This Beluga Lentil salad is easy to prepare, vegan, and the perfect warming dish for fall and winter.
Have you noticed my lentil obsession? I’ve been on a lentil-cooking crusade lately, scouring the area to find as many kinds of lentils as possible. I’ve eagerly devoured red lentils, French green lentils, regular green lentils, and now– black Beluga lentils. This Beluga Lentil Salad is vegan, easy to prepare, and only uses 10 ingredients.
These special, tiny little lentils get their name because, at a glance, they look like Beluga caviar. Unlike the pricey fish eggs, black Beluga lentils are extremely affordable, fairly easy to find, and are perfect for both busy weeknight dinners and fancier gourmet-style meals. You could, of course, attempt to pass these lentils off as caviar to unsuspecting guests at a dinner party. It would be hilarious, and your faux-roe ruse will either last less than a second, or make everyone think you’re able to afford a heaping bowl of caviar. The jig might be up when they remember they’re sitting in your teensy apartment and not a rambling mansion. In any case, your guests will be thrilled with the lentils, because they are fantastic.
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To start with, you need to get your hands on some black Beluga lentils. It’s possible you’ll find them at your local grocery store, but if they aren’t there, try looking at Whole Foods, at your local health food store, or anywhere else you can buy bulk beans. (I bought mine at Jungle Jim’s). You can also buy them online from Amazon. If you can’t find black lentils, or just really don’t want to spend time looking, you can make this recipe with the green or brown lentils (the flavors will be different, but still delicious).
Making Beluga Lentil Salad
Once you’ve found these little black gems, rinse them and sort out any pebbles.* Sauté the leeks, carrots, and celery for about five minutes, add the garlic, and sauté some more. Increase the heat, add the wine, and let it boil down for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for a couple more minutes. Finally, add the lentils, bay leaves, salt, and some water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer the lentil mixture for about 40 minutes. Once the lentils are soft and the liquid has cooked down, it’s ready! Serve this Beluga Lentil Salad with a big chunk of bread, and dig in.
To be honest, I’ve never found a pebble in my lentils, but the fear of biting down on a rock and hurting a tooth keeps me from skipping this step.
Want more lentils? Of course you do. Try these:
Beluga Lentil Salad
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 leek, sliced (or sub 1 onion, diced)
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 tsp salt, to taste
- To Serve: crusty bread, rice, or couscous
In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil on medium until it begins to shimmer. Add leek, carrots, and celery, and sauté 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high, and add wine. Allow wine to cook down for 1-2 minutes, then lower heat to medium. Add tomatoes, and sauté 1-2 minutes.
Add lentils, bay leaves, 2 tsp salt, and 2 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer about 40 minutes until most of the water has cooked down.
When lentils are finished cooking, remove bay leaves. Serve warm with crusty bread, rice, or couscous.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal. Calorie calculations are based on this serving 4 people, and do not include optional bread or rice.