available. The larger they get in their diameter the tougher and harder they are. Stick to about 1″ in (2-3 cm) diameter. Make sure the green leafy and the white part is not yellow or discolored. Leeks are usually easy to store. They don’t require much fuss. But they do need refrigeration, unlike onions and garlic. Don’t wash them until they are ready to be eaten. I can usually keep mine up to two weeks without any problems (I’ve had some for up to three weeks).
Few Health Benefits
About half a cup of leeks will provides a person with 25% of their daily need of vitamin K. Vitamin K can help with good blood circulation and with preventing blood clots. It also supports healthy skin and hair, in particular for acne.
Leeks are full of vitamin A, which is essential for several important parts of the body. It helps with better vision and the general health of the eye and bones. Leeks help with boosting the immune system as well.
There is a large amounts of folate in leeks. Folate helps with supporting the red blood cells and with healthy heart. Folate has also shown to help with depression and other mood disorders.
Leeks can help with preventing anemia and to control inflammation in the body. It can also help with lowering high blood pressure and regulating the blood sugar, making this vegetable ideal for diabetics.
I usually try to keep leeks on hand. I use it in much of my cooking, but mainly for salads. This recipe is easy and delicious. My 14 year old son (youngest), who is my pickiest eater, freaked out the first time he saw this salad. There were to many ingredients he didn’t like, or so he thought. After trying a spoonful (rule at our house), he ended up eating a small plate full of it, as side dish with his dinner. The flavors and colors are real refreshing. Fresh squeezed lime, fresh herbs and avocado, topped on crunchy vegetables, with olive oil and dash of salt. As always in my kitchen, feel free to substitute something that you may not have on hand. Lime can be changed out with fresh or frozen (thawed) lemon juice. The first time I made this salad, my main concern was that the avocado would not look as fresh the next day (I always make enough for leftovers), but they looked beautiful for lunch the following day. The reason for that are both the citrus juice and the olive oil that helps with slowing down the browning process of the avocado.
Crunchy Veggie Salad (With Leeks)
Yield: 1.5 Quart Bowl (1.5 L) Prep Time: 15 Min
1 3/4 Cup Diced (or Sliced) Carrots
1/2 Cup Sliced (Chopped) Leeks
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Cup Diced Radish
1 Cup Diced Yellow or Red Bell Pepper (or both mixed like I’ll do sometimes)
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Whole Diced Avocado
1/2 Lime (Juice)
1/3 Cup Olive Oil (Or More 😉 )
Less than 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Peel and dice your carrots. If my carrots are skinny and tender, I usually slice them instead. Add them in a bowl that is 1.5 quart (bigger is totally fine). Dice your radishes and bell pepper and add them with your carrots. Chop your parsley and cilantro and add to your salad. Dice the avocado and add to bowl. Immediately after add your lime juice and the olive oil and salt to your liking. This will stop the oxidation process of the avocado. Mix your salad gently and serve.
Serve as side with your favorite entree or just as a light lunch with protein on the side. Enjoy!!!
Let me know what you think and your experience with leeks, especially if this is your first time eating it raw?