Silverbeet – a hated vegetable plus silverbeet and lentils recipe

A guest post from the one and only Mr Ecochick. Enjoy this yummy vegetable, also fresh homegrown silverbeet is nothing like the stuff you buy from the supermarket. So grab several plants or a seed packet and add them to your garden today. My personal chef has added one of my favourite recipes for you all to enjoy.

Don’t hate on silverbeet. It is high in iron, vitamin K and fibre. I’m sure it’s good for you in other ways too, but who knows as it is largely avoided by most. I blame this solely on the preparation. Here are three very tasty ways to serve silverbeet and hopefully will be enough to convert a few haters.

silverbeet_eating_nzThe main reason you would want to change your mind on silverbeet is that it is cheap. Either bought or grown, this stuff gives you big quantity for your money or time. It grows all year round and does not bolt when the temperature gets warm.

It is not an exact substitute for spinach, but if the recipe calls for the greens to be cooked beyond steaming or sauté, you can swap in silverbeet. Some great silverbeet recipes are Palak paneer, Silverbeetand cottage cheese lasagna and Silverbeet and lentils.

Silverbeet and Lentils

Improved from a vegetarian basic, this is an affordable, quick and nutritious meal. Refrigerates and reheats well, makes a good lunch next day. Vegan version can easily be made by omitting eggs. You can freeze this but the eggs do go a little funny/ rubbery (vegan version however would freeze well). Either version scales up well too if feeding a crowd, makes a great side dish to a large meal or to take along as a potluck.

400-500g silverbeet leaves (about 8-10 medium leaves)

1 onion

Olive oil

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp turmeric

¼ ground coriander

Garlic cloves

400g cooked brown lentils (1 can worth)

400g chopped tomatoes (1 can worth)

Salt and pepper

6-8 free range eggs depending on pan size (optional)

Select a large frying pan with decent height sides. If yours is low then consider a large pot to prepare this in. A lid that fits ok is also a factor.

Destalk and shred silverbeet. (if you are fast with a knife you can do this while the onions are cooking)

Finely dice onion and fry in olive oil for 2-3 minutes on medium.

Add spices and fry 2 minutes

Add crush garlic (1-3 cloves according to taste).

Add shredded silverbeet leaves and stir well, cover and cook on medium low for 5 minutes, stirring and adding a little water if it dries out.

Add lentils and tomatoes, season to taste and stir well.

Increase heat to medium and heat until bubbling.

Crack eggs into pan, do this with some downward force to embed the eggs into the lentils, creating a little pocket.

Cover and reduce heat to medium low until eggs are cooked to liking. Check them by giving pan a jiggle, eggs should only wobble slightly when hard boiled. Getting them soft takes practice and careful adjustment of temperature, work up to it.

This meal is perfect on its own, but rice or any bread would make a fine addition. If you are in a big hurry then boil the eggs separately from the start, and add lentils/ tomatoes with spinach. This saves the last cooking step (5 minutes or so), serve the eggs quartered and covered in the lentils. Don’t burn yourself!


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