Ingredient spotlight: beluga lentils

Beluga lentils

Beluga lentils are delicious little critters, that’s for sure. The first time I had them was when we as a family had a vegetarian Christmas dinner, and one of the sides involved these lentils. They looked fancy and expensive, and it felt like a decadent and rare delicacy. That could be down to how my mother cooked them or how beautifully and artfully they were arranged on the plate. Regardless, beluga lentils are great and you should totally try them out. 

Some say that the lentils look like beluga caviar, which is how they got their name, but I wouldn’t know anything about that since I’m not about the seafood. I think they are cute and taste good and turns out they are healthy and affordable, so what else is there to want really. 

The taste is earthy, but not the full soil, I-just-shoved-dirt-in-my-mouth feeling I get from beet roots, so I am gonna say mildly earthy. The lentils take only around 15 to 20 minutes to cook, but can also be prepared ahead of time. 

Nutrition

Beluga lentils contain a high amount of protein as well as fiber and calcium. They also provide iron, and potassium as well as antioxidants. (The antioxidant in the lentils is the same one found in cherries and blueberries and other dark foods, giving them their purple, black, or blue coloring.)

Uses/recipes

These pulses are great as sides for almost anything. In combination with a simple dressing, they make delicious simple side salads, but can also form the base of a loaded dinner salad. 

With some aromatics or flavorful little additions, it can be transformed from a side salad to a main in its own right as well. You can also include it in soups and curries, or as a base for a falafel. As with most beans, there are many variations that you can explore, and I absolutely encourage you to do so!

You totally got this. I believe in you so hard. Just start cooking with them and see what happens and evolves for you! You could probably use them for any recipe that calls for a side of polenta or couscous or rice and either replace or add to the base carb. There is hardly anything that can go wrong and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it, and that’s totally fine! Not everything has to be for everyone! And the only way to learn what new and other things you like is to try out. You will knock this out of the park! I know it! You can do it!

Sources

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lentils#types
  2. https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/different-types-lentils
  3. https://www.cspinet.org/tip/we-can%E2%80%99t-get-enough-these-easy-black-lentil-dishes
  4. https://www.merchant-gourmet.com/food-discoveries/ingredient/beluga-lentils/
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lentil
  6. https://joybauer.com/photo-gallery/8-trendy-proteins-you-should-be-eating/black-lentils/

General caveats that I feel compelled to add: 

I am *NOT* a nutritionist. I am just someone who is deeply interested in and profoundly committed to eating delicious food only. In seeking to reach this goal, I am often trying out random new ingredients that I come across. These ingredients are ones I may not know anything about, and so I am simply sharing my notes with you. I will be updating these as I go along and learn more. I will also link to more recipes that use these ingredients, so that you can try them yourself. If you have any allergies or intolerances, please consult with an actual doctor who can guarantee you accurate information.

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