Moroccan Lentil Pizza w Pickled Baby Beets, Fennel, Tahini + Mint

Over the past few months I’ve been working hard on taking Veggie num num to the next level. Creating a new, beautiful space to share recipes and filling it with lots of useful resources on becoming vegetarian and enjoying healthy plant-based food. Thing’s go far slower than I would like, still that’s how life is at the moment and that’s okay.

Work and family life are a balance and I feel ever so grateful simply to have the opportunity to devote so much time to this! I look forward to bringing all my ideas to you soon but until then, at least there’s pizza and a dang good one at that!

This vegan pizza recipe has been sitting on my to-do list for far too long and I’m glad to finally be sharing it. It’s a combination of so many flavours I love and ones you see often here on Veggie num num. Harissa sauce, spiced lentils, syrupy pickled beets, crunchy fennel, sweet mint, all drizzled with creamy tahini; it sure made my belly happy!!

I used the simple option of a store-brought flat bread for the base, if you’d like to make your own, you could use this simple pizza dough recipe. The lentil mince is incredibly tasty and versatile. Serve it over toast, in a wrap or with salad or vegetables for a warming and tasty protein packed lunch or dinner.

Following my Dad’s homemade pickled beet recipe, I added caraway, lemon and fennel to make it a little fancy and complement the other ingredients. The recipe below only makes a small amount. You could always double it (or more), if you’re lucky enough to have a glut of beetroots lying around.

Warm spicy flavours, topped with fresh green goodness and as much tahini as you can muster; I sure hope you’ll enjoy this one!!

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|| note: you can use large beetroot for this recipe and simple double or quadruple if you have lots lying around. The pickled beets will keep in your fridge or unopened in a sterilized jar in the pantry. ||

Preparation time: 50mins // makes one small jar

  • 250g (9oz) baby beetroot, scrubbed + whiskers and leafy tops trimmed
  • ½-1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 organic lemon, zest
  • 1 tbs leafy fennel tops

Place the whole beetroot in a saucepan with enough water to generously cover. Bring to the boil and continue to gently boil for around 15-25 minutes or until the skins start to wrinkle. Remove the beets from the saucepan, reserving the cooking water and set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle peel away the skins and then dice into cubes. Return the diced beets to the saucepan with around ½ cup of the reserved cooking water and ½ cup apple cider vinegar. Adding more water and vinegar if needed to cover the diced beetroot completely.

Add the maple syrup to taste and caraway seeds. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for around 20-25 minutes until beetroot is tender.

You can bottle the beetroot at this stage in a sterilized jar if you plan to store it in the pantry, simply top up with extra vinegar and water to fill the jar, if needed.

If using straight away, allow to cool and then toss through the lemon zest and fennel tops.

Preparation time 35 mins // Serves 4

  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs rice bran or sunflower oil
  • ½ tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Place the rinsed lentils in a saucepan with the three cups of water and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and allow the lentils to simmer gently, covered, for around 25 minutes until tender and liquid is absorbed. Once the lentils are cooked remove the cinnamon stick.

Meanwhile add the cumin and coriander seeds to a mortar and pestle with the nutmeg, ginger, all spice and cayenne pepper. Grind to form a spice powder.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat and dry roast the spice mix until fragrant. Being careful to keep the heat low and not burn the spices. Remove from the pan.

Return the pan to the heat, add the oils and fry the onion over a medium heat for 4 minutes, or so, until soft. Add the roasted spice powder and garlic. Toss to form a spice paste in the pan.

Add the cooked lentils with salt flakes and cracked pepper to taste. Fry over a medium heat for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

This savoury lentil mince is super versatile and can also be frozen for a quick protein packed addition to meals when time is short.


Preparation time: 20 minutes (+ around 50 minutes to prepare the above) // makes two medium pizzas

  • Prepared pickled baby beets
  • Prepared lentil mince
  • 2 Lebanese flat bread or pizza base of your choice
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • 2-3 tbs harissa paste (to taste)
  • 3 tbs pine nuts
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • good handful of fresh mint leaves
  • extra fennel top greens
  • 3 tbs (or more) tahini

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/390°F and line two baking trays with baking paper.

In a small bowl mix the tomato paste with the harissa until well combined.

Spread the tomato paste mixture over the flat bread or pizza bases, top in a single layer with a good amount of the spicy lentil mince, scatter over the pickled beets and then the pine nuts.

Drizzle over a little olive oil and place in the hot oven for around 15 minutes until base is crisp and edges brown.

Remove from the oven and scatter with the sliced fennel, roughly tear and scatter over the mint and fennel greens and then drizzled with tahini before cutting into wedges to serve.

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