This warm leek white bean salad is perfect for winter. Leeks are sautéed and tossed with nutritious white beans in a Dijon vinaigrette, then served warm or at room temperature. Serve the recipe with lettuce leaves, over a bed of greens, or with your favorite crackers or toast.

Vegan hors d'oeuvres with beans and crackers have been served, along with lettuce leaves.

This warm leek and cannellini bean salad was inspired by best friend, Chloe, who has a knack for making really tasty food with seemingly little effort. When I was in New Orleans a month ago (my my, how time flies), she whipped up a dish that had my name all over it: cannellini beans and leeks, sautéed and served in Boston Lettuce cups. She was working from a recipe, but did it quick and gracefully, the way she does everything culinary. I’m always inspired by the ease with which Chloe glides to the market, selects ingredients, and then concocts dinners without breaking a sweat. My kitchen habits are much more chaotic.

I wasn’t sure that my rendition of this dish would stack up to Chloe’s, and it’s probably a little less refined than hers was. Still, I really loved how it turned out: a cross between a salad and winter legume stew: warm, filling, and grounding, but with a touch of fresh lemon and the versatility to be eaten cold, too.

I often shy away from purchasing leeks because every cookbook I’ve ever owned warned me how sandy they are, and how much I’d have to wash them. I don’t even like having to rinse off an apple before I eat it, so this was discouraging.

Ya know what? Washing leeks is not that big of a deal, especially if you chop them first, then let them soak in a big bowl, then rinse them, and then dry them, just as you might with salad. And leeks are great alternatives to onions, which is good news for the onion-shy, like me!

This dish is nice and speedy, once you have the leeks prepped. If you’re very busy, you can try prepping the leeks a day in advance, and then cooking the following day. I often find that stepwise cooking like that makes me more encouraged to cook when I’m crazed.

A small, wood cutting board has been topped with plant-based lettuce wraps. A dish of warm legumes and crackers rests nearby.

Vegan hors d'oeuvres with beans and crackers have been served, along with lettuce leaves.
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Warm Leek White Bean Salad

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 bunch leeks (3 medium-sized or 4 small leeks)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (240g, or 1 14.5oz / 415g can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • butter or romaine lettuce leaves (for serving)
  • crackers or toast (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  • Trim the ends and the green parts of the leeks. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Then, slice the leeks crosswise into 1/2-inch half-moons. Wash the leeks thoroughly, taking care to remove all soil or grit.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium low heat. Add the leeks. Sauté the leeks for 8 minutes, stirring often, or until they're completely tender and turning clear.
  • Add the white beans to the skillet. Stir everything together and warm the ingredients through. Remove them from heat.
  • In a small mixing bowl or cup, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour this over the leek white bean mixture and toss the ingredients together.
  • Serve the leek white bean salad warm or at room temperature, over or stuffed into lettuce leaves. Accompany with crackers or toast if desired.

Tasty, wholesome, simple.

This dish is good over salad, over rice, served as an appetizer in lettuce cups, or as filler for a wrap.

A dish of warm leeks and white beans has been piled into romaine lettuce leaves.

Hope you like it–and let me know if you make any cool tweaks! Have a great start to the weekend, folks.

xo

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    30 Comments
  1. I made this tonight as a side for dinner and it was spectacular! I honestly didn’t expect so much amazing flavor. The mustard is great in it.

  2. Loved it! This was my first time eating leeks! 😀 Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe, and thank you to the commenter who posted her method for cleaning the leeks. Very simple. I have said it before and I will say it again. I make MANY of your recipes! You always come up with wonderfully flavorful and nutritious creations from just a few simple ingredients. I am truly grateful. Thank you so much, Gena. 😀

  3. Just made this and it was perfect! Quick and delicious, I sometimes have a hard time to make quick meals with a decent protein source. I didn’t have cannellini beans, but chickpeas were a great substitute!

  4. Oh this sounds lovely. A nice mix between summer and fall. Pretty perfect for Sacramento weather considering it is October 2, and 100 degrees today. I don’t understand. I find my body craving warming foods even though it is so warm!

  5. I made this last night and all I gotta say is… YUM! Of course I had huge leeks, so I opted for 4 cups of beans. And I really wanted some garlic flavor, so that got sauteed as well. Since it was about double, I eyeballed extra mustard into the whole shebang. All in all, it turned out WONDERFULLY. Now my coworkers are just gonna hate me after all this bean eating :3

    Also this was my first time working with leeks (and I opted to make a zuchini spaghetti salad, another first time!). I love the flavor and will be using them more often. I wonder how they grow here in Houston… 🙂

  6. Cool, silicone containers! I just wonder if they emit anything nasty when filled with tomatoes & such??!! Loving the “tiffins” with stainless right now, but they are loud & clunky.
    Love those beans…….my only real issue with beans is that they are so mega delicious, that I truly eat too many of them & then feel like my belly will explode. Seriously, My binge food is beans. Crazy?

  7. If you have a Trader Joes in your area they have frozen pre-cut and cleaned leeks. It would be a huge time saver and they are fairly inexpensive.

  8. Personally, I think cleaning kale is a pain (the curly type). All those nicks and crannies are a pain to clean out.

  9. I love this salad. I happen to like leeks better than onions as well–just a flavor thing I think. Also, your tupperware is the cutest thing ever!

  10. Nice one, Gena! I’ve made a similar salad before but I like your simplicity. I used dill in mine as well… and have you ever tried flageolet beans? I prefer them much more than white kidney beans: small, firm yet creamy (I find cannellini can easily become mushy).. perfect for salads!

  11. I have never eaten a leek before but it is something I really want to try!
    I never heard anyone warm me about it being sandy so that’s for the heads ups!
    now that i think about it, you don’t have onions in your recipes. I love them.
    I enjoy reading personal things about you. After reading your blog every day it’s nice to get to know the person vbehind the amazing food 🙂

    • Ha! When I started this blog, I still pretty much refused wholesale to touch onions or garlic. Now I use them, but I use them very, very selectively.

  12. If you slice the leek in half but leave a cm or two at the base (I hope this makes sense) so the two halves are still attached at the end, it’s VERY easy to rinse the leek. I use them all the time after my aunt showed me this trick 🙂

  13. “Simple, but elegant.” Thanks for “leeking” this recipe! (sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 And great idea on the warm salad concept, love it!

  14. I realized in my first CSA that leeks were not as sandy and dirty as everyone made them out to be – sure, they can be, but totally deal-able. No one ever warns you that beets can be just as dirty and stubborn and harder to really get clean!

    Great looking warm salad – I could go for a warmed salad this time of year!

  15. Okay, here’s the thing with leeks. I just cannot be sold on them. They seem like such a waste! Also, more expensive than onions, so I nearly always replace leeks with onions. I know they’re not the same. Could you (or anyone else) tell me why I should convert to using leeks (at least more often)?

    So awesome that you could hang out with Chloe. I don’t know much about her, or her cookbook, but her cookbook is on my want list.

    • I have an aversion to leeks as well, albeit for different reasons. There’s something about the texture that I just do not take to. Gena’s salad might be able to change my mind though!

      • The first time I tried leeks it was in Paris, and they were “leeks vinaigrette.” It was two fat, whole leek bottoms, cooked to the point of being mushy, and sitting in a pond of oil. It was TERRIBLE, and I hated the texture, too. As long as I chop them, I do love the flavor!

    • Aw, it’s not her cookbook! It was a Food and Wine cookbook (unless that’s what you meant, that you wanted a cookbook she owned but didn’t author). Chloe and I cook very, very differently–she’s an omni to the core–but she’s taught me so much about cooking, as did her Mom (my own Mom does not have the culinary equivalent of a gardener’s thumb), and she and I do share a big love of food.

      There’s no good reason, unless you try them and love them. I do slighter prefer the taste to that of onions, but I couldn’t argue that there’s a HUGE difference.

    • They aren’t a waste if you use the parts that you don’t use in the salad for stock/broth/soup!