Leek: know its benefits and check out tasty recipes

Leek: know its benefits and check out tasty recipes 

Who has never tried a leek recipe? Versatile, this vegetable is used to enhance the flavor of savory dishes, ensuring that it stands out for its striking flavor. Vegetables belonging to the onion and garlic family, the leek has a cylindrical shape, different from its peers. Also known as leek-France, leek-macho, Porro-bravo, and Porro-Hortense, it gained fame through French cuisine but had its popularity expanded all over the world, including in our country. Easy to access, it has been gaining more and more tables in Brazil, adding a flavor similar to onions, but milder. Produced all year round, it can be found in supermarkets and fruit and vegetable markets.

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benefits of leek

Rich in nutrients, according to nutritionist Larissa Cohen, a tablespoon of leeks has about 4.8 kcal, 1.04 g of carbohydrates, 0.21 g of protein, 0.38 g of dietary fiber, and 0.01 g of fat. Check out some of its benefits according to the professional: Combat flu and colds: According to the nutritionist, leek helps in the respiratory tract, relieving flu and cold symptoms, as it has natural antibacterial properties. Helps in lowering cholesterol Like any food rich in fiber, it “helps reduce bad cholesterol (known as LDL)”, reveals Larissa. Helps with weight loss Again, the presence of fibers guarantees this effect, ensuring a feeling of satiety for longer, acting in the control and maintenance of body weight. Combats free radicals According to the professional, the leek is a food rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, which fight free radicals, preventing premature aging and chronic diseases.

 They help in good intestinal functioning Another feat guaranteed by its fiber content, it allows the intestine to function regularly. Promotes good eye health This food helps in the health of the vision, as it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that protect the tissue of the eye from oxidation and aging", informs the nutritionist. Improving immunity As the professional explains, leeks are considered a prebiotic food, feeding the “positive” bacteria and helping to improve immunity. Anti-inflammatory action The leek contains vitamin K, a substance that helps prevent chronic inflammatory diseases, as well as calcification of the arteries”, adds Larissa. 

Ideal to be consumed during pregnancy

Because it contains folic acid, it is a great food to be consumed during pregnancy, when this vitamin is very important for the formation of the baby's nervous system.  Ensures healthy skin This feat is guaranteed by the combination of vitamins A, C, and E, in addition to the presence of beta-carotene in the food, causing a powerful effect in protecting the skin from damage caused by exposure to sunlight.
For stronger bones, Because it contains significant amounts of vitamin K, leek ensures stronger bones, as this vitamin activates osteocalcin, a protein that promotes greater bone health. Stimulates libido
Known for its aphrodisiac properties, this food makes it possible to increase libido, in addition to helping in the treatment of infertility. In addition to its striking flavor, adding leeks to your eating routine can guarantee incredible health benefits. Don't waste any more time and prove your action

How to consume leek

Primarily used as an additional ingredient in a recipe, leeks can be eaten in a variety of ways. According to the nutritionist, it is possible to use the leaves in soups, broths, and juices. The white part can be “cut into rings and used as a natural seasoning in all types of dishes, from meat, fish, chicken, rice, soups, salads and even as a seasoning for beans”, he suggests.

With the possibility of being tasted raw or cooked, it is important to wash the vegetable well under running water before incorporating it into recipes. “It is very interesting to use it as a seasoning in food instead of garlic for people who complain of poor digestion, heartburn, reflux, and gas after consuming garlic. Leek is milder and does not cause these symptoms in people who are sensitive to common garlic”, says Larissa.

Amazing leek recipes to try today

Fulfilling the role of an ingredient or used as a condiment, replacing the onion, the leek can be the element that was missing to guarantee even more flavor to your dish. Check out the following recipes using this vegetable and get inspired:

  • 1. Leeks on the grill: Who says leeks can't be the highlight of the meal? Prepared on the grill, it is seasoned with parsley, lemon and olive oil. The secret to avoiding stringy leaves is to cook them in boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice before grilling.

  • 2. Cheese and leek omelet: option rich in protein, here the leek is used together with white cheese to ensure more flavor to the omelette. To season the dish, salt and fresh herbs.

  • 3. Bean broth with leek: used as a complementary ingredient to season the bean broth, here the leek is still accompanied by onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and basil.

  • 4. Bacon and leek risotto: risotto is one of the dishes that use leek the most to ensure an unmistakable flavor. In this version, the vegetable is cut into slices, in addition to being accompanied by bacon and Parmesan cheese.

  • 5. Shimeji and leek risotto: another version of the famous dish, here the protein dose is guaranteed by the use of the mushroom. Vegetable broth is chosen to ensure even more flavor to the dish. 
  • 6. Leek and brie cheese risotto: Arborio rice is the best option for making risotto. The use of margarine and brie cheese guarantees a remarkable flavor to the dish, which is why the leek acts as a supporting agent in the flavor.

  • 7. Baked Potatoes with Leeks: A great example of a tasty dish with few ingredients. Prepared in the oven, the potatoes cut into four are accompanied by leeks and cabbage.

  • 8. Leek and pancetta pappardelle: a great dish option for those who want to taste good pasta seasoned with leeks. In this option, the pancetta and the poached egg guarantee the striking tone of the dish.

  • 9. Creamy pasta with the heart of palm and leek: another pasta option with a sauce prepared with this versatile ingredient. Accompanied by hearts of palm, the white sauce is even tastier with the use of peas and black olives.

  • 10. Pork fillet with leek sauce: a great example of how leeks can also be used to season meat. Here the pork medallion sauce was made with sesame oil, leek, soy sauce, and cornstarch.     
  •   11. Tilapia with leek and white sauce: here fish is the chosen protein. To assemble, just place the grilled tilapia fillets in a refractory, cover them with the leek stew, and finish with the white sauce. More practical impossible!

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  • 12. Creamy spinach and leek pie: an ideal option for celiacs and vegans, this recipe does not use wheat flour and animal-derived foods. While the flavor is due to the sautéed spinach and leek, the creaminess is guaranteed by the use of tofu in its preparation.

  • 13. Leek cream with potatoes and bacon: ideal recipe to be enjoyed on colder days, this broth uses leek in its preparation. Accompanied by bacon and potatoes, it results in a very tasty and easy meal to make.

  • 14. Shiitake and leek soup: another option for days with lower temperatures, the charm of this soup is due to the visual: it is served inside Italian bread. A vegetarian recipe, it's a great alternative for those who want to escape the meat versions, but don't give up the protein.

From these suggestions, it is worth getting inspired and risking using this vegetable in the preparation of traditional dishes, letting your creativity flow and increasing the flavor of your meals. At the time of purchase, prefer options with thinner, whiter stalks and greenish leaves. Without contraindications, the leek is a versatile ingredient, capable of transforming the flavor of various recipes. Try all its flavors!

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