Leeks go well with any recipe that calls for onions. They can either be fried, sautéed, roasted, boiled, or braised but significantly, they are perfect as garnish to salads, casseroles, and most especially to soups.
However, leeks might be difficult to come by when they are out of season, exactly when you need them for a recipe. Hence, it’ll be useful to know what to use as a leek substitute. Alternatives to leeks are quite easy to come by, thanks to the huge variety of closely related crops.
- Red Or White Onions
- Scallions(Green Onions) Or Spring Onions
- Onion Powder
- Wild Ramps(Wild Garlic)
If you are still unable to find anything from the above, read on as we delve deep into the full list of the best leeks Substitutes.
But first, let’s understand a bit more about this common soup ingredient.
13 Best Leeks Substitute
Leeks, like onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and garlic, are vegetables that belong to the Allium group. They come in long, white cylindrical stems with flat leaves that turn greener as they grow higher.
Leeks have an onion-like flavor and aroma, with a hint of garlic but they are not as pungent and powerful as onions, rather, they are sweeter and milder in taste.
This could explain why slicing leeks don’t make you cry, and there’s no aftertaste when you eat them. In terms of taste and appearance, some of the best substitutes for leeks include onions. shallots and scallions.
Feel free to also test out the remaining best substitutes for leeks that you can use in your soup recipe.
Red Or White Onions
Onions, whether white, red, sweet, or yellow, look almost exactly the same as leeks. Despite having a stronger onion flavor than leeks, onions are the most widely available and inexpensive leek substitute.
When diced, they make a great substitute for leeks, especially in soups and other common recipes.
If you don’t want the onion to overpower your dish, choose the sweeter onion or a milder one. It is easy to replace onion with leeks. Just use it in the same amount as you use leeks in your recipe and it should be perfect.
Shallots, like leeks, are members of the Allium group. They look almost exactly like onions, but smaller in size. You can use shallots as a great substitute for leeks because they are related to each other.
They have a strong, sweet, acidic, and spicy flavor that is comparable to those of leeks.
These little, mild bulbs can be used in place of leeks in a variety of recepes, but they’re especially wonderful when cooked.
Since they are more expensive, shallots may not be the best choice for a recipe that calls for a lot of leeks, such as soups and stews.
To make a substitution, add shallots in an equal amount or weight of the leeks needed for the recipe. If the dish needs extra flavor, add more shallots.
Shallots have a softer flavor than onions and a hint of garlic, which is why you should know when to add more of it.
Scallions(Green Onions) Or Spring Onions
Scallions, often called green onions, are a smaller form of leeks with a flavor profile that is comparable to onion and garlic.
Aside from the taste, they also have a similar appearance to leeks. Because of their large green leaves and white stalks, they’re also referred to as green onions. The white root has a sweet onion flavor, while the green half has a grassy freshness to it.
Salads, tortillas, grilled meats, stews, soups, and garnishes all benefit from scallions. Typically, they are stir-fried, grilled, or baked to blend in with the flavors of the dish.
As much as these are great ways to use scallions in cooking, however, the best way to actually serve them is to add the scallions near the end of the cooking time so that the flavor is fresh as possible.
In terms of size, scallions are smaller than leeks, which is why you may need to add more of them in your dish. When adding it to your cooking, replace 1 large leek with 6 pieces of scallions.
As a garnish, add them fresh to soups, eggs, tacos, or casseroles. It is best to add them right away after cooking your dish.
Chives are mild in flavor and they have a unique taste that may not align with the flavor profile of leeks, making it a not-so-good substitute in recipes that call for it.
However, even if you s have any other options, chives can assist provide a delicate, sweet, and earthy flavor to a variety of foods particularly soups.
Just keep in mind that chives may clash with certain spices, so proceed with caution.
Garlic and leeks are both part of the Allium group which is why it is no surprise that garlic is included in the list. Garlic, just like leeks, has a strong tang that is pungent, soft, and sweet all at the same time.
While it may not be an excellent substitute for garnishing, garlic will give a savory taste to the dish that you are cooking, especially in stir-fries, stews, and soups.
Keep in mind that garlic has stronger and more pungent flavor than leeks, so you should use it accordingly. Use modest amounts of chopped or toasted garlic to enhance the flavor and aroma of your cuisine.
If you don’t know how to estimate, begin first by substituting half a teaspoon of chopped garlic for every cup of leek in the recipe.
Celery has a mild flavor profile that complements the whole taste of leeks when combined with shallots, garlic, and onions. The stalks are fibrous, flavorful, and crisp, while the celery leaves have an unusual taste that is mild and strong both at the same time.
Celery has a distinct flavor profile that is far from the taste of leeks, but if you want to try something new, celery is a good substitute. Celery, like leeks, is quite fresh. It’s delicious either raw or cooked.
In terms of flavor, however, celery gives more of an aromatic flavor with a bitter aftertaste rather than a pungent flavor.
Celery, on the other hand, can be an excellent substitute if you simply need it for garnishing and are solely concerned with the aesthetic. It will suffice because celery stalks are similarly white with rich, green leaves.
Onion powder could be the least option if you are looking for a good substitute to leeks. Aside from the fact that is has already been processed, onion powder can also have a slightly different smack. But if you are really lacking fresh vegetables in your pantry, this would suffice with gradual amounts.
Definitely, you won’t achieve the same look and texture of the leeks but it can aid with the flavoring. If the leeks are not the main ingredient of the dish and you are just after the taste, onion powder can be considered as a good substitute.
Since most seasonings have a strong flavor, you may want to reduce the amount that you will use in your recipe. One teaspoon of onion powder per cup of chopped leeks, for example, is the recommended measurement.
Fennel may not seem like a common substitute to leeks but it can add a unique flavor to your dish just like leeks can do. Among the members of the Allium family, fennel is the mild and fresh variety.
Fennel does not taste like leeks but it tastes more closely to anise. So if you don’t like leeks and you want to try something new, fennel can be a good option. It also has green, feathery leaves with white stems that can be used as a garnish to imitate leeks.
Wild Ramps(Wild Garlic)
Wild ramps, also known as wild garlic or wild leeks, are one of the best substitutes to choose since they have a flavor profile that is close to leeks.
Commonly found in mountains during summer and spring, wild ramps are one of the most valuable crops you can harvest during these seasons.
Wild ramps generally taste like garlic but without the stench. What’s more, their leaves also offer a beautiful color to your cuisine in addition to the flavor.
The only drawback to this beautiful plant is that it only blooms in the mountains for a short period of time between late April and early June. So if you want to get some of it for your recipe, be sure to keep your eyes peeled if you’re going on a hike.
Calcots are very similar to green onions and scallions not only because of their form but also because of their sweet and delicate taste.
Commonly found in Catalonia, a province in the northeastern part of Spain, Calçots are very popularly used that it even has its own winter feast called the Calçotada, which is a dish that consists of grilled Calçots served with romesco, a delectable sauce made of tomatoes and peppers.
Calçots look almost exactly like leeks with their white stalk and dark green leaves, making them a perfect substitute. However, since they are almost exclusively found in the province, they can be difficult to come by if you are outside Catalonia.
Cabbage is a cheaper and healthier alternative to onions in soup recipes. Although cabbage does not have the same flavor as onions, it can somehow suffice in your cooking.
You’ll notice that raw cabbage has a crunchy texture and a slightly bitter flavor if you eat it raw. When cooked, it can absorb the taste of all of the ingredients you use in your dishes. Thus, we can say that cabbage can be a great substitute if prepared properly.
Moreover, cabbage has 59 percent fewer calories than leek, with 25 calories per 100 grams compared to 61 calories for leeks. In terms of macronutrient ratios, cabbage is higher in protein, lower in carbs, and lower in fat.
Green garlic is identified as garlic plant that hasn’t fully matured. It is mostly a product of depleted garlic supplies. It commonly develops into a wavy green stalk with a closed bud on top at the end of its season.
Compared with leeks, green garlic is a little thicker and has smaller leaves. It smells like regular garlic and has a garlicky flavor, which is not bad if you are trying to use it as a substitute for leeks.