This Beluga Lentil salad is easy to prepare, vegan, and the perfect warming dish for fall and winter.
Who else loves lentils? 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, and now– black Beluga lentils.
These special, tiny little lentils get their name because, at a glance, they look like Beluga whales. (No? Is that not correct?) I’m just kidding guys! They look like Beluga caviar.
Unlike the pricey fish eggs, black Beluga lentils are extremely affordable, relatively 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, though, when they remember that 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.
This Beluga Lentil Salad is a delicious and easy vegan side dish that’s perfect for cold winter nights.
Where can you buy Beluga Lentils?
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. You can also buy them online.
Quick Tip: If you can’t find black lentils, or just really don’t want to spend time looking, you can make this recipe with easy-to-find green or brown lentils. The flavors will be a little different, but still delicious.
Making Beluga Lentil Salad
Once you’ve found these little black gems, rinse them and sort out any pebbles.
Quick Tip: 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.
Sauté the leeks, carrots, and celery for about five minutes, then add the garlic and sauté some more. Increase the heat, add the wine, and let it boil down for a few 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 25 minutes. Then, add some Dijon mustard and a little more wine, and cook for a couple more minutes. Once the lentils are soft and the liquid has cooked down, it’s ready!
Serve a large, heaping scoop of this warming Beluga Lentil Salad in a bowl with a big chunk of bread, or as a side to another dish. Dig in and enjoy as you wait for spring to come!
Want more VEGAN SIDES? Try these:
- Lemon Risotto with Roasted Cauliflower
- Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Charred Lemons
- Braised Kale with Apple Cider Vinegar
Want more LEGUMES? Try these:
Beluga Lentil Salad
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 3/4 cup white wine, divided
- 1 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 TB dijon mustard
- In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil on medium until oil begins to shimmer.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add 1/2 cup wine. Allow wine to cook down for 1-2 minutes, then lower heat to medium.
- Add lentils, bay leaves, salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and simmer about 25 minutes until most of the water has cooked down.
- Add remaining wine and the mustard. Stir, and then simmer 5 more minutes.
- Serve warm as a side dish, or with a chunk of crusty bread as a main course.
- Substitute regular green or brown lentils for beluga lentils. Reduce cook time by about 5 minutes.
- Substitute French green lentils. Cook time will remain the same.