Black Lentils (Lens esculenta) are a very popular legume in South Asia, where they are used to make a beautiful black lentil soup. Black Beluga Lentils have a mild, earthy flavor and soft texture, yet they don't easily fall apart as do other lentils.
The quick cooking and nutritious nature of lentils make them an obvious choice for winter soups. They're delicious in chilled vegetable salads, or mix with bread crumbs, minced onion and garlic to stuff roasted red peppers or eggplant.
Lentils do not require soaking. Simmer 1 cup lentils with 4 cups water 12 minutes for salads, 20 to 30 minutes for main dishes, drain. Skim the water while cooking. One cup dry yields 2 cups cooked.
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