Lentils have made a serious comeback in the last year or so. Okay, maybe not a kale-style comeback, but a comeback, nonetheless. I don’t want to turn you off from lentils by telling you this, but lentils are pretty darned good for you. Lentils health benefits include being a good source of soluble fiber and protein, along with being a great source of folate and magnesium. The beauty of black lentils is that they have a nuttier taste than regular legumes, plus their black coloring is thanks to anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Black Lentils are not the easiest thing to find, at least where I live, but I consistently find mine now at Bushel and Peck’s, in Beloit, WI.
Lentils are a member of the legume family but here’s the real beauty: you don’t need to soak lentils before cooking them. This makes them an easy and healthy side (or main, depending on how you prepare them) dish to compliment a quick meal. You can change this recipe up by adding different veggies, just keep the cooking of everything to a minimum, so you don’t end up with mushy veggies and lentils. If you’ve ever wondered how to cook lentils, this recipe is a great way to start.
Black lentils are also called Beluga lentils, due to their resemblance to the much pricier and brinier Beluga caviar. But here’s another bonus: black lentils are much, much cheaper. Do I have you loving these little black pearls yet?
braised black lentils with garlic, carrots, celery and herbs recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced or diced carrots
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- pinch fresh or dried thyme
- 1 cup black (beluga) lentils
- 1 and 3/4 cups vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized sauce pan, over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, carrots and celery and cook just until onions begin to become translucent and carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add thyme and lentils and stir well, to coat lentils. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add stock, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs. Remove from heat, remove lid, let sit about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.
You don’t want to over-stir these once the lentils have cooked, or you’ll end up mushing them up, which isn’t very attractive. (But they’re still delicious!)
Don’t be afraid to try new things and never, ever be afraid to play with your food. This recipe is also great cold, as a side salad. Just add the fresh herbs after you’ve removed the lentils from the heat, so you get the real “fresh herb” flavor.