What is Leek?
The leek is a vegetable, a cultivar of Allium ampeloprasum, the broad-leaf wild leek. The edible part of the plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk. The genus Allium also contains the onion, garlic, shallot, scallion, chive, and Chinese onion.
Historically, many scientific names were used for leeks, but they are now all treated as cultivars of A. ampeloprasum. The name ‘leek’ developed from the Old English word leac. Three closely related vegetables, elephant garlic, kurrat and Persian leek or Tareh, are also cultivars of A. ampeloprasum, although different in their uses as food. Leeks are rich in dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. They have many health benefits which includes skin health, heart health, aids in weight loss among others.
History Of Leeks
Leeks enjoy a long and rich history, one that can trace its heritage back through antiquity. Thought to be native to Central Asia, they have been cultivated in this region and in Europe for thousands of years. Leeks were prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans and were especially revered for their beneficial effect upon the throat. The Greek philosopher Aristotle credited the clear voice of the partridge to a diet of leeks, while the Roman emperor Nero supposedly ate leeks everyday to make his voice stronger.
The Romans are thought to have introduced leeks to the United Kingdom, where they were able to flourish because they could withstand cold weather. Leeks have attained an esteemed status in Wales, where they serve as this country’s national emblem. The Welsh regard for leeks can be traced back to a battle that they successfully won against that Saxons in 1620, during which the Welsh soldiers placed leeks in their caps to differentiate themselves from their opponents. Today, leeks are an important vegetable in many northern European cuisines and are grown in many European countries.
Differences between Onions, Leeks and Shallots
Onions, Shallots and Leeks: What’s the Difference?
Onions, shallots and leeks are all part of the Alliums family—and treasured for the flavor they add to recipes. They’re all easy to grow in the garden and perform best when planted in full sun. They have differences, though.
Onions are a garden favorite—and can be eaten raw, in salsas and salads, and cooked into your favorite recipes. Home gardeners can choose from onion varieties that are mildly sweet to pungent. Because onions are affected by the amount of light they receive, some grow better in the North, while others perform better in the South. Short-day onions begin forming bulbs when daylight lasts 10-12 hours and are often the sweetest and best for eating raw. They’re most often grown in the South. Long-day onions begin forming bulbs when daylight lasts 14-16 hours. They are usually pungent, often store well for many months, and are usually grown in the North. Day-neutral onions are a cross of the two types. Onions can be started from seeds, sets and plants.
Shallots have a subtle flavor that is much milder than onions or garlic—and are a favorite of gourmet cooks. Their flavor really shines when sautéed in butter or olive oil. Like green onions, their green shoots and bulbs are edible—and the green shoots can be used as a green onion or scallion substitute. While shallots can be grown from seed, growing them from sets is often easiest. After harvest, cured bulbs can be stored for up to six months.
Leeks look like overgrown green onions, but have a milder, more delicate flavor than onions. The white base and green stalk are used for cooking in creamy soups, fresh, stocks and more. Leeks can be direct seeded outdoors or started indoors and transplanted into the garden. Thinning during the growing allows the plant to grow much larger. After harvest, leeks can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks—or they can be dried for storage.
Nutritional Value Of Leek
A close relative of onions and garlic, leeks have a mild onion-like flavor that works well in soups and a variety of other dishes. One cup of leeks — approximately one whole leek — contains just 54 calories, so leeks add bulk to your meal to keep you feeling full, without significantly boosting your calorie intake. Leeks serve as excellent sources of vitamins, and also offer health benefits thanks to their phytonutrient content.
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 61
- Total Fat 0.3 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 20 mg
- Potassium 180 mg 5%
- Carbohydrate 14 g 4%
- Dietary fiber 1.8 g 7%
- Sugar 3.9 g
- Protein 1.5 g 3%
- Vitamin A 33%
- Vitamin C 20%
- Calcium 5% Iron 11%
- Vitamin B-6 10%
- Magnesium 7%
Vitamin A: Not Only for Eyes
Adding leeks to your diet helps ensure that you meet your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. A single one-cup serving of leeks boasts 1,484 international units of vitamin A — 64 percent of the daily intake for women and 49 percent for men, set by the Institute of Medicine. Getting enough vitamin A in your diet supports healthy blood cell development, including the growth of new red blood cells that transport oxygen, and white blood cells that fight infection. Vitamin A also helps your retinas — the tissues in your eyes that detect light and color — to function under low-light conditions.
Vitamin K for Blood and Bones
Leeks also provide a generous amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K benefits every tissue in your body, helping to regulate blood flow, while low vitamin K levels can induce bleeding, which can negatively affect your circulation. Getting enough vitamin K also activates osteocalcin, which is a protein essential for bone health. Leeks contain 42 micrograms of vitamin K per cup. This provides 47 percent of the daily vitamin K intake for women and 34 percent for men, set by the Institute of Medicine.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin Protect Your Vision
Consume leeks as a source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds contribute to healthy eyesight. They protect your eye tissues from oxidative damage — harmful oxidation of your DNA and cell membranes — by filtering out harmful light rays as they enter your eye. The American Optometric Association also notes that lutein and zeaxanathin, when consumed in adequate amounts, protect you from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The AOA recommends 12 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin daily to reap these benefits, and each cup of leaks contains 1.7 milligrams, or 14 percent of this goal.Leek
Amazing Health Benefits of Leek
1. Reduces cancer risk
Leeks has allyl sulfides which can inhibit pathways associated with the formation of malignant tumors.
2. Aids in weight loss
Leeks are low in calories and are fat free. They have both soluble and insoluble fiber which provides a feeling of fullness, they also regulate intestinal activity and reduce bloating.
3. Improves Vision
Leeks has lutein and zeaxanthin which are vital for healthy eyesight. They protect the eye tissues from harmful oxidation of DNA and cell membranes, by filtering out harmful light rays while they enter the eyes. They also prevent the eye from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
4. Aids in foetal development
Leeks are rich in vitamin B9, also known as folate (folic acid) which is essential for the production of new DNA which is needed for formation of new cells. Folates also promote healthy neural tube formation, adequate birth weight and proper development of the face, heart, spine and brain.
5. Nervous System Health
Leeks are rich in magnesium, phosphorous and folate which are essential for healthy functioning of the nervous system.They help improve concentration, memory and the brain’s ability to process information.
6. Aids in digestion
Leeks acts as a prebiotic and stimulates and strengthens the stomach, kidneys and gut. The fiber in leek adds bulk to the food material which slows down bowel emptying assisting in proper food digestion and bowel movement preventing constipation.
7. Reduces the Risk Of Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
Leeks has vitamin K which has anti-inflammatory properties that can fight against chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin B6 also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
8. Heart health
Leeks contain a bioactive form of folate called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which has been shown to lower the concentration of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine in the blood can increase the risk of
cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Kaempherol present in leeks also improves heart health by reducing the production of nitric oxide.
9. Bone Health
Leeks contain vitamin K which activates osteocalcin, a protein that is vital for bone health.
10. Skin Health
Leeks has beta -carotene and vitamins A, C and E which protects the skin against damage by free radicals and harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
11. Help Prevent Cataracts
The leek vegetable is a good source of zeaxanthin and lutein. These two compounds can benefit your eyes greatly. Zeaxanthin and lutein shield sensitive eye tissues from harmful UV light. Most importantly they protect your eyes from developing cataracts. The American Optometric Association recommends 12 milligrams of these two compounds to receive such benefits.
12. Provide Cardiovascular Support
Leeks have high amounts of kaempferol, a flavonoid that helps protect blood vessels from damage caused by hyperactive oxygen molecules. This method of protecting blood vessels also produces a naturally occurring gas called nitric oxide or NO. Nitric oxide helps dilate and relax blood vessels.
Another advantage of leek is its concentration of folate, which is in its bioactive form and is in fact present in all parts of the plant. Folate promotes heart health and ensures homocysteine levels are in proper balance. Even moderate amounts of homocysteine can bring harm to the cardiovascular system. Folate breaks down homocysteine into beneficial amino acids.
Leeks also contain high amounts of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that play a crucial part in protecting both blood vessels and blood cells from oxidative damage. Lastly, it contain a substantial amount of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is important in improving cardiovascular health and prevents heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular disorders. Fiber helps in the elimination bad cholesterol and prevents plaque formation within the arteries.
13. Can Lower Blood Pressure
Potassium serves as a vasodilator which minimizes the tension from the blood vessels to provide smooth flow of blood through the arteries. Leeks are abundant in this nutrient. Potassium also helps maintain homeostatic balance between sodium, and plays an important role in overall heart muscle contractility.
14. Prevent Anemia
Anemia occurs when your body is deficient in iron. Consuming leeks at a regular basis is a sure way to provide your body the iron it needs to fight and prevent anemia. Leeks are abundant in iron, as well as B vitamins which are necessary pre-cursors for blood cell synthesis. Correcting anemia can translate to enhanced blood flow, and greater oxygen perfusion to cells that need them.
15. Relieves Inflammation
It contain anti-inflammatory properties owing to its high amount of antioxidant vitamins, which effectively; reduces inflammation of the skin and bones. Leeks can also help with management of rheumatic conditions such as arthritis.
16. Leeks are Diuretic
Leeks are natural diuretics. It help you increase the amount of sodium and water expelled from your body as urine. Natural diuretics are beneficial to those individuals with hypertension, helping to preserve kidney function by reducing accumulation of water soluble toxins or salts. . Diuretics work by helping your kidneys flush out more sodium into your urine. Sodium takes water from the blood and reduces the pressure on vessel walls- better known as your blood pressure.
17. Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Leeks are low in calories and are a low glycemic index food. These vegetables inhibit a-amylase activity which supports an array of anti-diabetic functions. A-amylase is what breaks down complex carbs into sugars, which causes blood sugar spikes and crashes. Inhibition of this enzyme slows the speed by which glucose enters blood circulation. Leeks also contain allicin which helps reduce the likelihood of metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy occurring. Flavonoids and antioxidants found in leeks fight free radical damage and strengthen a diabetic individual’s cardiac function.
How to Select and Store Leeks
Leeks should be firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks. Good quality leeks will not be yellowed or wilted, nor have bulbs that have cracks or bruises. Since overly large leeks are generally more fibrous in texture, only purchase those that have a diameter of one and one-half inches or less. Try to purchase leeks that are of similar size so as to ensure more consistent cooking if you are planning on cooking the leeks whole. Leeks are available throughout the year, although they are in greater supply from the fall through the early part of spring.
I encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and leeks are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including leeks. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells leeks but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.)
However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown collard leeks is very likely to be leeks that display the USDA organic logo. Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.
Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating leeks. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids are good examples of nutrients highly susceptible to heat, and for this reason, their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration.
Cooked leeks are highly perishable, and even when kept in the refrigerator, will only stay fresh for about two days. Leeks may be frozen after being blanched for two to three minutes, although they will lose some of their desirable taste and texture qualities. Leeks will keep in the freezer for about three months.
How to Clean Leeks
Consider the leek. It’s majestic, a titan in the onion family. Mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten, though the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can either be cooked longer to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock.
The challenge when cooking with leeks is that they are almost always dirty. When leeks are grown, soil is piled up around them, so that more of the leek is hidden from the sun, and therefore lighter in color and more tender. What produces a beautiful leek, a long pale body, also results in sand and dirt being lodged deep inside the leek.
There are basically two ways to clean leeks, the method you use depends upon how you are going to use the leeks in cooking. The easiest way is to prepare them chopped for use in soup. A little more challenging is preparing a leek for use in a recipe that requires whole leeks. Both methods are detailed here.
Before getting started with either method, rinse the leeks under water to remove visible dirt or sand.
Preparing Leek For Soup
- Cut off the roots of the leeks. Slice the leeks lengthwise.
- Make crosswise cuts: Decide how much of the leek greens you want to use. They are tougher and can be stronger tasting, but soften with long cooking.
- The last couple of inches of the dark green ends should probably be discarded or saved for making stock. (I put mine in a plastic bag and drop it in the freezer.)
- Make crosswise cuts along the parts of the leek that you intend to use.
- Rinse in a bowl of cold water: Place the chopped leeks into a bowl and fill with cold water. (If the leeks are especially dirty, rinse them first in a colander, before covering with water.) Use your hands to agitate the leeks and dislodge any dirt or sand that may be clinging to them.
- Scoop the leeks out of the water with a sieve or slotted spoon and place in a new bowl.
Cleaning And Preparing Whole Leeks
- Cut from opening to ends of greens: Place leek on a cutting board. Insert the tip of a sharp knife about a 1/4-inch below the lowest opening in the leek. Cut straight through, up to and through the green ends of the leek, leaving the pale part of the leek whole.
- Rinse: Fan open the leek and place under cold running water. Rinse out any dirt or sand. If the leek is especially dirty, you may want to make another similar cut through the leek to further be able to fan the leek open.
- Cut off dark green tops: Cut off the dark green tops of the leek, reserving on the body of the leek as much of the dark green as you want. We like the taste (it’s basically just a big onion green), so we typically keep about 2 to 3 inches or so of the dark green part with the body of the leeks. Discard the dark greens or save them to flavor soups or stews, or use for making stock.
- Cut of the root end of the leeks, staying as close to the roots as possible. Cutting close to the roots will hold the leeks together when cooking them whole.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Leeks
Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
The Nutrient-Rich Way of Cooking Leeks
Healthy Sauté is our favorite method for cooking leeks.
Healthy Sauté—similar to Quick Boiling and Quick Steaming, our other recommended cooking methods—follows three basic cooking guidelines that are generally associated in food science research with improved nutrient retention. These three guidelines are: minimal necessary heat exposure; minimal necessary cooking duration; minimal necessary food surface contact with cooking liquid.
Heat 3 tablespoons of broth in 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet until it begins to steam. Add 1 pound of cut leeks. Cover and Healthy Sauté for 4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of broth, reduce heat to medium low, and Healthy Sauté for 3 more minutes uncovered while stirring frequently. Toss with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Quick Serving Ideas For Leeks
- Healthy sauté leeks and fennel. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.
- Add finely chopped leeks to salads.
- Make vichyssoise, a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.
- Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring.
- Braised leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.
- Add sliced leeks to your favorite omelet or frittata recipe.
Tips for Consuming More Leeks
Leeks’ mild flavor works well in vegetable-based dishes. Saute thinly sliced leeks in olive oil and a small amount of vegetable broth, then garnish with chopped basil immediately before serving. Prepare a healthful but decadent breakfast by cooking leeks and chopped sweet potatoes in a cast iron skillet, and then cracking an egg on top and broiling until it’s set. Use leeks in crustless quiche — they pair particularly well with mushrooms and red peppers, or make homemade leek and potato soup for a hearty meal to warm you up in cool weather.
Leek and Celery Root Soup
- 3 tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), trimmed, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into thin half-moon slices, rinsed thoroughly, and drained
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
- 1-1/2 lb. celery root (about 1 large)
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche (raw)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (raw); more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chive
- In a 4-quart or larger heavy-based pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly golden but not brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low if you see signs of browning.
- Meanwhile, peel the celery root with a sharp knife (expect to slice quite a bit off the exterior as you trim). Halve the peeled celery root lengthwise and cut each half into 1-inch-thick wedges. Cut each wedge crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 5 cups.
- Add the celery root, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to the leeks. Cover and cook until the celery root is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check occasionally; if all the water cooks off and the vegetables start to brown, add another 1/2 cup water.) Add 4-1/2 cups water, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook another 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Purée the soup (with a hand blender, or in small batches in a stand blender) to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let cool completely and then store in the refrigerator at least overnight or for up to two days.
- About an hour before serving, put the crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir in enough of the heavy cream so that the mixture reaches the consistency of yogurt. Leave the cream mixture at room temperature until you are ready to serve the soup. (If the cream is too cold, it will cool the soup.)
- Reheat the soup. (If it’s too thick, gradually thin it with as much as 1 cup water.) Taste and add more salt as needed. Ladle the soup into small espresso cups or bowls. Top each portion with a small spoonful of crème fraîche (it should float on top of the soup). Finish each cup with a pinch of black pepper and a sprinkle of chives.
- Makes about 6 cups.
Poached Eggs Over Sautéed Greens
Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 4 eggs, preferably organic
- 1 tsp light vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
- about 4 cups water
- 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, about 1 large leek, white part only
- 6 medium cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 cups finely chopped kale
- 3 + 5 TBS chicken broth
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Slice leeks and garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out their health-promoting properties.
- Bring water and vinegar to a fast simmer in a skillet large enough to fit eggs. Make sure there is enough water to cover eggs.
- While water is coming to a simmer, heat 3 TBS broth in a separate stainless steel 10-12 inch skillet. Healthy
- Sauté sliced leeks in broth over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and continue to saute, stirring constantly for another minute.
- Add kale, broth, and lemon juice, and simmer covered on medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When done season with salt and pepper.
- Poach eggs until desired doneness. This will take about 5 minutes, or just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove from vinegar water with a slotted spoon and place on top of greens.
- Serves 4
Braised Salmon with Leeks
Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 medium leeks, cut lengthwise
- 4 medium cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 TBS + 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 TBS + 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 1 TBS fresh chopped tarragon
- 1-1/2 lbs salmon fillet, cut into 8 pieces, skin and bones removed
- salt and white pepper to taste
- Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Now, holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as chiffonade cut. Make sure slices are cut very thin.
- Let leeks and garlic sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health benefits.
- Heat 1 TBS broth in 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté leeks over medium heat in broth for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add 1/2 cup broth and lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
- Rub salmon with 1 TBS fresh lemon juice, salt and white pepper.
- Stir fresh tarragon, salt, and pepper into leeks, and place salmon on top of leeks. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, covered, or until salmon is pink inside. Time may vary a little depending on thickness of salmon.
- Serve leeks topped with salmon and drizzle with juice.
- Serves 4
Serving Suggestions: Serve with Pureed Sweet Peas
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup sliced leeks, about 1 leek
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 1 TBS + 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat 1 TBS broth in a 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté sliced leeks in broth over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add kale and 1/4 cup broth.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toss with pressed garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Serves 2
Baked Leeks With Cheese and Yogurt Topping
Choose tender young leeks for this recipe
- 8 small leeks
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 150g fresh goat’s cheese
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a shallow baking dish.
- Trim the leeks, cut a slit from top to bottom and rinse well under cold water.
- Place the leeks in a saucepan of water, bring to a boil and simmer gently until just tender. Remove and drain well using a slotted spoon. Arrange in the prepared dish.
- Beat egg with the goat cheese, yogurt and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and season well with salt and pepper.
- Pour the cheese and yogurt mixture over the leeks. Mix breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese together and sprinkle over the sauce. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden brown.
Baked Salmon Stuffed With Leeks
We usually enjoy this with a side of couscous and steamed sugar snap peas.
- 1 whole salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 medium leeks
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- Salt & pepper
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Bunch of fresh dill
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- Roughly chop leeks in ¼ inch rounds. Wash according to cleaning instructions above and drain well.
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt butter and oil together. Add leeks and sauté gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir often, being careful not to let them brown. Season with salt. When they are cooked, remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
- In the meantime, prepare the salmon. Place whole fillet, skin-side down on a large cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut a generous slit on the side of the fillet, deep into the center, but not all the way through—much like you would a sub sandwich.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon on the parchment and fold back the top layer of fish.
- Preheat over to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, soy sauce, and olive oil. With a microplane, grate the clove of garlic into the bowl and mix well. Spoon marinade all over the fillet of salmon, reserving a bit for the top.
- Spread leek mixture evenly over the bottom layer of salmon and fold the top layer back down. Spread the remaining marinade on the top of the salmon.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes until salmon is firm, but still moist.
- Using two sturdy spatulas, transfer stuffed salmon to a serving platter and garnish with chopped dill, toasted pine nuts and lemon slices if desired.
Negative Effects Of Leeks
Not Safe For Individuals Who Are Allergic To Onions
Consuming onions on a regular basis is beneficial for us as it provides a number of health benefits and as well as beauty benefits. However, Onion is not a safe product to consume for the individuals who are allergic to onions. If you are the one of those who is allergic to onion then you should stay clear of it as it could otherwise give rise to allergic symptoms like redness of skin and eyes, itchy skin, difficulty in breathing, oral swelling, and tingling. It could also lower your blood pressure level to a dangerously low level for which you may need to seek immediate medical attention.
May Cause Intestinal Gas And Abdominal Bloating
Another side effect of eating too many onions is their ability to cause intestinal gas in our body. This side effect of onion is mainly due to the presence of natural sugars like fructose in it. Our stomach is not much efficient in digesting most sugars and fructose is one of them. As sugar doesn’t get digested properly by our stomach so they enter into the intestines where they get broken down by the bacteria, and during this process, gas gets formed.
In lower quantity, this is not a threat. However, if you are consuming too many onions then the level of intestinal gas could increase and this may give rise to digestive problems like abdominal bloating, discomfort, increased flatulence etc. The symptoms thus experienced could get worse if your digestive system is intolerant to onions. Food Intolerance is not life threating, but sometimes it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
May Cause Heartburn
Eating onion on a regular and moderate basis is beneficial for our heart and helps in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy. However, too much of everything is bad and same goes with onions. As per a 1990 study published in the “American Journal of Gastroenterology”, it has been found that people who eat onions in excessive quantity are more likely to experience digestive problems like heartburn, and pregnant women are at a higher risk of heartburn.
Heartburn is a condition in which one feels a burning sensation and extreme pain in his chest. This mainly occurs when the acid present in our stomach get flows in the upward direction into the esophagus. For this reason, it is advisable to eat onions in moderation and pregnant women should consume onions only after consulting with their doctor.
May Interfere With Certain Medications
Another major side effect of eating too many onions is their ability to interfere with the blood-thinning drugs. Onions especially green onions contain a high level of Vitamin K in them. Vitamin K present is a naturally occurring vitamin that aids in blood clotting and this is the exact opposite of what blood thinner do. So, if you are taking blood-thinning medicines like coumadin then you should take a watch on your vitamin K intake, and this is another reason of eating onions in moderation.
Too Much Potassium Is Bad For Our Health
Onions are an excellent source of potassium which is a vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels and thus improves blood circulation in our body. By doing so, it regulates blood pressure and thus reduces the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension. Although this is an advantage of onions, it could turn into a disadvantage if you are eating too many onions.
This is because eating too many onions could lower our blood pressure to a dangerously low level and this may give rise to hypotension which is characterized by the symptoms like fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, depression, blurry vision etc.
In addition to this, if you are already taking medication for controlling high blood pressure or hypertension then also you should eat onions in moderation as combined effect of both the medicines and the onions can decrease your blood pressure to a dangerously low level.
Can Be Irritative To Skin of Some Individuals
Onion is beneficial not only for our health but also for our skin, and for this reason onion juice is being used for treating skin bruises, wounds, pimples etc. This benefit of onion is mainly due to the anti-septic properties of onions. However, it should also be noted that not everyone’s skin is comfortable with onions and some are allergic to onions. These individuals must avoid applying onion or onion juice on their skin as it may otherwise cause the allergic reaction like skin itching, irritation, redness of skin etc.
May Cause Bad Breath And Strong After Smell
Onions contain a good amount of sulfur that provides a number of benefits like cell detoxification, aids insulin production,make arteries and veins flexible. However, it is also linked to causing bad breath and strong after smell. For this reason, it is advisable to eat onions in limited quantity.
May Worsen Cardiovascular Problems
Regular and moderate consumption of onions is very beneficial for our heart and helps in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy. This benefit of onion is mainly due to the presence of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients etc. in them.The potassium present in onions acts as a vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels and improves blood circulation in our body, and thus reduces the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension.
By regulating high blood pressure, it also reduces the risk of various cardiovascular problems. However, it should be noted that eating too many onions is not so good for our cardiovascular health.This is because the high level of potassium in our body can lower the blood pressure level to an extremely low level and this may give rise to hypotension. In addition to this, high level of potassium in our body can give rise to cardiovascular complications like irregular heartbeat, heart stroke etc. This is another reason for not eating onions in excessive quantity.
May Lowers Blood Sugar To Dangerously Low Level
Regular and moderate consumption of onions is very beneficial for the individuals suffering from diabetes or who are at a risk of developing diabetes. This benefit of onion is mainly because of the low glycemic index of onion. It should be noted that glycemic index of onion is only 10 which is considered a low figure and this means that eating onions releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate and thus helps in managing diabetes. In addition to this, the chromium compound present in onions also plays an important role in diabetes management as it slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
However, it should be noted that eating too many onions could lower the blood sugar level to a dangerously low level giving rise to hypoglycemia, characterized by the symptoms like blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, headache, dizziness, trouble thinking etc. Additionally, if you are already taking medication for regulating your blood sugar level then consuming onions in excessive quantity could worsen the situation and lowers your blood sugar to a dangerously low level.
Too Much Fiber is Bad
Onions are an excellent source of dietary fibers that provides a number of health benefits. The dietary fibers present in onions plays an important role in keeping our digestive system healthy as it acts as a natural laxative, improves bowel movement and thus provides relief from constipation and other digestive problems like abdominal bloating, indigestion, flatulence etc.
In addition to this, the dietary fibers are also beneficial for keeping our cardiovascular system healthy as it aids in eliminating bad LDL cholesterol from our body, and increases the level of good HDL cholesterol. It also aids in weight management as it keeps our stomach satisfied for a longer duration, decreases our urge to eat again and again, and thus controls overeating and obesity.
Although dietary fibers present in onions provides a number of benefits, still it is better to eat them in moderation as high level of dietary fibers is bad for our health and give rise to problems like cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal gas, abdominal bloating, intestinal blockage etc.
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