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Beluga Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Shallot and Carrot Lentil Salad

Do you know what’s amazingly delicious? Lentils. But not just lentils, lentils cooked in chicken broth with a ton of bay leaves and black pepper.

Oh, and black lentils might have just become my favorite lentils of all.

I love French lentils, and everyone knows red lentils have their own inimitable place, but when we were in Rail City Market last week I asked Jedd to grab “black lentils.” (Meaning French lentils, which are actually green, what can I say? I was really hungry and had no brain power.) And he came back with these – my mind was blown.

And I mean blown.

They’re itty bitty! They’re adorable! And they cook up, like a dream.

They’re also called beluga lentils – which I’d heard of – but hadn’t thought much about.

Until that moment they came into my life in a plastic bag on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s kind of a “meet cute,” right?

Their texture is like a creamy black bean, and they absorb flavors like a champ.

Hence, the chicken broth and the bay leaves and black pepper.

My whole plan for getting lentils in the first place was because I had a bag of carrots to use up, and a perky shallot sitting in a bowl on the counter. And last year for my mother’s birthday I’d made her a French lentil salad with roasted vegetables, and I’d been craving it for a while.

So, armed with a big bag of these guys I made a salad that made me grin, and grin, and grin.

Lentil Tips:

  • Rinse them and pick them over for small stones. Now, that may sound like a silly extra step on the road to the deliciousness of a pot of cooked lentils – but it’s a necessary one. Because of the size and shape of lentils, sometimes small stones get picked up during harvesting. So, just give ‘em a rinse under cold water in a colander, and consider that your due diligence for the day. Now you can slough off for the rest of the meal!

 

  • Cook Them with All the Good Things: I’m not a garlic person, but I’ve heard rumors that garlic is fabulously delicious with these little legumes. I’m more of a shallot/onion type of gal, so that’s what I cook in the lentil liquid. Also, don’t skimp on the bay leaves, lentils and bay leaves truly adore each other.

 

 

  • “Al Dente” is Subjective: I like my lentils a little on the toothsome side because they’re going to be in a salad, and I want them to retain their shape. But, you know what? There’s nothing wrong with a soft lentil either. Mmm. But, the general rule of thumb to check them frequently after the 25 minute mark, to see what makes you happy.

Roasted Shallot and Carrot Lentil Salad

Serves 4.

Lentil Ingredients:

1 cup black/beluga lentils

½ large shallot, roughly chopped

3 bay leaves

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups chicken broth

Instructions:

Bring the lentils to a boil with the shallot, bay leaves, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes, and taste until they’re al dente.

Pour through a colander, and run under cold water to stop them from cooking. Reserve.

Roasted Vegetable Ingredients:

1 ½ cups baby carrots, halved

1 large shallot, quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fit a large, rimmed sheet pan with parchment.

Toss the vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly caramelized. Reserve.

Vinaigrette and Salad Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup baby salad greens

To Assemble:

Place the cooked lentils and roasted vegetables in a large bowl.

Whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon, lemon pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, and top with baby greens.

Serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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