Monday, June 8, 2015

Basic Black: Beluga Lentils

These beautiful tiny black lentils, which are named for the Beluga caviar they resemble, are deeply flavorful and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Lentils require no pre-soaking and since Belugas are so small, they cook thoroughly in thirty minutes or less. A batch prepared ahead of time can be stored for several days in the fridge,  ready to become a satisfying meal in minutes. 

Basic Black Beluga Ingredients:

3 cups black beluga lentils
6 + cups fresh water
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)


 Place lentils and water in a heavy pot with a well fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then lower flame so that lentils are gently simmering. Add garlic, cloves and bay leaves. Cover and allow to simmer for about thirty minutes. If you have a flame tamer, place it between the burner and the pot to distribute heat evenly and prevent scorching.

Stir lentils occasionally and add a little water if needed. Lentils are done when tender.  Remove garlic cloves and place in a bowl. Mash the cloves with a fork; the garlic skins will separate easily. Stir the mashed garlic back into the pot. Add sea salt to taste. While lentils are still hot, place them in clean glass jars and cover tightly. Lentils handled this way will keep well in the fridge for up to one week.

Serving suggestions:

1. Steam or saute any dark leafy greens which you have on hand; serve with hot lentils.
2. Chiffonade a stack of leafy greens. Place the ribbons in a layer on top of lentils as they heat in a covered pot. When greens have wilted, remove and serve with lentils.
3. Puree lentils in blender, thinning with some water or plain unsweetened nut milk. Heat and serve.
4. Toss a few tablespoons of chilled lentils into your favorite raw salad.


Try any one or a combination of these garnishes: Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, chopped red, orange or yellow sweet pepper, dried red pepper flakes, freshly ground black peppercorns, chopped cilantro, parsley or basil leaves. When sweet corn is is season, remove kernels (cooked or raw) from cob and add to lentils.

Black Belugas, ready to heat and eat.