Roasted leeks become wonderfully caramelized and have a mellow, almost sweet flavor. They make a wonderful side dish to meats and fish.
As low-carbers, my husband and I don't eat starchy sides. Our dinners consist of a protein and a veggie. So I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting vegetable recipes to vary our meals.
I made this roasted leeks recipe for the first time a couple of months ago. We were all smitten with this tasty dish, and I have made it several times since.
What do leeks taste like?
Leeks look like oversized green onions. When raw, their flavor resembles the flavor of shallots, although they are sweeter and more delicate. But they're not usually eaten raw.
Roasting mellows their onion flavor, caramelizes them, and brings out their natural sweetness. So roasted leeks taste very different than raw ones - just like baked onions are very different than raw onions.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need five simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Fresh leeks: They look just like giant green onions. I wasn't familiar with them in the past, but it's easy to spot them once you know what to look for.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Grated Parmesan: It's best to use finely grated cheese and not coarsely shredded in this recipe.
Red pepper flakes: They add just a hint of spice and also a nice color. You can omit them if you'd like.
How to roast leeks
I like to bake them in the oven. It's an easy cooking method, and it makes the leeks wonderfully caramelized. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. You start by trimming the leeks. Then you cut them in half lengthwise, rinse and dry.
2. Coat the leeks with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
3. Roast them for 20 minutes in a 425°F oven.
4. Sprinkle the leeks with parmesan and red pepper flakes, and bake them for 10 more minutes.
The parmesan adds great flavor
Unless you can't do dairy, I highly recommend that you do use parmesan in this recipe. It adds tons of flavor and goes really nicely with their shallot-like flavor.
How to serve roasted leeks?
I often serve them with fish. They make a great side dish to baked catfish. And when you make these two dishes together, you can keep the oven at 425°F for both, baking the fish just 5 minutes longer.
What about leftovers?
If you have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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- 6 leeks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Trim the hairy bottom of the white part of the leeks. Trim the dark greens, leaving the white and light green part only.
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then rinse them well (there’s often dirt trapped in the tops) and dry. Arrange in a glass baking dish, cut side down.
- Drizzle the leeks with the olive oil and use your hands to thoroughly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast 20 minutes. Remove from oven, turn so that cut side is up, sprinkle with the Parmesan and pepper flakes, then continue roasting until fork-tender and golden brown, 10 more minutes.