Tomato & Leek Marinara

Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 | 2 comments

2 to 4 leeks, washed and sliced (see notes below)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 28-ounce package diced (or crushed) tomatoes
a good handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly torn or chopped
pure salt and pepper to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
pasta of choice

  • Boil water for pasta.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the leeks and saute over medium heat just until they start to brown, 10 – 12 minutes. Do not let the leeks burn, or they will become bitter.
  • Add the tomatoes, sage, salt (1/2 tsp, give or take), pepper, and crushed red pepper if using.
  • Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 mins.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Cook pasta until al dente in salted water, drain and toss with sauce.

Serves 4.

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SIDE NOTES:

~ TO PREP THE LEEKS: Trim and discard the dark green tops and tough outer leaves from the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise and wash them under cold running water. Gently spread apart but do not separate the inner layers to remove all traces of soil. If the leeks are particularly dirty, you can soak them in several changes of clean water if that’s easier for you. Slice the cleaned leeks crosswise into thin pieces.

~ I was always very stand-of-ish with leeks, as I didn’t quite understand them. What I failed to realize all those years, is that they’re pretty much just big fat scallions, and thinking of them this way made them a lot less intimidating. They have a mild, sweet, onion flavor when sautéed, and pair really well with eggs (try adding sautéed leeks to an omelette or frittata) or as a topping for home-made pizza. You can really use them any way you’d use regular onions. Interestingly enough, my daughter will not go near an onion (unless it’s pureed and visually undetectable), but likes leeks. Go figure.

~  To this day, I have some sort of aversion to the one thing that always comes to mind when leeks are around…. potato-leek soup. I actually don’t even know if I’ve ever tasted it. The idea of it simply doesn’t appeal to me. Husband told me recently that it’s very good, and I should give it a chance. Maybe I will!

~ You can use anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds of leeks for this. I just used however much I happened to get from my CSA pick up that week (which was 2 short fat ones – about a pound).

~ I often make my EASY-VEGETARIAN-MEATBALLS with dishes like this.  You might be able to see one or two peeking out from under the rich, savory sauce  =)

 For those with various food restrictions, this recipe falls into the following categories:

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Raw

If eating gluten and/or sugar free, use an appropriate pasta (brown rice pasta is our personal preference), and double check the label or your tomatoes (the only ingredient listed should be “tomatoes”!).  Of course, if you’re avoiding grains, feel free to use this sauce over a protein such as chicken or tempeh.


  • Oz

    I eat leeks raw in my salad, with turnips, onions, arugula, and watercress.

    • http://dianeschnier.wordpress.com Diane Schnier

      Nice! Thanks for the idea =)