Black Beluga Lentils and More!

Last week was unusually frigid and left me craving warming, wholesome meals.  So, I decided to cook one of my favorite and incredibly simple lentil dishes: Black Beluga lentils Indian Style.

Believed to be Middle Eastern in origin, Beluga lentils are very high in protein (about 24% of the legume is protein).  When raw, Beluga lentils have a shiny, glistening appearance, so much so someone believed these little legumes resembled the black roe of the Beluga sturgeon (no relation to the whale!).  You can find these lentils, which are also excellent in salads, at your local health food store or online.  Yes – they’re costlier legumes, but I think worth every cent.  I get them at Brooklyn’s Union Market where 15 ounces of organic Beluga lentils cost $3.99.  This warming recipe, which I decided to serve up with organic brown rice and collard greens, can also be made with red lentils.

This whole meal, for 2 + leftovers, comes to about $7.42

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Beluga Lentils Indian Style

*This’ll make enough for dinner for 2 + lunch the next day

What You Need

  • 1 Small Onion ($0.35), diced
  • 1 Medium Garlic Clove ($0.08), minced
  • ¾ inch piece Ginger ($0.15), minced
  • ~1 ½ tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ~2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cup Black Beluga Lentils ($2.00), washed and picked through
  • Small Handful Chopped Cilantro ($0.40)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Glug of Olive Oil ($0.10)

What You Do

  • In a medium sized sturdy pot (I prefer to use a Dutch oven) heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Throw in the garlic, ginger, onion.  Stir regularly and sauté until fragrant and onions softened (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Next, stir in spices and cook for about a minute to marry the flavors.  Everything should smell delicious!
  • Add the bay leaf.
  • Add lentils and sauté for about 1-2 minutes, stirring a bit.
  • Next, add enough water (or stock) to cover the lentils, plus 2 inches.
  • Grind in some fresh pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Partially cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes.  Add additional water as needed.
  • Next, add salt and additional pepper to taste.  You can also toss in more spices if you desire.
  • Remove from heat and mix in the chopped cilantro.
  • Serve! We added a little fresh goat cheese on top ($1.98 for 2)

Brown Rice

What You Need

  • ½ cup Organic Brown Rice ($0.15)
  • ½ Small Onion, diced ($0.20)
  • 1 cup Water
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

What You Do

  • In a small saucepan, heat a little olive oil. Add diced onion and sauté until soft. Add rice (I prefer to wash my rice first) and sauté for about a minute. Then, add the water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for about 50 minutes.
  • Let cooked rice sit for a few minutes before fluffing it up and serving.

Organic Collards

What You Need

  • Bunch of Collards, washed and trimmed ($2.99)
  • 1 Clove Garlic ($0.10)
  • ½ Onion ($0.20)
  • Optional: 1 tomato (plum tomatoes are good) ($0.70)
  • Salt & Pepper

What You Do

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
  • Add tomato and cook for a minute or 2.
  • Toss in collard greens, salt, and pepper with other ingredients.
  • Cover loosely and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Feel free to throw in some fresh cilantro or parsley if you have it on hand.
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