Braised leeks with sunflower seed pesto

This leek dish is sure to be a hit at your dinner party, whether you're on a plant-based diet or not.

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With so many versions of pesto out there using every permutation of nuts and herbs, you can easily create a different dish every night using that as a main ingredient. But, instead of herbs, have you ever tried adding cooked aromatics like braised leeks? In this recipe, the usual herbaceousness is complemented by extra savouriness and body. Add it as a spread to sandwich or as a dressing for pasta and vegetables. 

Braised leeks

2 tsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large leeks, trimmed and cleaned
1 cup vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste

Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add half of the leeks to the pan and continue to cook on medium-high heat until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add remaining leeks and cook for several minutes until softened as well and add vegetable broth.

Once liquid comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces and leeks are very tender.

Reduce heat to low, and keep warm on stove until ready to transfer to serving platter with sunflower seed pesto.

Sunflower seed pesto

1 1/2 cups roasted sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest, microplaned
sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients, except oil, to a food processor and pulse several times to combine.

Continue to pulse and slowly pour the oil in until you reach desired consistency.

Cover and place in fridge until ready to use.

Yields 2 cups of sunflower seed pesto.

Serves 3-4
Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cook Time:
25-30 minutes