14 Leek Recipes That Are Anything But Bleak

Although leeks look like oversized green onions, their culinary possibilities are far more exciting. While they are related to green onions (and other popular alliums), their use is often more central to a recipe. Instead of being simply used for the base of a dish or as a garnish, leeks can often be the main star. Their mild, subtly sweet, and lightly earthy flavor can be dressed up in countless ways. Whether roasted whole, sliced and sauteed, or pureed into a rich and savory soup, leeks can take on many personas. 

If you typically skip over the stalky vegetable in favor of something seemingly simpler to prepare, you'll want to stick around. There's nothing inherently complicated about cooking with leeks. Really, the most important step is removing the grit, which can easily be done by trimming off both ends and standing the stalks in ice-cold water. You'll be left with a clean canvas to start slicing and dicing for one of these 14 leak recipes guaranteed to change your mind about this vegetable.

1. Classic Potato Leek Soup

Classics become classics for a reason, and this classic potato leek soup proves that with its timeless flavors. Leek, garlic, and potatoes make up the bulk of this soup, along with thyme to season. Cook the ingredients in vegetable stock until tender, then puree everything to a creamy consistency with an immersion blender. This hearty soup makes an excellent starter for a dinner party, whether you're hosting a table of vegans or meat-eaters.

Recipe: Classic Potato Leek Soup

2. Herby Cheddar Leek Fritters

Fritters are endlessly customizable and this herby cheddar leek version highlights everything to love about the vegetable. Paired with flour, eggs, and milk, the batter is seasoned with fresh tarragon and parsley and enhanced with grated cheddar to make the flavors pop. Just pan-fry scoops of batter until the fritters are golden and crispy and serve them along with Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, and chive dip. These leek fritters will give the potato version a run for its money.

Recipe: Herby Cheddar Leek Fritters

3. Creamy Potato Leek Soup

This creamy potato leek soup takes a classic combination and adds a little pep. Red potatoes, garlic, shallots, onion, and leeks make up the base of the soup. Saute the vegetables then combine them with bouillon and coconut milk for a creamy finish. Instead of pureeing the components, simply mash the cooked potatoes into the soup to thicken. Serve this hearty blend with sour cream, chopped scallions, and shredded cheddar for a tangy finish.

Recipe: Creamy Potato Leek Soup

4. Asparagus, Leek, And Pancetta Pasta

Getting dinner on the table in under half an hour is totally possible with this asparagus, leek, and pancetta pasta. Saute chopped pancetta, leeks, and shallots in butter, then turn them into a sauce with white wine, cream, chopped asparagus, and parmesan. Once your pasta of choice is cooked (linguine is a good candidate here), simply add it to the rich sauce and toss to coat. You're ready to serve up a meal loaded with vegetables, starch, and protein.

Recipe: Asparagus, Leek, And Pancetta Pasta

5. Silky Vichyssoise

Cold-soup lovers will be delighted to try this silky vichyssoise recipe, featuring a zesty hint of lime to brighten up the taste. Saute leeks, garlic, and onion, then simmer with stock, potatoes, and a bundle of herbs. Once the potatoes are tender, blend the soup until it's smooth and free of lumps. Add heavy cream, lime juice, and zest, and season it with salt and pepper before leaving it to cool. Serve this velvety soup nicely chilled with fresh chives and a drizzle of cream to garnish.

Recipe: Silky Vichyssoise

6. Eggs Florentine (And Leeks)

You may not associate leeks with breakfast, but they make an excellent pairing with eggs. This recipe combines chopped leeks and baby spinach to make a leafy green bed for poached eggs. Seasoned with a hint of lemon zest, the leek and spinach duo complements the creamy hollandaise sauce ladled on top of the eggs. Set the whole thing over toasted English muffin halves for a hearty morning meal that would make a dazzling Sunday brunch spread.

Recipe: Eggs Florentine (And Leeks)

7. Baked Eggs With Spinach And Leeks

If eggs Benedict aren't your thing (or if you haven't quite mastered fool-proof poached eggs), you can still savor the sweet and earthy pairing of spinach, leeks, and eggs. Sauté leeks until tender, then add garlic and spinach to the mix. Transfer the veggies to a baking dish and make wells for the cracked eggs. Add a splash of cream to boost the decadence, and bake the eggy dish until it's set. Season with chili flakes, thyme, and lemon zest for a fancy and enviably easy brunch dish.

Recipe: Baked Eggs With Spinach And Leeks

8. Chilled Vichyssoise

This chilled vichyssoise recipe highlights the simple essence of the French soup. Made with leeks, potatoes, broth, cream, and chives to garnish, it's an excellent appetizer to whet your appetite. Serve it in cups at a cocktail party or ladle it into bowls for the first course of a dinner party. Pureed into a velvety smooth texture, the creamed leeks and potatoes go down lightly, making this chilled vichyssoise a balanced option if you don't want to fill up too fast. 

Recipe: Chilled Vichyssoise

9. Instant Pot Cream Of Potato Soup

An instant pot is the ultimate appliance for convenient meal prep, transforming simple ingredients into a delicious dish in no time. This cream of potato soup comes together quickly thanks to the device's pressure cook mode. Cook leeks, celery, potatoes, garlic, and seasonings in stock, then mash the contents for a chunky thick result. Add potato flakes, heavy cream, and sour cream to double the rich creamy texture, then garnish with scallions and red pepper flakes for a pop of flavor and color.

Recipe: Instant Pot Cream Of Potato Soup

10. Creamy Potato And Pea Chowder

This creamy potato and pea chowder is a fun take on a traditional soup. Saute leeks and garlic, then add wine, stock, potatoes, and seasoning and boil until the spuds are tender. Mash them up to thicken the stock then mix in green peas, cream, and soy sauce for a salty tang. Garnish each bowl with chopped dill for a vibrant and hearty soup you'll want to eat on repeat.

Recipe: Creamy Potato And Pea Chowder

11. Chilled Asparagus Vichyssoise

This chilled vichyssoise recipe includes classic ingredients used in the traditional recipe, like leeks, potatoes, and cream. The addition of asparagus infuses it with a vegetal depth and a fresh touch. Quick and easy to make, you just have to saute the leeks in butter and boil them with stock, potatoes, asparagus, and seasonings. Add cream and blend the contents, passing them through a fine mesh sieve for the ultimate silky texture in each spoonful. A drizzle of cream, chopped chives, and freshly cracked black pepper finish it off.

Recipe: Chilled Asparagus Vichyssoise

12. Herby Ham And Bean Soup

We love a good variation on a classic, and this herby ham and bean soup is a fine example. Cook leeks, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in oil then add a smoked ham hock to brown. Add beans, stock, and seasonings and simmer the contents for a couple of hours until everything is tender. The leeks infuse the smoky, earthy soup with just the right balance of sweetness, for an all-around winning combination.

Recipe: Herby Ham And Bean Soup

13. Creamy Cannellini-Broccoli Soup

This creamy cannellini-broccoli soup uses up what would otherwise be food scraps — broccoli stalks — creating a hearty meal in the process. Cook the broccoli stems and leeks to soften, then add chicken broth and seasonings and simmer. Add the cannellini beans next and keep simmering, then blend the contents into a smooth puree. Feel free to leave some chunky bits for texture or process it in batches for a velvety mouthfeel. Serve each bowl with fresh dill for a vibrant garnish.

Recipe: Creamy Cannellini-Broccoli Soup

14. Fall Vegetable Soup

This fall vegetable soup recipe showcases simple harvest produce for a comforting dish that will make you feel warm and cozy. Start by sauteing onions, carrots, and leeks with oil. Add diced potatoes, butternut squash, and vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Keep simmering until the vegetables are fork-tender. Pour the contents into a blender and puree until smooth, then season before ladling this bright orange soup into serving bowls.

Recipe: Fall Vegetable Soup