Select Page

Combat Colds with Negi, the Japanese Leek

With colds and coughs rampant this season, let’s turn to an oft-overlooked traditional cold remedy: negi, the Japanese leek! While it’s delicious in soups, we’ll be sharing several unique ways to enjoy this versatile Japanese vegetable!


Negi, the Japanese Leek

Here’s one of the must-eat foods I eat every winter to combat colds – the ubiquitous Japanese negi! It’s similar to the European leek and has a subtle outer flavor and strong, juicy core.

Negi boosts your immune system, improves circulation and reduces inflammation thanks to a compound called allicin. Traditionally it was used as a home remedy for sinus infection and sore throats by wrapping raw or steamed negi in cloth and wrapping it around your neck like a negi compress. I’ve never tried it though!

Ever since I was little, I was told to eat lots of negi in winter. Our local farmer would give us kids way too many negi on our way home from school. This leek is such a “normal” common vegetable that you see everywhere in Japanese cuisine and it’s usually grilled, fried, steamed or eaten raw as a topping over tofu, fried foods and soups. It’s aromatic, earthy, garlicky when raw and sweet when steamed. It’s easy to cook it the same way over and over again; it’s rarely the main star of the show!

I was recently bingeing on Emily in Paris on Netflix (go ahead, judge me) and there was an episode where Emily’s snooty marketing agency were turning up their noses on one of their clients, a leek producer. The main character Emily goes to her friend Gabriel (BTW he is literally the worst. His only redeeming factor is that he’s a successful chef and his food looks good!) who shows her that you can, in fact, make fun and new recipes out of the “boring” and that leek can be chic!

Since we’re all trying to stay healthy this season, why not make it fun? The next few posts are going to be several new and easy ways of preparing and eating negi!

Recipes using Negi

Vegan Setsubun Wrap

Vegan Setsubun Wrap

Vegan Setsubun WrapCelebrate the Japanese tradition of eating ehomaki wraps on Setsubun, the beginning of Spring! This recipe is not your regular ehomaki, but is in fact a delicious, low-carb and vegan option!Servings 2Prep Time: 15 min.Ready: ImmediatelyGood For:...

Negi Edamame Hummus

Negi Edamame Hummus

Negi Edamame HummusThis lean green hummus is a great healthy snack and also adds a fun Japanese twist to regular hummus! The key to this recipe is lots of edamame!Servings 4~5Prep Time: 15 min.Chill for: 30 min.Good For: AppetizersIntroduction Negi Edamame Hummus This...

Grilled Tofu with Leek Negi Puree

Grilled Tofu with Leek Negi Puree

Grilled Tofu with Negi PureeEnjoy negi, the Japanese leek, prepared in two ways with Grilled Tofu with Negi Puree! This combination of crispy tofu with creamy negi puree and soft, grilled negi is one of the best ways you can enjoy negi's various flavors.Servings 1Prep...