Moroccan Beet Greens

January 28, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This is similar to a Moroccan appetizer that is made normally with a green called "Bakoula". I like to use beets in salads, and I save the green leaves for this dish. It reminds me of my grandmother -- may God rest her soul. —Silly Apron

Test Kitchen Notes

One always needs more ways to consume beet greens. Same goes for preserved lemons. Silly apron's recipe provides both, tied together with a bit of smoky paprika. Most of all, we love that it can easily transition from side dish to main course with the addition of some rice and a fried egg. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 bunches beet greens, red stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch salt (no more)
  • 1/4 piece preserved lemon
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 pinch crushed pepper flakes (or chili powder, or paprika if you don't like spice)
  • 2 pieces cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  1. Wash the greens well and leave them in a bowl full of cold clean water.
  2. Gently heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan. When it is just warm, add the grated garlic, cumin, and paprika. If the oil is too, hot they will fry and burn. What we want is just a little reaction to the heat.
  3. Immediately remove the greens from the water, without draining. Place them on a chopping board, and chop them coarsely, then add them to the pan. Turn the heat to medium and give everything one good stir to coat the greens with the spices.
  4. Cover tightly, and turn down the heat. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. You might want to check on it once before the end to make sure it doesn't burn. If you're worried it will burn, just add a little water.
  5. Meanwhile, take a quarter of a preserved lemon (do not wash it), and cut it into 1/4-inch cubes. Set aside a couple for decoration. Uncover the cooking pan and add the preserved lemon cubes and the chopped cilantro and parsley. Stir everything together. Cover and let it cook for 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat.
  6. When serving, drizzle about one tablespoon of a good olive oil over the greens. Garnish with the preserved lemon cubes you reserved, and sprinkle on the chili pepper powder.
  7. This goes so well with a fried egg. It is usually eaten with bread. Bon Appètit!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • KareK
  • bickybee
  • delicia.sampson.7
  • A.O.
  • Stephanie

15 Reviews

KareK November 14, 2021
Delicious. I used thinly sliced, chopped fresh lemon instead of the preserved and that worked in a pinch.
bickybee April 26, 2020
Loved it!
Loralee S. June 21, 2019
This was delicious! I made it exactly as written, although next time I think I will add some plumped raisins to it; I think a little sweetness would really complement the bitter. I had it with some nice bread toasted and buttered and two fried eggs for dinner tonight.
delicia.sampson.7 February 9, 2018
For "Southern Style" without pork: If you eat meat, substitute smoked turkey ( good butcher departments will have a smoked turkey leg.) or if you are vegetarians used smoked paprika and a good olive oil to drizzle on top.
DeVora February 8, 2018
My husband disliked this recipe and said he likes the Southern style greens. Need a recipe without pork.
A.O. March 29, 2015
Stephanie - You can slice them the way you like.
Stephanie March 29, 2015
for the preserved lemons are they sliced in wheel shape, how thick and I am assuming submerged in liquid-cant wait to try
Durhamhp March 30, 2014
if I want to make this today and don't have preserved lemons made, any suggestions for replacement? I know it won't be "the same," but maybe some zest instead?
Silly A. March 30, 2014
What you are looking for is some acidity so I suggest you use olives and finish with some lemon juice or even vinegar. Sorry I am not sure about the exact amounts but you can start with 1tsp and add more to taste. Vinegar is surprisingly good with this!
Silly A. March 5, 2014
Good question! A lightly packed 1T is good :)
SFCohen March 5, 2014
Since lemons vary so much in size, about how much preserved lemon is "1/4 piece"? 1t or 1T?
Silly A. March 5, 2014
Mine are 2 years old, and they're still good! I use organic lemons, sea salt, and a liquid made of half lemon juice, half water. I store them in the fridge, and I always follow my mom's advice (the only one I follow) to never use my fingers to get them out of the jar.
delicia.sampson.7 March 5, 2014
Do preserved lemons ever go bad?
David L. February 26, 2014
After reading, the Beets got the rest beat. I will try it soon especially since I just completed a batch of Preserved Lemons using Meyers, but also it seems less silly than the others. My one concern is the cilantro cooking for five minutes. My experience is cilantro looses its wonder with to much heat.
Silly A. February 26, 2014
Good point about cilantro! I should try to add it at the end next time to compare. In Morocco, when you are at the market, you can smell cilantro from a distance, and the flavor is too strong for a garnish, that's maybe why it is always cooked in traditional Moroccan cuisine. If you ever try the recipe let me know what you think!