Leeks come from the same family as onions and have a similar flavor; however, it’s much milder.
They bring a buttery, cream-like texture to your dish and have a gentle aroma that enhances the final product.
While leek looks like green onions, this vegetable is larger and has wider leaves, with an absence of the bulb that green onions possess.
They’re also sweeter but more subtle than green onions and add a natural, herb-like flavor to your dish.
Leeks can also be used raw or cooked. Note, though, that once you cook them under heat, they undergo a change in flavor.
If you’re looking for a leek replacement, it’s relatively easy to find an ingredient that has similar undertones.
Here’s a list to help you out.
Here’s what you can use when you’re out of leeks.
Shallots are one of the best leek substitute options you can use.
They bring a similar texture to your dish as leeks and have a delicate flavor that doesn’t significantly alter the taste of your dish.
They have a pleasant, unique aroma.
Because shallots have all the underlying flavors that leeks have, such as sweet, garlicky, and spicy, without the same intensity, you can use a slightly larger quantity of leeks as compared to the leeks that are called for in your recipe to get the best results.
Of course, onions have a pungent, bitter taste that is stronger than leeks, but they still work well because of their texture and aroma.
You can use a smaller quantity of onions than the leeks called for in your recipe.
For the closest taste, use red or white onions and make sure that you’re prepared to have a slightly different tasting dish than if you were to use leeks.
You can sauté the red onions and use them in small amounts to reduce the intensity of their flavor while retaining a mild onion flavor.
Some people even prefer cooking the onions in a bit of fat to alter their taste.
3. Sweet onions
Again, like onions, sweet onions have a stronger taste than leeks. However, they’re readily available and commonly used as a substitute for leeks.
You can use sweet onions in a slightly lesser or equal quantity compared to leeks in soups, stews, and other liquid-based dishes for the best results.
If you’re more concerned about compensating for the flavor of leeks more than the texture they bring to your dish, garlic is a flavorful option to consider.
Start with a very small amount of garlic and familiarize yourself with how it changes your dish’s flavor before adding more.
With the right quantity, garlic can bring just the right taste to your recipe and complement the other ingredients.
You can even roast and chop the garlic beforehand to get a similar texture and aroma as leeks.
5. Scallions or green onions
Scallions look and taste very similar to leeks. They can be used as a garnish and in salads.
Scallions generally include a few different kinds of onions but mostly refer to the onions with whitish bottoms and thread-like material that comes out of the bottom.
These have a green exterior and are hollow from inside, making them the closest in appearance to leeks.
You can start with an equal or slightly smaller quantity of scallions than leeks and make adjustments accordingly.
Celery has a pleasant aroma and can work as an appropriate replacement for leeks.
It has a strong flavor that works well in several dishes such as soups, salads, pasta, roasted dishes, and even stock.
If you’re looking for a substitute that doesn’t directly belong to the same family as leeks, then celery is a good choice.
The bottom line
Because of the several different vegetables out there with similar flavors as leeks, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding an acceptable substitute.
The ones mentioned in this list are readily available and bring many of the same tastes to your dish as leeks, so you can carry on with your recipe even when you’re all out of leeks.
Remember, if you’re working with an ingredient that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s best to start with a smaller quantity and work your way up.
- Sweet onions
- Choose sweet onions as your leek substitute
- You can use sweet onions in a slightly lesser or equal quantity compared to leeks in soups, stews, and other liquid-based dishes for the best results.