Named for their resemblance to beluga caviar, black beluga lentils are an excellent source of fiber, protein and folate. Their black color comes from anthocyanins -members of the flavonoid group which includes berries, tea, honey and red wine. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.

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With a slightly nutty taste and chewy texture that holds its shape, this beluga lentils are perfect for soups, salads or on their own. And because they contain 9 grams of protein in ¼ cup, these guys will keep you feeling full longer.

I made a batch to go along with a roasted pork loin the night before and used the leftovers in a salad for lunch the next day. I think they’re even better the next day!

(Unlike beans, lentils do not necessarily need to be presoaked and take about 20-30 minutes to cook.)

1 carrot chopped
1 celery cut in half and chopped
1 shallot (can substitute onion but like the richness the shallot gives the dish)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of Black Beluga Lentils
2 cups of water or broth
1 twig of thyme or rosemary. You can either take the leaves off the stem and finely chop or put in the whole twig and remove before serving.
1 Bay Leaf (optional)

To the pan, add some olive oil and a sliver of butter. Once that gets warm and looks shimmery, throw in the first 3 ingredients and let them sweat for about 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Then, add the garlic and let that cook for about a minute, but be careful not to burn the garlic.

Next add the lentils and saute them with the other ingredients for about 1 minute.

Now it’s time to add the water or broth, the thyme and cover. Once boiling, turn the temperature down to low and stir the lentils. You want to see a few bubbles in the pot and some movement. You want them to simmer not boil.

Check on the lentils a few times during the 25 minutes (and it can take longer) and stir to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom. Add some salt when they are done cooking. If you add salt too early, the lentils will stay on the crunchy side and not cook all the way through. (Same goes when cooking any other beans. It’s a little tip I learned from Cook’s Illustrated and it definitely works.)

Once done, I added a little of the juice that came off the roasting pork. It just gave it a little richer flavor. This dish makes a really nice accompaniment to roasted pork loin but I can see eating a lot of these lentils in the winter just by themselves. Yum!

For my salad the next day, I had some red leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and peppers and then added about a cup of leftover lentils. To dress the salad, I made a simple Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette. The Dijon paired nicely with the richness of the lentils. This would also be delicious for dinner. It was super hearty and filling.

Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
1 TB Dijon Mustard
1 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
¼ Cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

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