Don’t toss out those leek tops! This Sautéed Leek Greens with Bacon recipe shows you a delicious way to enjoy this too often discarded part of a leek plant.
You can actually feel virtuous eating the bacon in this dish. We waste roughly 40% of our food in the United States. I’m sure the dark green tops of a leek plant contribute a relatively small amount toward that total waste figure, but it’s an easy place we can make a stand against waste in our own kitchen.
For another recipe that uses something that might get wasted, try our Carrot Top Chimichurri!
Parts of the leek plant
When a recipe calls for leeks, you are typically using the white and light green portion of the leek plant closer to its roots.
The darker green top of of the leek is typically cut off in prepping the leeks, and is often discarded.
With today’s recipe, we show that you don’t have to throw away those leek tops any more!
What to do with leek greens?
If you have gotten the leeks to use in a recipe such as the vichyssoise we made recently, store those leek green tops in a plastic bag or reusable container in the refrigerator until you are ready to make this recipe.
Leek greens taste best with the are sautéed. Today, the leek tops are cooked along with bacon.
If you’d like to try leek greens in a vegetarian recipe, try our Veggie Mac and Cheese Casserole.
We originally served the sautéed leek greens as part of a “pork three ways” meal, something our son requested.
For our most recent re-make of the recipe, we stuck with the pork theme!
We plated the sautéed leek greens with Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin along with some farro with mushrooms.
Making this recipe
Recipes don’t get much simpler then this Sautéed Leek Greens with Bacon.
Simply crisp up some bacon in a skillet, and set the bacon aside to cool. Get your thinly sliced leek greens sizzling in that same skillet, then add chicken broth.
Let the leek tops simmer for a good 20 minutes with the chicken broth, then reincorporate a portion of the bacon, leaving some to sprinkle on top.
This recipe has gotten great reviews, and we’ve already made it numerous times since first creating it. I hope you get a chance to enjoy it soon. Waste not!
What are you making with the bottom part of the leeks that most people use? How about our Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Broccoli!
Serving the leek greens with another pork dish, the Asian style pork tenderloin, had me thinking a Riesling would be the pairing to pick.
I opened the 2013 Lahoma Vineyards Riesling from Red Newt Cellars (8.9% ABV, 3.9% RS) for the wine pairing. Although labelled as being fairly far along the “sweet” continuum, this well-balanced wine is very food friendly!
This Riesling definitely worked well with the leek tops as well as the pork tenderloin.
We had this wine as our exploration of Finger Lakes wine.Print
Sautéed Leek Greens with Bacon
Don’t throw away those leek tops! Leek greens sautéed with bacon make a delicious side dish that will keep you from throwing away those leek tops again.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 slices bacon
- 3 leek greens (the top dark green part) sliced thin, cross-wise
- ⅓ cup low sodium chicken broth
- Crisp the bacon: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add bacon, cook for about 5 minutes, then flip to cook until both sides are browned, about 10 minutes total cooking time.
- Let the bacon cool: Remove the bacon from the pan, and set aside to cool on a paper towel. Break the bacon into bite sized bits when it has cooled, and divide the bacon bits into 2 equal portions.
- Begin cooking leek greens: Pour excess bacon grease out of the skillet, but leave a bit! Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet on medium high, then add the sliced leek greens. Stir to combine the leek greens with the oil.
- Simmer with broth: When the leek greens begin to sizzle a bit, stir in the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer covered on medium low for at least 20 minutes.
- Add bacon back to skillet: After the simmering time, remove the cover, stir in half of the bacon bits in with the leek greens. Reserve a bit of the bacon to sprinkle on top when serving.
- Finish cooking: Cook the leek greens with the bacon bits uncovered for a few minutes to let the flavors meld and have more liquid absorbed.
- Serve: Use a slotted spoon to serve the leek greens with bacon. Pass the reserved bacon so each person can add a bit more on top of the dish, and enjoy with the rest of your meal!
- This recipe uses the dark green leek tops that are often discarded after prepping leeks for other recipes.
- Leaving a bit of bacon grease in the pan for sautéing the leeks helps add additional flavor.
Keywords: leek greens, bacon, greens and bacon, ways to use leek tops
Dear David, what a simple but delicious side…sounds perfect with pork and any cut of meat. Take care my friend, Catherine
Thanks Catherine, we sure enjoyed this one!
I’m going to make a quiche with this recipe. I know it will be delicious.
That’s a good idea! I can definitely see that working nicely. Let me know how it goes!
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
Great dish David, anything sauteed with bacon is a winner. I’ve not used leek tops in cooking and this is a great idea. I hate throwing away anything edible!
Bacon can make most anything good it would seem!
I love that you brought up the food waste issue. I am actually making a recipe tonight that calls for just the white part of the leek, so this gives me a way to stretch those leeks into a bonus side for later in the week. No waste! Thanks!
great! like to do what I can to avoid food waste here.
Jeff the Chef
This looks like down-home goodness. I’m going to make use of those greens next time!
alright, waste not!
Well thanks for helping me not be wasteful. I made potato, carrot, and leek soup during the week. I saved the tops of the leeks thinking I could find a recipe and there it was! I had stored some bacon fat in a glass jar in the fridge from the weekend so I used a bit of that. Then after I sauteed it, I grated some ginger and splashed some liquid aminos after that because, I didn’t have any stock.
Awesome! Glad you find some inspiration from this. Nice job going with the concept presented in my recipe and making it your own with what you had on hand.
this recipe served on a baked potato is amazing.
That sounds like a great idea! Need to make this again soon.
Everywhere I looked it said Leek greens are inedible when I knew my foster mother cooked Leek greens! Wanting to use the greens in a wild green dish I looked and here was your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing! Just to recap, So They are edible just need extra cooking till tender ?
Glad you found this, Debra! Yes, you don’t want to simply use the leek greens in a recipe calling for “leeks”. For those recipes, you want to just use the white and light green portions. But the tops are definitely edible, just need more cooking time. And something like bacon and / or garlic to bring some flavor!
I really enjoyed this. Uncomplicated and a nice distinctive flavor.
Glad you liked it, Masha!