Over the winter I had stocked up on lentils and rice. I bought several pounds of black beluga lentils, lentils du puy, black japonica rice, and a few other slightly offbeat whole-grain rices from Lundberg. I really like the various white rices, but I also really like the nuttier whole-grain varieties.

I’ve been a bit loathe to break out some of the things Nonna wouldn’t really recognize, but I thought I’d give the black lentils a try, tonight. And I’m glad I did – they were a success!

I could tell when she sat down she wasn’t sure about them, but she’s been a real trooper when it comes to trying things. She did, declared them good, and then ate a hefty portion of them!

Lentils are really good for you and have lots of fiber, protein, folic acid, c and b vitamins, amino acids, trace minerals… I remember a million years ago when my grandmother’s doctor told her to eat a small amount of lentils every day. Even back in the Dark Ages, the benefits were known.

So fast-forward a bit and we have black beluga lentils. They’re called beluga because they resemble beluga caviar. They cook up like lentilles du puy – French green lentils – of which I also have several pounds. I’m hoping to make many lentil salads this spring and summer, but in the meantime, a hot lentil dish is the perfect accompaniment to dinner! The recipe will work for any hardy lentil.

Black Lentils

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • pinch salt and pepper

Saute onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil. When vegetables are wilted, add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, about 25 minutes, or until tender. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

The pork tenderloin was marinated in a bit of soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, and garlic, and then grilled. I topped it with some Apricot Pepper Jelly I made back in September. I still have a few jars left.

And I did let Nonna know that she’s free to ask for or suggest things for dinner, as well. I am always open to suggestions or ideas. She smiled and said she couldn’t think of anything right off the bat but would let me know if she did. Then she said I was doing pretty good.

I’ll take it.