Vegetarian Meals

Friends with Recipes: Leeks and Greens with Coconut Milk

Vanessa and I have been friends on Instagram for years, but only finally managed to meet up for a coffee a few weeks ago here in London (she now lives in Scotland!). Vanessa loves cooking for and with her kids (her Instagram feed is full of all sorts of yummy things!) so she was an obvious one to ask for a recipe for my “Friends with Recipes” series.

Vanessa is sharing a healthy and delicious side dish that she and her family return to over and over again. It is a versatile side dish that will transform a simple piece of fish (or meat, shellfish, etc.) into a proper dinner.

Bethie x

Leeks and Greens with Coconut Milk – Vanessa Gerbrandy


Please don’t tell my husband this, but I have a secret crush on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! Honestly, any guy with a country cottage, an aga in his kitchen and a gigantic fruit and veg patch rocks my boat. So it’s pretty obvious why I have so many of his cookbooks.

His ‘VEG EVERYDAY’ book is one of my go-to’s when it comes to meal planning. The rosemary polenta chips with aioli is just divine and we love making the chocolate and beetroot ice cream. But it’s this side dish, “Leeks with Coconut Milk”, that we really love and eat pretty much every other week with some kind of shellfish, meat or simply with a bowl of wild rice.

It’s by far the girls favourite and what I love most is that there’s always some sort of green leaf available in the market. And the girls really love helping out in the kitchen with this one – Florence will help chop the greens and Helena makes a start on the garlic.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe slightly only because it calls for more leeks then I like to use. I’d rather substitute a couple of leeks by using more varieties of seasonal greens.

SERVES 4 (2 adults and 2 hungry children)

Wild rice, haddock and leek and greens

Leeks and Greens with Coconut Milk

Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • 2-3 leeks, trimmed of tough leafy ends, washed
  • about 300g [1.5 cups] spring greens (curly kale, rainbow chard or spring cabbage)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 400ml [1.5 cups] coconut milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • optional : 50g [1/3 cup] roasted peanuts or cashews (we opt out of this one as Helena is allergic to nuts but I’m sure it’s a tasty option)



cut the leeks into 1cm slices on the diagonal and cut the greens into 1 cm ribbons and set aside.


heat the oil in a wok over a medium-low heat and sweat the garlic for a couple of minutes.


add the leeks and saute for a few minutes, then add the curry poser or paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for another couple of minutes, until the leeks are becoming tender but still have a bit of bite.


add the greens and sweat down for a further 3 minutes or so until they are wilted but still slightly crunchy.


pour in the coconut milk and heat through, letting it bubble for just a minute.


sprinkle over the toasted nuts (if using) and serve piping hot.



chopping and cutting
I find this recipe so versatile as you can serve it with so many variations. Tonight we’ll have it as a side with a piece of seasoned haddock and wild rice. In the past we’ve eaten it with king prawns and basmati rice, with sausages on an autumnal cosy night and salmon is also super delicious for a summery evening on the patio (sigh for summer days)!

Bon appetite,

Vanessa x

Thanks, Vanessa! I also have this awesome cook book, but haven’t tired this recipe out yet. I think the addition of extra greens sounds perfect; I’ll definitely try it out that way!


PS: For those waiting for the salmon burger recipe, it will be up on the blog tomorrow! x


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