I was following a recipe from “The Low Fat Cookbook” today even though I wasn’t cooking for someone that needed a low fat dish. (We all know that fat is flavor!) But I liked how beluga lentils with mushrooms sounded and thumbing through cookbooks and food pictures is a great way to get inspired and come up with something new.
Beluga Lentils with Wild Mushrooms
The recipe called for baby lentils, so I used beluga lentils, mainly because I have a bunch of them already in my pantry. Black lentils, also known as beluga lentils, are eye-catching dark lentils that resemble beluga caviar. They have a deep, earthy flavor, firm texture and are the super nutritious. Beluga lentils are full of protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and they cook quickly. Unlike beans, lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking.
The recipe says to cook the onion and garlic in stock and red wine, which is a low fat method. I sautéed them in olive oil instead. I also added sautéed leeks, which made this dish even more beautiful. The colors were such a surprise and I just loved looking at the dish while I tasted it. The bright green of the leeks and the deep purple of the onions play beautifully against the black lentils.
This dish would make a great main course along with some sauteed green vegetables, roasted carrots, or grilled zucchini.
Here is the recipe, some things are approximate as I was creating as I went…
1 .05 oz package dried oyster or porcini mushrooms
1 ½ cups warm water
2 cups beluga lentils
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 tsp sea salt
4 cups vegetable stock, plus 1/4 cup
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 leek, thinly sliced
7 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion in long slices
1/2 cup red wine
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
1. Place dried mushrooms in small bowl. Pour warm water over mushrooms and let sit 30 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid. Chop mushrooms and set aside.
2. Rinse and pick through lentils to remove any grains or stones. Place in large pot with thyme, oregano, vegetable stock and mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat and drain if necessary. Place in a large bowl. Pull out herb sprigs, pull off any remaining leaves and put back in with lentils. Discard sprigs.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in medium frying pan and saute garlic and leeks over low heat until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup vegetable stock and let simmer until leeks are soft or until liquid is almost gone. Add chopped soaked oyster mushrooms and saute another minute. Place in bowl with lentils.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in same pan over medium low heat and saute shitake mushrooms until tender and a little browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in same pan and saute onions until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Pour in red wine and heat until liquid is almost gone. Place in bowl with lentils.
5. Stir lentils. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in servings bowl and top with shitake mushrooms. Enjoy!