What Are Leeks Good For?

A Peek at leeks
Botanical name: Allium ampeloprasum porrum

Leeks Nutrition Facts

The leek is a member of the Allium family, and a close relative to onions and garlic, popular for its mild, earthy flavor. Some people note that leeks taste similar to onions, but with a flavor that is more compatible with other herbs and spices.1

However, for people unfamiliar with vegetables such as scallions, spring onions, and leeks, it’s easy to get them confused, as they look very similar to each other. Spring onions and scallions, for example, come from the same plant, but are harvested at different times, while leeks come from a different plant altogether. The easiest to identify is the scallion, which typically has a small bulb near the roots.

These three vegetables also have different textures and flavors, which means that they’re not interchangeable with one another. One thing to remember is that the edible parts of leeks are the bundled sheaths, while both the bulb and the tops of spring onions and scallions can be eaten raw or cooked.2 Leeks are also larger than both scallions and spring onions.3

Leeks are usually planted quite deep, between 8 to 12 inches, to maximize the edible part. This is to keep the tops white and tender.4

Health Benefits of Leeks

The numerous antioxidants that leeks provide begin converting to allicin when the vegetable is sliced, chopped, or somewhat injured. Allicin is well-known for its effects on blood consistency, reducing stickiness and in turn lowering the risk for coronary thrombosis.5 This compound also provides an abundance of important attributes to the body, such as antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activities and cholesterol reduction by impeding harmful enzymes in liver cells.6

Leeks contain healthy amounts of folic acid, which is important for cell division and neural tube development in babies.7 A 2016 study from Acta Horticulturae found that leeks are especially rich in minerals, particularly potassium, iron and selenium. It also contains considerable amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper.8,9

Leeks Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 61  
Total Fat 0.3 g  
Saturated Fat 0.04 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 20 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 14.15 g  
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g  
Sugar 3.9g  
Protein 1.5 g  
Vitamin A 82 µg Vitamin C 12 mg
Calcium 59 mg Iron 2.1 mg

Studies Done on Leeks

Being from the same family, leeks provide some of the same nutritional benefits that garlic and onions do. A 2015 study from Cancer Prevention Research showed that the Allium family has properties that may assist in lowering cancer risk. One of the mechanisms thought to provide this benefit is the decrease in the bioactivation of carcinogens. The compounds found in onion, garlic, leeks and other members of this family were found to individually affect the separate stages of carcinogenesis.10

A 2019 study compared the extracts of leeks and onions concerning their effect on cancer cells. The researchers noted that water leek extracts showed a greater effect on human breast cancer cells.11

Leeks Healthy Recipes:
Delectable Potato Leek Frittata With Dill and Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce Recipe

Leeks Healthy Recipes


3 tablespoons grass fed butter

2 to 3 medium leeks

2 organic Yukon Gold potatoes

Himalayan salt, to taste

Organic pepper

8 pasture-raised eggs

Handful of fresh dill sprigs

1 tablespoon water

Dipping sauce ingredients:

2 tablespoons organic stoneground mustard

2 tablespoons homemade or organic mayo

1 tablespoon water


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the outside of the leeks, and then cut off the ends where the green starts getting darker. Save the greens to make stock (leeks and water make a decent veggie stock). Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, while keeping the roots intact. Wash the leeks by rinsing between the layers, but still keeping each half intact. Finally, slice the leeks into half-moon shapes.
  3. Wash the potatoes, then slice them into 1/4 inches or little triangles.
  4. Using a large nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.
  5. Once the butter melts, add the leeks, cooking them for two minutes while stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the potatoes, then cook them for two minutes while stirring sporadically. If your butter is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt to the potatoes.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan, and reduce to low heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let the veggies steam for three minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs along with 1/2 teaspoon each of fine sea salt and pepper.
  9. Remove the lid and stir the veggies. Let it cook for one minute longer uncovered so the water evaporates.
  10. Slowly pour the whisked eggs over the entire pan.
  11. Place dill sprigs along the top of the egg, then tuck them under so the egg coats the dill. Turn off the heat afterward.
  12. Transfer the frittata to the oven, and set a timer for 10 minutes if you used a 12-inch pan (12 to 15 minutes for a smaller pan).
  13. Mix together your dipping sauce ingredients using a whisk or fork.
  14. Slice the frittata into triangles once it has cooled. You can enjoy it at room temperature or even cold. Use the sauce as a dip, or spread the sauce on top of the frittata.

(Recipe from Mercola.com)

Leeks Fun Facts

For many years, leeks have been the national symbol for Wales, being proudly sported by its citizens on the 1st of March every year for St. David’s Day.  In fact, in the Shakespearean play “Henry V,” one character is noted to be wearing a leek, with only “For I am Welsh,” as an explanation.  One purported reason for this is because St. David ordered his soldiers to wear leeks on their helmets during a battle, or that the battle itself took place in a field with leeks.12


With its own set of nutritional benefits and flavors, leeks have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. They contain powerful antioxidants for helping stave off disease and eliminate free radical damage; the significant quercetin presence by itself fights cancer.

One of the world’s oldest known vegetables, leeks add a distinctively delightful flavor to dishes that is milder than the more pungent onion.