Sometimes you have such an assortment of bits and bobs in your fridge – half a leek here, a couple of stalks of celery there – that it seems you’ll just have to go grocery shopping again to get a meal out of it. Sometimes you cooked just the other day, and maybe your measurements were a little off, which is why I had a cup of cooked lentils just sitting in the fridge. And sometimes all of this turns to naught, with food sitting forlornly in the back of the fridge, alone and forgotten, until it spoils.
Not so today! As I said, I had a whole pile of lentils leftover from the other night, and some beet greens just begging to be cooked (leftover from some wonderful beet hummus I made!). You aren’t the kind of person who throws out beet greens, are you? If you look at those beautiful pink and green fronds and think – well, that’s going in the trash – you are seriously missing out! They taste wonderful sauteed with onions and spinach, or tossed into a salad. Frankly, they’re my favourite part of the beet sometimes!
But I digress. Back to my frugal experiment turned delicious recipe. This literally took 15 minutes to make, and was perfect post-workout on a weekday night. If you don’t have cooked lentils handy, you can of course boil yourself about 1/3 of a cup (or more?) in a jiffy. Lentils are great compared to other legumes because they don’t need to soak overnight.
Leftover Lentils and Beet Greens (serves 4)
~ Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free ~
- 1 cup of green lentils, already cooked
- 1 bunch of beet greens, from one bunch of beets, stems and leaves chopped and separated
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 bunch of spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (I used Herbamare)
- Heat a large, deep frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the pan gets too dry, you can add more olive oil, but I prefer to add water instead. This doesn’t change the taste of the veggies and doesn’t make them overly burdened with oil.
- Add in the beet stems, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt, pepper, and thyme, and add in the chopped spinach and beet greens.
- Stir everything around a few times to get the greens to start wilting, and then add in the cooked lentils.
- Keep stirring until the greens are wilted and the lentils are warm.
- To serve, just portion out as much as you would like and then crumble some fresh feta over top. I liked mine with some beet hummus, as well.