Tasty and Tender Roasted Leeks with Parmesan is a simple and delicious side that tends to disappear from plates in minutes. Mild yet flavorful, it’s a whole family dish that uses an often neglected but nutritious low-carb veggie, leek. Roasting makes leek mellow and almost caramelized. Topped with delectable freshly grated Parmesan, this side dish is a must-try!
How to make these Tasty and Tender Roasted Leeks with Parmesan
This dish is pretty straightforward to make. You trim, cut, and clean the leeks, lay them on a baking dish, rub with olive oil and spices, roast in the oven, and finally add some Parmesan on top and roast a bit more to let the Parmesan melt and create a palatable crusty topping. Easy as pie — or actually even easier!
I’ve seen basically every leek recipe discarding the nutritious dark green parts and using only the white and the light green parts. For me, that sounds like a despicable waste of food — especially nutritious food. I prefer to use the whole leek, just trim the hairy ends and the dry tops, usually about 1—2 inches (2.5—5 cm) from the top.
When roasting leeks, it’s of utmost importance to cover the leek (especially the green parts!) generously with extra-virgin olive oil. With enough oil, the leeks don’t burn but create a tasty, roasted, and soft result.
That’s it. Let’s take a look at how to prepare this delicious dish:
Take two large leeks. As you see, these two are exactly the same weight by accident!
Trim the leeks: remove the outer leaves, the hairy ends, and the dried green tops.
Cut the leek lengthwise into about 4-inch (10 cm) pieces. Use the whole leek — don’t throw the dark greek parts away!
Halve the pieces.
Rinse the leeks well (there is usually dirt lurking inside, as you see in this photo, so be sure to get rid of it).
Place the leek pieces into about 11 × 8-inch (28 × 23 cm) baking dish, cut side up.
Drizzle about 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil on the leeks.
Rub it well so that it also gets inside the leeks.
Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) of natural salt on top. This is unrefined sea salt.
Crack some black pepper as well.
Ready to roast!
Roast at 400 °F (200 °C) for 20 minutes.
Take 1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly grated Parmesan and sprinkle it on top.
Continue roasting until tender, about 10—15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve as a fabulous side.
How I came up with this easy keto side dish recipe
Onions, in general, are relatively high in carbs, so they should be enjoyed in moderation on a keto diet. However, leeks are the lowest in carbs from all onion varieties, so you can eat them more freely. Leek has just a half of the carbs of the regular yellow onion!
Besides being low in carbs, leeks are nutritious (especially if you also use the green tops!) and very tasty. They are not that pungent like many other onion varieties. The taste is much gentler on your tastebuds. Therefore, leeks make an ideal ingredient for a clean keto diet and for the whole family.
Raw leeks lend fabulous flavor to salads, but leeks also taste awesome when cooked, baked, or roasted. Talking about roasting leeks, I had written down a simple side dish idea involving roasted leeks. It took me several months, maybe even a year, to return back to my idea and start developing the recipe in more detail.
You might remember that I spent a couple of weeks in my summer house in the middle of nowhere and returned home a week ago. In the summer house, I finally decided to put my idea about roasted leeks into practice.
I wanted to keep the recipe simple and use just salt and pepper as seasonings. I knew I wanted to add extra-virgin olive oil to make the dish richer and simply to prevent the leeks from burning and getting too brown while roasting.
However, this sounded a bit too simple. I was pondering what else to add to my recipe than leeks, EVOO, salt, and pepper.
Then, I realized cheese would be the ultimate perfecting ingredient for my dish! I wanted to use Parmesan, but I didn’t have it in the summer house, and it would have taken half an hour to drive to the nearest grocery store (and another half an hour back!).
Luckily, I had Appenzeller cheese and decided to use it in my first experiment. I could always fine-tune the recipe later, but now I wanted to see how my simple dish turns out and how my idea works. Anyway, with these great, fresh, and simple ingredients, it was very unlikely that anything could go wrong.
I took one large leek, cut it into pieces, and the pieces into halves. I rubbed the halves with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and placed them cut side down on a baking dish. I thought I first roast them cut side down, and later, when adding cheese, I turn them the cut side top. I was afraid that they would turn too dark if I roasted them only on the cut side top.
I was also planning to add the Parmesan after roasting the leeks for some time as I expected the cheese would burn if I added it in the beginning.
After roasting the leeks for 20 minutes at 400 °F (200 °C), I removed them from the oven, turned the cut side up, and sprinkled about 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan on top. I roasted the leeks still about 10 minutes, until they were completely soft and slightly caramelized.
The dish tasted superb, and the cheese was the perfect addition to leeks. The only drawback was that the dish was so small! I concluded that the final recipe would certainly be larger and maybe with a tad more olive oil. And although Appenzeller was delectable, I was sure the recipe would turn out perfect with Parmesan.
At home, I was ready to make the final recipe. I took two leeks, prepared them, and laid them in the baking dish. After drizzling the planned two tablespoons of olive oil on top of the leeks, I noticed it was far too little, so I added another two tablespoons, making it altogether 1/4 cup (60 ml) of olive oil.
This time, I simply laid the leek halves cut side up. Turning them in the middle of roasting felt like an unnecessary extra step. And now, when there was enough oil, they wouldn’t definitely burn, I thought.
I hesitated how much grated Parmesan I would need for the perfect result. I wanted the leeks to be cheesy but not that the cheese would be overpowering. I decided to add 1/2 cup (120 ml) and see how it looks.
It looked just the right amount, adding a nice, crunchy, cheesy top, but not that the looks and the taste would have been too cheesy. Even it’s hard to imagine, there can be too much cheese!
Now, the dish was perfect. The leeks were soft, tender, and tasty. The olive oil made the dish delectably rich, and the crispy, golden Parmesan was like icing on the cake. So awesome and so delicious!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 2 large leeks
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon natural salt (like unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt)
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
2. Trim the leeks: remove the outer leaves, the hairy ends, and the dried green tops.
3. Cut the leek lengthwise into about 4-inch (10 cm) pieces. Use the whole leek — don't throw the dark greek parts away!
4. Halve the pieces and rinse them well (there is usually dirt lurking inside, so be sure to get rid of it).
5. Place the leek pieces into about 11 × 8-inch (28 × 23 cm) baking dish, cut side up. Rub the leeks with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
6. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven.
8. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
9. Continue roasting until tender, slightly brown, and caramelized, about 10—15 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and serve as a fabulous side.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases - without any extra costs for you.
Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
Starwest Botanicals Organic Malabar Black Whole, Pepper, 16 Ounce
Simply Organic White Pepper, Certified Organic | 2.86 oz | Piper nigrum L.
Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt - 5 lbs. Extra-Fine Grain
Redmond Real Salt - Ancient Fine Sea Salt, Unrefined Mineral Salt, 26 Ounce Pouch (4 Pack)
Terra Creta | Certified PDO ORGANIC Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5Ltr | Award Winning | Single Origin & Single Estate Kolymvari | 100% Pure Greek Olive Oil | Cold Extracted | Certified Kosher
|Nutrition info||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total||Per serving if 6 servings in total|
|Protein||15.6 g||3.9 g||2.6 g|
|Fat||69.5 g||17.4 g||11.6 g|
|Net carbs||15.4 g||3.9 g||2.6 g|
|kcal||763 kcal||191 kcal||127 kcal|
Tips for variations
This dish is easy to vary with different seasonings. Instead of plain salt and pepper, you can try other peppers and spices, like white pepper, rose pepper, green pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, barbecue seasoning, or Cajun seasoning.
Feel free to season the dish with herbs. Rub the leeks with dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, chervil, sage, or parsley. You can also use herb mixes, like Herbes de Provence or Italian Herb Mix.
You can naturally use fresh herbs, like basil, however, sprinkle them on top of the ready dish right before serving, so that they retain their taste and they don’t get wilted.
I would certainly make a version seasoned with Montreal Steak Spice just because I adore that spice and because it sounds like a fascinating combination with leeks!
I bet a dash of lemon juice makes this dish even better. Drizzle freshly squeezed lemon juice (from organic lemons) on top before serving. Alternatively, you can add freshly grated lemon peel to the dish together with other spices. Lemon and black pepper is a mouth-watering match!
Instead of Parmesan, you can use any flavorful cheese (even I still think Parmesan is the ultimate cheese for this dish!). Try sharp Cheddar, Swiss cheese, Manchego, aged Gouda, or Pecorino.
You’ll get a nice protein punch and actually a whole meal if you add a couple of mashed cooked eggs on top before serving.
This week was again super busy with various things, mainly related to Ketokamu activities like shooting photos here in sunny Tampere and perfecting the new flavor to our electrolyte powder series.
However, I had time to bake several crispbread experiments and this gorgeous Keto Lemon Cheesecake involving our Ketokamu baking mix and sweetener. It’s a real firework of flavors and has a notable citrus burst!
I got myself a food dehydrator a long time ago — actually as a Black Friday offer last year — but I haven’t had time to even open the package. Yesterday, I finally took the time to open the package and start using the dehydrator as I had two kilograms (4.4 lbs) of organic ground beef that needed to be used. I had bought the meat straight from the farmer and wanted to know what kind of jerky ground beef makes.
I marinated the meat by mixing it with spices (quite the same as in this jerky), let it marinate for some hours, while opening the dehydrator package, cleaning the machine, and reading the user guide among others.
I made small, thin patties from the marinated meat and laid them on the dehydrator trays.
After dehydrating the patties for about 6 hours at the recommended 165 °F (74 °C), they looked nice and dry. Every couple of hours, I took a peek at the patties. After 4 hours, they were like small, flat burgers!
In the end, the result was jerky-like, and the taste was unbelievably delicious and the texture super tender! Well, next time, I will use a lower temperature as I always use about 135 °F (57 °C) for the oven-made jerky. That temperature is nicely drying the meat, not really cooking it. I think 165 °F (74 °C) is simply too high, and it cooks the meat, which means that some of the beneficial substances, like enzymes, are destroyed.