Meatless Mondays with Martha Stewart – Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta

I say leek, you say potato leek soup? Many people are unfamiliar with how to cook, prepare, and include leeks in their diet, other than in the classic vichyssoise. Although they seem like more of a sideline vegetable, leeks have a flavor and texture special enough to be the center of attention. And now that leeks are entering their peak season, it’s the perfect time to experiment with this tasty and surprisingly healthy vegetable.

Leeks belong to the allium family of vegetables with garlic and onions. As a result, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.

One very important nutrient concentrated in leeks, is the B vitamin folate. Folate is a key B complex vitamin for supporting our cardiovascular system, preventing anemia by supporting red blood cell production, allowing nerves to function properly, and can even aiding in the prevention of dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The highest concentration of folate is in a leek’s white, lower bulb portion (about 50% more than the rest of the stalk), but there is still enough folate in the green parts to also be considered beneficial.

I love cooking with leeks because their flavor is more delicate than onions, and their subtle sweetness never overpowers a dish like garlic can. This method is incredibly healthy, as it uses broth to cook the vegetable instead of oil. It also infuses the leeks with an incredible amount of flavor without added fat. Save the oil for the dressing and you’ll be preserving the olive oil’s delicate benefits.

Leeks and lemon seem to be best friends, so I made sure to include a lot of citrus in this dish. Using both the juice and the zest of the lemon is a twofer for flavor. I also threw in some freshly cooked chickpeas and goat’s milk feta to make this a more substantial meal, but you could also omit them for a more simple side. Just don’t forget the dill—it’s divine!

Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
3 large leeks
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup chickpeas (canned is fine)
½ cup crumbled goat feta

Dressing:
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. liquid honey
juice and zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt + pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch fresh dill

Directions:
1. Slice off the root end of the each leek, then cut the stalk into 1-inch chunks on the diagonal (see photo). Use both the white and pale green portion of the stalk, discarding the dark green tops. Submerge leek slices in a large bowl of water to remove dirt between the layers. Be careful the layers stay intact.

2. In a large frying pan or saucepan, heat the vegetable broth until simmering. Remove leeks slices from water and place each slice with one flat side down in the broth. Cover and let simmer for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
3. While the leeks are cooking, make the dressing by combining all ingredients except for the lemon zest and dill.

4. When leeks are just tender (do not over cook!), remove from pan with tongs and set on a serving platter, leaving the remaining broth. Pour chickpeas into the pan and heat in the broth for about one minute, tossing to warm through. Add half of the dill and toss.

5. Remove pan from heat and place chickpeas on top of the leeks. Pour dressing over top, sprinkle with remaining dill, feta, lemon zest, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

28 comments

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  2. Michelle

    I really enjoyed this dish. The combination of the leeks, lemon, and dill is so tasty. I had some zucchini that I needed to use up (waste not, want not) so I tossed it in, diced, at the last minute. It warms up well the next day for lunch well without affecting the taste, although the green changes from the bright green to an olive green – probably due to the acidity. I will make again for sure!

  3. Pingback: Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta
  4. Pingback: Roasted Leeks | Never Enough Thyme — Never Enough Thyme - Recipes with a slight southern accent.
  5. Dana

    I was walking around craving something without knowing what… Finally I came across this recipe and it was settled. I made it without the broth, just boiling water and without the feta and it still was amazing!
    Thank you!

  6. Chacha

    Thanks Sarah for your blog and your recipes. You’ve changed my life ! No kidding: I used to be such a bad cook and didn’t like preparing anything in the kitchen… now I’ve just discovered a new passion! Your food is SOOO good! I’ve made this dish and it was so yummy that I would like to make it everyday. Thank you so much for spreading the yummy healthy food. It’s a noble vocation.

  7. Kamille Løje

    Dear Sarah! Oh my – this heavenly dish is having a hyggelig time in my belly right now – how absolutely delicious it was!! I love everything lemony and this is now my new favorite way to eat leeks! Thanks and keep those lovely lovely recipes running:) Smiles to you

  8. Tumbleweed

    I have made this a few times now and its just brilliant. Still can’t believe such simple ingredients taste so good. It’s great as a packed lunch. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  9. Astrid

    This was just beautiful, and so easy and quick to make. I’ve never used dill before, since I automatically think of it as a fish herb, but it was indeed delicious. Next time I will add some potatoes for extra heartyness and maybe some green beans. Yum! Thanks Sarah!

  10. Suzy

    This was delish! I swapped the feta for chevre (of the goats milk variety) which proved to be melty and amazing…and served it with some roasted potatoes. Definitely will make this one again, thanks!

  11. Michaela

    Tried to post this on your other blog, but it turned out you had to have a blogspot- or wordpressacount, and since I don’t, I’ll just post it here instead:
    ———
    Oh Sarah! I LOVE your blog! You must update it!

    I found this blog while googling vegetarian restaurants in Copenhagen, after reading through your other (just as brilliant!) blog.

    What camera do you use? Your pictures are amazing…and I guess that has a lot to do with talent as well…

    I’m Swedish, but i love Denmark, and am so pleased I’m going to move to Skåne (on the Swedish side, next to Danmark) to study in January…so I’ll get my denmarkfix as often as I need to!
    —-

    And I equally adore this blog! So glad I found it! It sounds crazy to say it changed my life, but actually it has, a little at least… I hope you’ll never stop blogging!

  12. amelia

    I have made this twice already. I absolutely LOVE it. It’s so easy and SO delicious! This time I had some sweet potato that I threw in with the leek and it adds an extra element of sweetness. YUM YUM YUM – thanks again.

  13. Ann-Louise

    I discovered the awesome combination of dill + lemons + feta this summer and there’s some strange magic going on there. Love this recipe and can’t wait to give it a try!

  14. memee

    I was lucky to have all these ingredients on hand…Made this for dinner tonight. Disappointed to say that there were no leftovers for tomorrow. :) Will make often. Thanks for posting!

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