Celebrate spring with some bright fresh flavours, have an Easter feast and bake some treats with the kids. There are loads of ideas up on the blog now. Let me point you in the direction of some delicious dishes which will work perfectly this Easter. Liz x
Leeks are such beautiful vegetables and they grow really well here in Ireland. Make the most of their sweet, mellow flavour by giving them the starring role on your plate. I absolutely adore them in this easy tarte tatin recipe – a must try!
As part of my ‘4 Ways With…” series, here are 4 new luscious leek recipes for you. Let us know your favourite leek recipes in the comments or over on our facebook group. We love to see what you make with our wonderful organic produce. As always, the words in bold are clickable links which will take you to our shop so that you can easily find the products to add to your order.
Mushroom, Leek & Butterbean Pie
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
- 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
- 2 tbsp of butter or oil
- 2 leeks
- 250g mushrooms
- 2 tins butterbeans
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 6 springs of thyme
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- half glass of white wine or a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp flour
- large handful nutritional yeast
- oat milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Split the leeks in half, lengthways, keeping them intact at the base. Run them under a tap and rinse out all the mud between the layers.
Slice the dark green part of the leeks into 1-2cm chunks and the mushrooms into halves or quarters and sauté with the butter or oil and a pinch of salt.
When the mushrooms and dark greens have started to cook down a little, slice the pale part of the leeks and add that to the pan too with an extra pinch of salt.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves and pull off the thyme leaves and add them to the pan too. Sauté gently for around 10 minutes or until very fragrant and the vegetables are softened and mostly cooked through.
Add the mustard and either a half glass of white wine or a tiny splash of vinegar and stir well.
Sprinkle in the flour and nutritional yeast, stir to coat the vegetables, and then add generous splashes of oat milk and keep stirring and cooking out the flour until you get to to a silky, creamy consistency.
Then either tip the filling into a pie dish and cover quickly with pastry or pop the pastry straight onto your pan if it is oven and hob safe. Work to get the pie in the oven quickly if your filling is still hot otherwise the pastry will melt.
Put the pie into the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and the filling is bubbling. Slice into wedges and serve with steamed greens and some extra wholegrain mustard on the side.
Leek & Potato Soup
Ingredients (serves 2 or 4 as starters)
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 1 leek
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 stock cube
- 1/2 a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- *optional extras – garlic, celery, carrot, fresh herbs, a tin of chickpeas/white beans…
Leek and potato soup couldn’t be simpler and it’s my kids favourite soup. They like it left chunky and brothy like in the photo, but it’s delicious blended smooth too.
Sauté the green part of the leek (thinly sliced) in the oil/butter with diced potatoes until softening – about 8 minutes.
Add the thinly sliced paler part of the leek, optional extras like garlic, thyme, rosemary, diced celery or carrots etc and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add a stock cube and cover the vegetables with hot water.
Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Then either leave chunky or blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. I always like a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper in my soup to brighten and lift the flavours.
*Bulk it out and add some plant protein with a drained tin of chickpeas or white beans simmered into the soup.
Leeks Vinaigrette with Lentils & Herbs
Ingredients (serves 2 or 4 as a side)
- 1 leek
- 1 tbsp oil or butter
- 1 tin of green lentils (or cook dried lentils from scratch)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- salt to taste
- fresh herbs (tarragon or dill go really well here)
- *optional extras – toasted nuts or seeds, capers, olives…
Traditionally, leeks are boiled in salted water then cooled and drained before dressing with a classic vinaigrette. I like to half sauté and half steam my leeks to add a little caramelised colour to the dish.
Split and wash the leeks, keeping them intact at the root end. Then cut into long chunks, about the length of your index finger.
Place the leeks – beautiful, stripy, cut side down – in a hot frying pan with the butter or oil. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and allow the leeks to take on some colour. Don’t move them around in the pan, let them sit in one delicate piece. Then after about 4 minutes, put the lid on the frying pan and allow the leeks to steam in their own juices. You may wish to turn the heat down to medium at this stage.
Test that they are cooked through with a small, sharp knife. Then plate them up.
Put the cooked lentils into a large bowl or platter (drain the tin or simmer dried lentils in stock until soft). Make a classic vinaigrette by mixing the olive oil, vinegar and dijon mustard with a pinch of salt.
Arrange the leeks on top of the lentils and drench with the vinaigrette. Then scatter over some freshly picked tarragon or dill and enjoy with some fresh, crusty bread and a crisp glass of white wine.
*Sprinkle over some toasted walnuts or other nuts or seeds you like or some salty capers or green olives to give the salad an extra dimension.
Charred Leeks with Romesco Sauce
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 2 leeks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar, or roast and peel your own)
- 1 small garlic clove or half of one
- a large handful or so of toasted almonds (place the almonds in a small tin in a hot oven for 5 minutes or until toasted)
- 1 tbsp sherry/red-wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
This recipe is my nod to the Catalonian calçot festival which I have never been to but have high on my bucket list. Calçots are extraordinary vegetables, somewhere between a small leek and a large scallion, so leeks work really well as an alternative. Traditionally calçots are grilled over open flame until blackened on the outside and perfectly sweet, smokey and juicy inside. Then they are wrapped in newspaper and left to rest. They are delightfully messy to eat. Peel off the burnt outer layer, dunk the sweet middle in nutty romesco sauce and lower the sweet, tender vegetable into your mouth and enjoy.
My version with leeks is so delicious, you’ve just got to try it! I love this messy meal with some really good bread to mop up the juices and a large glass of red wine. We sell some excellent organic Spanish wines which would go perfectly.
Make the romesco sauce by blending the almonds, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar into a semi-smooth sauce. Taste and season with a big pinch of salt.
Split and rinse the leeks, leaving the roots intact. Then slice them into long pieces, carefully keeping the layers all together.
Carefully put them in a large, hot frying pan with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and allow them to take on a good amount of colour before covering the pan with a lid and steaming them in their own juices until soft.
They should be soft all the way through and the burnt edges should contrast beautifully with the sweet, silky middles.
Spread some romesco sauce on a large platter, then place the hot leeks on top and eat them immediately. Scoop them up with a fork or your hands and finish off the sauce with torn chunks of bread. Absolutely delicious!
Introducing the slightly more laborious, but much more exciting cousin of macaroni cheese! Béchamel Baked Butternut Gnocchi! This is comfort food at it’s finest.
My vegan béchamel sauce is very simple to put together, and for this I’ve simply whisked it up and poured it over sautéed celery and leek. Then I popped in lots of freshly boiled butternut gnocchi (not as tricky to make as it seems), scattered over some tangy capers and crushed pumpkin seeds and baked it until the béchamel was bubbling and thickened! I got some gorgeous cherry tomatoes in my box last week so I placed them on top to roast in the oven. Their bright acidity is the perfect foil to the creamy richness of the béchamel and gnocchi.
I’d love to see your photos if you make this dish. Share them with us over on our friendly facebook group or tag us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram and don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends. Liz x
Ingredients for the Gnocchi
- 1 butternut squash
- enough plain flour to bring it into a dough (this varies depending on the water content and size of your squash)
- salt, pepper and optional herbs or spices (sage/rosemary/thyme/chilli flakes…)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Cut a small butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it – cut side down – in a hot oven (200C) until the flesh is soft all the way through. Test it with a small knife, it should easily slide into the soft, roasted butternut. (This normally takes 30 minutes or so. While it’s in the oven, get on with the sauce and preparing the toppings below.)
Allow the squash to cool to the point where you can easily handle it, then scoop out all the roasted flesh and mash or blend it into a smooth purée.
Find your biggest pot, 2/3rds fill it with water and get it on the stove to heat up to a rolling boil while you make the gnocchi.
Season the purée with salt and pepper and taste to check the seasoning. It should be slightly too salty as you are going to fold in a fair bit of flour. You can also add optional extra flavours at this stage. For example chilli flakes and sage or rosemary and lemon zest… or just leave it plain, that’s delicious too!
Then stir in enough flour to turn the purée into a soft dough. You can use plain flour (make sure there are no raising agents in it) or strong bread flour or even a gluten free plain flour blend. Gnocchi works best with white flour rather than wholemeal.
The amount of flour varies depending on the size and moisture content of your squash. Just start with a mug or so, gently fold it in and keep going until it’s the right consistency to be tipped out onto a floured work surface and very briefly kneaded. You want to work it as little as possible to keep it tender, but just enough to bring it together into a manageable ball of dough. It should be soft and sticky, get a helper to keep dusting the work surface and your hands with flour to make it more manageable.
Cut the ball of dough into 4, then roll one of the quarters into a thick snake. Chop the snake into little bites. If you want to make little traditional looking grooves in the gnocchi you can stamp each bite with a fork or you can roll them over a gnocchi board if you have one… or simply roll them into balls.
Then drop the gnocchi into the now boiling water in batches. Gently loosen them from the bottom of the pot with a slotted spoon. When they rise to the top of the water they are done and can be scooped out and placed in the sauce below. I do them in batches of one snake at a time, then while that batch is boiling I get the next snake ready.
Keep going until all your gnocchi dough is used up. If you make too much for the bake, then you can cool down and keep the excess boiled gnocchi in the fridge/freezer and use it another day (pan fry it with a little olive oil or butter and serve with pesto and salad?)
Ingredients for the Béchamel & Toppings
- 2 leeks – rinsed and sliced
- 4 sticks of celery – rinsed and sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic – peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 150g plain flour (wheat/spelt/gluten free all work)
- 1 litre milk (oat milk is very creamy – perfect for béchamel)
- 1 tbsp Dijon/English style mustard
- 20g nutritional yeast (plus a little extra for topping)
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 handful of pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 tbsp capers
- cherry tomatoes
In an oven and hob safe, large, wide pan, sauté the sliced celery, leek and garlic with the butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper until soft. Then turn off the heat. (If you don’t have an oven and hob safe large dish like this, you can just sauté the veg and tip it into a roasting tray instead.)
Then whisk the flour, milk, mustard, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large jug or mixing bowl and pour the mixture over the sautéed celery and leeks.
Boil the gnocchi in batches as above and pop them into the dish on top of the sauce.
In a small blender or large pestle and mortar, crush/blend the handful of pumpkin seeds with a small handful of nutritional yeast for a crunchy, savoury topping. Scatter this over the gnocchi and sauce.
Sprinkle over the capers and cherry tomatoes then pop the dish into the oven (with an optional drizzle of olive oil) to bake until the gnocchi are burnished golden brown and the sauce is thick and bubbling. This should take around 20-30 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad and an ice cold glass of white wine and enjoy!
I love a tarte tatin. It’s one of those deceptively simple dishes. One that wows your guests but is actually really very easy to make. A traditional tarte tatin is a French dessert made with caramelised apples and puff pastry. But you can take the concept and run with it in any direction. I love making savoury versions as a light lunch or fancy looking starter with beautiful, bitter salad leaves. Balsamic beetroot? Parsnip and apple? Red onion? Brussels sprout and chestnut? The list goes on. But my favourite by far has to be this luscious leek version.
Leek might be one of the most underrated vegetables. When highlighted like this and showcased as the main event, leeks really stand out as the beautiful, sweet, soft vegetables that they are. Mellow and silky, leeks go incredibly well with vinegar and thyme. If you want to take it up a notch you could add a slick of Dijon mustard to the pastry before tucking it over the leeks too. Another variation I make sometimes is with a sprinkle of capers in the base of the pan. That combination of sweet, sharp and fragrant is so incredibly good. I hope you enjoy it!
Did you try this recipe? Don’t forget to share it with your friends, tag us @greenearthorganics1 in any photos on Instagram and let us know how it went in the comments. Liz x
Ingredients (serves 8 as a starter)
- 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
- 2 leeks
- 20 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- half a handful of sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional extras – capers and Dijon mustard
- bitter leaves to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C. Get an oven and hob safe pan ready. If you don’t have one you can use a baking dish and do the entire process in steps in the oven instead.
Start by cleaning the leeks. The easiest way to do this is to split them down the middle, keeping the root end intact, then run them under a tap to quickly clean the mud out of each layer.
In an oven and hob safe pan, melt the butter then add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle over the sugar and half the thyme leaves. (If you want to add capers to the dish, do it now. Sprinkle a tbsp or two evenly into the pan for the odd little salty flavour bomb.)
Then measure the leeks against the pan and cut them in long slices to snugly fit, cut side down, the entire base of the pan. Try and keep the slices intact, don’t move them around once they are in place.
Add the vinegar to the leeks and then season them well with a big pinch of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Add a few more fresh thyme leaves – reserve some for decorating the dish at the end. Allow the leeks to par cook on the hob so that they start to caramelise with the sugar and fat before adding the pastry.
Turn the heat off then, working quickly, cover the leeks with the puff pastry. Trim it to size and use the off cuts to fill any gaps. This will be the bottom of the tart so no need to be too neat. (If you’d like to add Dijon mustard, brush it over the pastry before popping it on the leeks, mustard side down.)
Tuck the pastry gently in around the edges then pop the dish into the oven to bake. It should only take around 20 minutes or so but just keep an eye on it. It’s ready when the pastry is risen and golden.
Then take the pan out of the oven and let it settle for a couple of minutes. Put a large platter or wooden chopping board over the pan, then in one swift, confident movement, turn the dish upside down (don’t forget to use oven gloves as the pan will still be hot!)
Carefully pick up the upside down pan and you should have a gorgeous dish! Sprinkle over some more fresh thyme leaves, slice with a large, very sharp knife and serve with a simple salad.
Here’s a quick video of the recipe. Hope you find it helpful!
This would be fantastic with a chilled glass of white wine. Check out our organic selection here.
Parsnip & Pear Soup with Hazelnut Dukka
This soup is very simple, but delicately sophisticated. I would say it’s even good enough for the festive table! Parsnips and pears are a match made in heaven and I think you’ll agree that my hazelnut dukka really makes the dish sing. The spiced, toasty crunch of dukka offsets the sweetness of the parsnips and pears, and a little drizzle of peppery extra virgin oil rounds off the bowl.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
- 1 knob of butter
- the white part of a leek – rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 scrubbed and trimmed parsnip – roughly chopped
- 2 small pears – quartered and cored
- salt to taste
- pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- hazelnut dukka (see recipe below)
In a pot, gently soften the leeks, parsnip and pear with the olive oil, butter and a pinch of salt. Once the vegetables start to soften and wilt down, just cover them with water and simmer until the parsnips are cooked through. Then blend the soup until very smooth with a handheld stick blender (or let it cool down and blend in a food processor). Taste for seasoning and add more salt and a fragrant pinch of nutmeg if you like (this just makes it extra festive). Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of hazelnut dukka.
Dukka is an Egyptian nut and spice blend which is absolutely delicious. You’ll be hooked once you try it so it’s worth learning to make your own. My version is fairly simple to make.
I find an empty jar that I want to store it in and half fill it with hazelnuts. Walnuts or mixed nuts are great too. Then toast the nuts (for hazelnuts, I do this in a tray in a hot oven – just keep an eye on them and give the tray a shake every now and then so that they toast evenly – it should only take around 10 minutes).
Then tip the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel on your work surface, place another tea towel on top and rub your hands quite firmly on the tea towel and the skins will just flake off. Then pick out the skinned and toasted hazelnuts and chop them with a large, sharp knife and put them in the jar.
The rest of the jar space should be taken up with toasted sesame, cumin and coriander seeds in fairly equal proportions. I just eyeball it and toast these one at a time in a dry frying pan, or altogether in the oven. I like to bash up the toasted coriander seeds a bit with a pestle and mortar first.
Then give the jar a shake to mix up the ingredients, let it cool completely with the lid off before popping the jar on your shelf to use on lots of different dishes. Your dukka should stay fresh for at least a month.
Did you make this soup? Let us know how it went in the comments and feel free to share the recipe with your friends and family. Share photos of our recipes on the Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating Facebook page or tag us @greenearthorganics1 over on Instagram. We love to see our recipes leave the page! Liz x