Lentils Again? Yes! ❦ Lentils & Beet Greens with Quick Pickled Beet

If you have some cooked lentils on hand, along with a bunch of beets with their tops, you’re on your way to a quick and tasty dinner. These Lentils and Beet Greens with Quick Pickled Beet are a marriage of satisfying earthiness offset by piquancy.

Lentils & Beet Greens with Quick-Pickled Beet  |© Urban Cottage Life.com

Yup, here I am with the lentils again. I can just see you, shaking your head, wondering what’s up with my fascination with these little legumes. You’ve heard it all before in my many posts on the subject (I feel a roundup coming on): they’re nutritious, easy to work with, a great conduit for all kinds of flavour profiles, cheap and awful darn cute too. What’s not to love about them?

When I made the lentils for my lentil and broccoli salad, I cooked up extra. There’s nothing like having some pre-cooked lentils on hand when you’re in the mood to whip up something tasty and healthy for dinner. Braising lentils with a ragtag assortment of other ingredients hanging around the fridge or pantry is a great way to use up and avoid food waste.

This time, I had some beets — along with their greens — that needed to be eaten. So I decided to cook some lentils with the greens, and create a side of quick-pickled grated beets. Oh yeah, sometimes I impress myself. So. Good. And that side of picked beet? It was great stirred right into the steaming heap of lentils and greens too. No need to always  be dainty. Go ahead, mix your food up and tuck on in!

Lentils & Beet Greens with Quick-Pickled Beet

A Freestyle Kitchen Recipe

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a recipe; it’s one of those dishes that just happened in my kitchen, and isn’t that the best way to cook sometimes? So, here’s what I did to make myself a quick and kick-ass dinner on a summer evening that would be lost in memory now if not for this dish.

Quick Pickling Beets

First, get that beet a-pickling! Remove the greens from a bunch of beets and set aside. Wash and peel one or two small beets. How much is up to you, depending on how many you’re serving and whether you want leftovers. Shred the beets finely and place in a small bowl. Add olive oil (I probably used a half tablespoon or so for one small beet), white wine vinegar (red wine or apple cider vinegars would work too) so the beets are piquant without being puckerliciously so, and a good grating of pepper. Stir well and set aside for the pickling action to work its magic.

Making the Lentils and Beet Greens

Clean the beet greens and set aside. Finely chop some red onion and mince a red chili pepper. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to a small pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion and chili pepper and stir until the onions look translucent and happy. Add the beet greens along with a tablespoon or so or water or lentil cooking liquid if you have it handy. Cook and stir; you can also pop the lid on the pan for a bit of steaming action. It won’t take long for the greens to reduce down farther than you might think possible.

At this point, add whatever you consider the right amount of previously cooked lentils to be (I used about 1-1/2 cups of cooked green lentils for a super-hearty single serving), along with some kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir well, and cook until the lentils are heated through. Add some balsamic vinegar to bring up the zing factor. Stir, taste and adjust the seasonings to make your taste buds sing.

Heap onto a plate, and eat along with some of that pickled beet for a satisfying meal that will make you feel virtuous about your kitchen skills.


    • Lentils are a fabulous pantry staple, aren’t they? So versatile! I always used to think beets need to be cooked, but they are quite good raw. Grated and quickly dressed with a vinaigrette, they make a great addition to a salad or as a fresh side. I use them in juicing sometimes too — if I want to avoid the mess of red beets, I use golden beets sometimes.

  1. Yes, you do love your lentils but, honestly? Each recipe you’ve posted sounds fantastic, Mar. I discovered beet greens last year and love them. Using them here, as well as pickling the beets before adding them to your bowl, is a great idea. I don’t care how many lentil recipes you post. If they sound as good as this one, bring ’em on!

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