Braised Lentils with Cime de Rapa

I’m cooking with lentils more and more these days but realised we feature them so rarely here at Charlie’s. Well it’s time for that to change!

Here’s one of my favourite ways to cook lentils at this time of year, when cime de rapa, the deeply green, and bitter tops of turnips are at their seasonal best.

Mega quick and easy, great as a mid week meal, it’s great on it’s own or you could poach some eggs in it for example. It pretty much goes with everything. Word to the wise, it’s not vegan (but easily could be), on account of the butter.

Turnips tops could not be any better for you, and I mean that literally. They score the highest marks possible in the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI).


A member of the cruciferous family, the turnip plant beats it’s powerhouse cousins kale and broccoli even.  And, about 96% of a turnip’s nutrients are found in the lush green tops. So get eating cime de rapa!

25 mins | serves 2 | mega ease 


25g butter 
1 onion, diced 
3 cloves garlic, pressed then sliced
4 sprigs thyme 

1 packet cooked lentils, any sort you fancy, rinsed
1 large splash red wine vinegar
1 bunch cime de rapa / turnip tops
350ml veg stock, h-m or good quality if you can
small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
salt flakes and ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a medium frying pan and fry the onion with a light seasoning and the thyme, until it’s lightly caramelised. Throw the garlic in for 20 seconds before adding the lentils.

Give it a stir to coat the lentils and then splash the vinegar in. Cook for a minute and then add the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 12mins until the liquid has thickened to a sauce.

Wash and chop the tops into 3cm long pieces, remember the older bigger stalks can be tough so remove the leaf from the stalk and chop, the younger stalks can be left whole. Bung them in the pan with the lentils, adding a little more stock or water if it’s drier than you’d like, allow the tops a minute or two to wilt, season well and stir in some chopped parsley to serve.



Source: O Tama Carey, who’s new venue in Sydney is soon to be opening in May 18. It’s called the Lankan Filling Station and it’s a real shame it’s not in London is my view!

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