Coconut Milk Poached Leek Salad with Arugula and Creamy Makrut Lime Dressing

Leek Salad with Coconut Milk Dressing

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 makrut lime leaves
  • 2 leeks, green ends trimmed off, cut in 1″ slices
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted


Heat the coconut milk and lime leaves in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it starts to simmer. Add the leeks, laying them flat. Cook for 12 minutes total, turning them halfway through. Remove leeks and set aside. Whisk the dijon and vinegar into the remaining liquid, cooking until it just starts to simmer, remove from heat. Place leeks on serving dish, top with arugula, drizzle dressing on top, finish with walnut pieces.

And now for the details…

Infomercial style: “Tired of the same old salad?” *Person in black and white takes a bite of a pitiful looking salad and give the camera an exaggerated sad face* “Wondering if there’s something different out there to replace raw vegetables covered with oily dressing?” *Same person throws their hands in the air and rolls their eyes as if they cannot imagine there is anything in the world that can help* “Try this amazing poached leek salad with a creamy makrut lime dressing” *Person, now in colour, takes a bite of the salad and gives a beatific smile and thumbs up to the camera*

Okay, so I can’t help myself, I have scenes that play out in my head like this all the time. An overactive imagination… horrible if I’m home alone and hear a random sound somewhere in the house, but great for hours of self-entertainment. Onto the food…

The leeks in this salad add the savoury, umami character, while we are getting a rich creaminess in the dressing, plus a floral, citrusy hit thanks to the makrut lime leaves.

So let’s cook.

Start by cutting the leeks into about 1″ thick pieces. Stop a few inches below the green ends, and discard the ends. Heat the coconut milk in a pan on medium heat with the makrut lime leaves. If you do not have lime leaves, move forward with the recipe as is, and I will give you an alternative a little later. Once the milk is heated and bubbling slightly, add the leeks in a single layer in the milk. Turn down the heat slightly if the milk is really bubbling.

Cover the pan, and cook the leeks for 6 minutes, then turn them over, and cook for another 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure the milk does not boil over. Turn the heat down if you need to, or uncover them to allow the bubbling to come down.

The leeks should be done after about 12 minutes, test one with a fork, they should be tender, but not falling apart. Take the leeks out of the pan and transfer to a serving dish, spreading across the dish.

Add the mustard and vinegar to the pan, whisking into the liquid. Here is where our alternative is if you did not have lime leaves. From a fresh lime, shave off several pieces of its peel, trying to avoid the pith, and add the pieces to the liquid. Keep the pan on the heat, and whisk constantly until the sauce starts to simmer. If it is still very liquidy, simmer until it thickens slightly, whisking constantly.

Scatter the arugula over the leeks on the serving dish, then drizzle the dressing overtop. Crumble the walnut halves into pieces over the salad, and serve immediately.

Happy eating.

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