For anyone into “clean eating,” I must imagine that leeks are obvious nonstarters. There are few foods more likely to be covered in filth, no matter where or when you buy them. Fresh from the farmers market, packaged in plastic; even those that claim to be pre-washed conceal a mouthful of silt woven between those leafy layers. No one could call this clean by any stretch of the imagination.
Thankfully, unlike the toxic mindset of diet culture, this is a problem that’s easily remedied. Wash away all those nasties in one fell swoop, and your labor will be handsomely rewarded. Related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions, you get hints of all the four in one, with a subtle sweetness that lends itself to pretty much any dish you might add an allium to. Unlike their more pungent brethren, leeks are mild enough to be enjoyed on their own, simply grilled or roasted.
Why isn’t there more love for leeks? I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the dirt. It’s because of the way they’re grown, like asparagus, with dirt pushed up around them to keep their stalks whiter and more tender, that large amounts of sand gets trapped inside. Think of them as diamonds in the rough, that just need a bit of polishing. If you can take the time to peel an onion, try to muster a bit more patience and reap the benefits of luscious leeks.
Baked until they practically melt in your mouth in a savory sauce laden with cheese, this creamy leek gratin is the unassuming side dish that complements every meal. It’s so creamy and luscious, it’s almost like if mac and cheese and creamed onions had a love child. There’s even a bread crumb topping to finish each bite with a satisfying crunch.
Don’t write off leeks for their dark, dirty roots. They’d happily clean up their acts if given the chance.
- 1 Pound (About 4 Medium) Leeks
- 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan-Style Vegan Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 1/4 Cup Plain, Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Roughly Torn French Bread
- 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Trim away the root ends and dark green parts from the leeks, leaving just the white and light green parts behind. Halve the leeks lengthwise, then slice into 2-inch long pieces. Rinse thoroughly in a bowlful of water and drain away the dirt.
- Arrange about half the leeks in an even layer in 9 × 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the vegan Parmesan on top, and cover with the remaining leeks. Whisk together the stock, non-dairy milk, pepper, and salt before pouring evenly over the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the bread, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and paprika in your food processor and pulse until the bread is broken up and all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The pieces should still be fairly large, and chunkier than packaged bread crumbs.
- Uncover the baking dish, sprinkle the bread mixture over the leeks and bake, uncovered, for another 20 minutes or so. The leeks should be very tender, and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.
To make this gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free bread.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 510mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.