This flavorful recipe includes lemon braised leeks and quinoa with fresh feta cheese – a perfect side dish for any occasion!
Well hey there, Veg World! It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it?! In case you didn’t know, I was away for the past two weeks on my belated honeymoon to Australia. It was absolutely incredible. The sun, the food, the people, the animals. Everything was just fabulous!
I’ll be going into more detail about our trip in a post at the end of the month. If you’re interested, keep an eye out for that.
As you can probably imagine, flying back from a country that’s (almost) literally on the other side of the world can give you some serious jet lag. (PS – if you want to see what’s actually on the opposite side of the world from where you live, I found this pretty cool tool.) For real though, I am in struggle city this week! I’m actually writing this post from my couch, since I seem to be lacking the energy to stand up and work at my desk.
But even with my jet lag, I couldn’t help but play around in the kitchen to make a couple new recipes for you! As you know, we are in that rainy transition period that occurs between winter and spring. So I wanted to bid farewell to winter veggies and welcome some new spring flavors.
I took a look around the blog to see what winter vegetables I didn’t do a great job highlighting this year. Turns out I only have one recipe on here with leeks! (If you’re interested, it’s a tasty Braised Radishes and Leeks recipe.) Once I figured out my veggie of choice, I brainstormed some flavors that would complement leeks and got to work.
This Lemon Braised Leeks and Quinoa Salad is my attempt to showcase the delicious, mild, onion-like flavor of leeks. It’s a flavorful combination of lemon, parsley, feta, and quinoa that tastes incredibly fresh, somehow in a way that just makes you think of spring. Plus I chose to photograph the salad in my new bowl that has a gorgeous robin’s egg blue color.
So maybe spring hasn’t officially sprung yet. But at least we can start to get ready for it in the kitchen with this end-of-winter braised leeks recipe!
How do you make braised leeks?
Braising leeks with vegetable broth and lemon zest brings out their delicate flavor. First, you need to remove the ends and dark green parts of the leeks. Next, wash and/or soak the leeks to remove all of the dirt.
Finally, slice the leeks and put them in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté them for 5 to 7 minutes before pouring in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and a teaspoon of lemon zest. Cover the skillet and let those babies braise for 5 minutes. That’s it!
Once you braise the leeks, the hardest part’s over. Add the quinoa, feta, and dressing, and enjoy!
Tips for Serving and Storing Lemon Braised Leeks and Quinoa Salad
This salad tastes great warm or cold, so you can choose to serve it at either temperature. It pairs well with fish and chicken, or you can add beans for some plant-based protein. You can store this recipe in a glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
PS if you like quinoa salads that are perfect for spring, check out my Sugar Snap Pea Quinoa Salad (one of my favs)!
Lemon Braised Leeks and Quinoa Salad
This flavorful quinoa side dish is made with lemon braised leeks, feta cheese, and a fresh lemon parsley dressing.
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2/3 cup quinoa dry
- 2 leeks sliced, ends and dark green parts removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp lemon zest from about 1/2 small lemon
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon zest from the other 1/2 of a small lemon
- 1 lemon juiced, use the same one you used for the zest
- 1 heaping tbsp parsley finely chopped, more to taste
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Clean the leeks and slice the white and light green parts. Add them to the skillet and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the lemon zest. Cover the skillet and let the leeks cook for about 5 minutes.
Combine the cooked quinoa and leeks in a large bowl. Add the feta and mix until well combined. At this point, you can choose to serve the salad warm or put it in the fridge and serve it cold later.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, other teaspoon of lemon zest, parsley, and pepper in a small bowl.
Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad when you are ready to serve it, and enjoy!
This recipe tastes great both warm or cold. It can be stored in a glass container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Pin this recipe now to make later.