Beluga Lentil “Caviar”

Serves 4

Black lentils, also known as black beluga due to their resemblance to caviar, are one of the earliest known cultivated crops. Native to the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates valleys, lentils are also grown in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Canada. Black lentils are sold dried in bags, and by bulk. But they can sometimes be hard to find.

Cook: Some people like to rinse and soak lentils, but this can be a roadblock for many. I like to simplify and jump right into cooking: 1 cup of lentils to 2 cups of water or broth will do the trick. From there, they can be flavored in myriad ways.

Eat: This dish is great straight up, on toast or crackers, or mixed with your favorite greens.

Store: I always use an airtight glass container, and this dish keeps for about four days that way – and gets better with time.

Waste: You can use the entire scallion. Just discard the hairy end. You can use the stems and leaves of the dill.

Connect: This dish is superb as an appetizer for a gathering of friends and family. Put a dollop on warm crusty bread, and it will be the talk of the table. 

  • 1/2 cup beluga or black lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste, or one cube
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon shallot, small dice
  • 2 scallion, thinly sliced on bias
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  1. In a small pot, combine lentils, water, vinegar and bouillon. Cover pot and cook on medium until it boils, then reduce to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. 
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine oil, garlic, shallot, dill, scallion, capers and pepper. Once lentils are done, add to bowl and toss. Serve on crackers, toasted bread or simply eat as a salad. 

Nutrition: 1 cup cooked yields 18 grams of protein and 56 percent of the daily value of fiber. Lentils are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of copper and phosphorus, in addition to other vitamins and minerals.