6 Uses for Leek Greens

I love coming up for uses for food that I used to discard.  According to a lot of television shows and some cookbooks, I thought that leek greens were inedible (apparently they are too fibrous/ coarse) to eat and therefore had no place in cooking.

That’s a load of phooey.

6 Uses for Leek Greens Leek

While it’s true that leek greens are very fibrous and not a lot of fun to eat, I’ve found them rather useful as an ingredient.  I still don’t eat the greens but I use them in other ways when cooking as they have lots of flavour (they are, after all, made of leeks)!

6 (plus two) Uses for Leek Greens

  1. Stock
    Add the leek greens as you simmer a stock (you can even freeze them before doing so).
  2. Potato Water
    Add leek greens to potatoes as you boil them; this is especially effective if you’re making leek and potato soup.  Discard before serving; the flavour will transfer (partially to the boiled potatoes).  You can also do this with pasta water.
  3. Lobster and Shelfish
    We steam (not boil) most of our shellfish.  You can use leek greeks in this context too.  This even works if the food isn’t in the water (i.e. you are using a bamboo steamer).
  4. Roasting meat
    If you don’t have a roasting rack you can fashion one from leek greens (lie meat on top of a few rows of them); this will keep meat off the bottom of the pan and transfer flavour to the roast – and the drippings.
  5. BBQ smoke
    Soak leek greens and toss them onto charcoal to create flavourful smoke.
  6. BBQ Basket
    Cooking on a BBQ and have small vegetables that you don’t want to fall through the grill?  Instead of buying an expensive BBQ Basket, soda leek greens and lie them across the grill (leaving the odd space).
  7. Untested – dehydrate them
    I haven’t tried this yet but you could dehydrate them.  Once dehydrated, you could turn them into a fine powder.  You could eat it and it should, in theory, be tasty and non-fibrous.  I’ll try in the next little while and report back!
  8. Untested – Infuse with them
    I’m also certain that you could dump some leek greens into vodka to flavour a Bloody Mary (or Caesar here in Canada).

What do you do with leek greens?



  1. amazing! so many great ideas.

  2. I slice them thin and use them in soups, omelettes, whatever.

  3. I cut the greens as well as the pale stalk into bite-sized pieces and use in both chicken soup and potato soup. Never knew that the greens were purportedly “inedible” until a few years ago, but I always found them tasty. And who couldn’t do with a bit of fiber? :-)

  4. I follow the lighter green portion up the stock (it gets smaller and smaller as you go) in order to get all of the goodness out of it. But after reading the comment above, and your article, I may try to be more adventurous. By the way, Joel, your excellent example as a dehydrator persuaded me to dehydrate a bunch of leeks, which impressed the heck out of a visiting ‘chef’ friend! Those babies are flavourful. :-D

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