The humble leek is often sadly overlooked in British cooking, but its sweet, delicate flavour has much to offer. Leeks are taller, more slender member of the allium family, which essentially means onions, garlic, shallots and similar bulbs. They have a number of similar uses in cooking and in health, according to these leeks nutrition facts.
Leeks nutrition values – it’s all about the allicin…
Leeks are little powerhouses of nutrition, offering a wonderful low calorie health boost – you’re looking at 61 calories per 100g. Like garlic, leeks are rich in thio-sulfinites for anti-oxidant powers and have been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol production.
The allicin they contain has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and has also been said to soften blood vessels and so reduce blood pressure. This little wonder nutrient can help to protect against strokes, coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular diseases by breaking down existing blood clots and preventing new ones from forming.
Vitamin and mineral leeks nutrition values
Among the vitamin content in leeks you can count on folic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamin, so they’re great for pregnant women to eat to prevent neural tube defects in the foetus, or simply as part of an all round healthy diet.
Leeks are also great free radical fighters, containing the anti-oxidants vitamin A, carotenenes, lutein, xanthin plus vitamins C, K and E. Look to the stalk for a healthy provision of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Given all of leeks nutrition values, what’s really amazing is just how delicious this winter vegetable is to eat! Whether served simply with a knob of butter or baked into rich tarts and pastries, the leek is very versatile. This is a useful, quick dish for those days when you’ve run out of ideas for supper.
Leek, bacon and cheese penne
To serve 4:
- 300g leeks, finely sliced
- 200g bacon lardons
- 400g penne pasta
- 100g garlic and herb cream cheese
Fry the leeks gently in a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of water for about 10 minutes, until soft. Increase the heat and add the bacon lardons, frying until cooked.
In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the pack directions and drain, reserving about 200ml of the cooking water. Add the cream cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water to the leek and bacon mixture, season and stir gently until the cheese has melted. Add the penne and stir through until coated with the cheese sauce – you may want to add a little more pasta water.