Black lentil bowls with crisp greens, a poached egg, and a heavenly beet-tahini dressing to tie it all together. Oh, black lentils. Black beluga lentils in all of their humble, glistening glory. If I may, I’d like to make a generalized, somewhat-subjective (but not really) statement that black lentils are the QUEEN B’s of legumes. They’re firm, rich, extremely versatile, and perfect for salads, soups, and stews.
And you may not know (or maybe you do!), but lentils are one of the easiest legumes to cook. They’re actually hard to screw up, though it is possible. But not for you since after reading this you are going to become a lentil-cooking machine.Lentil cooking tips:
- Use plenty of water. Lentils are like pasta in that they’re best cooked in an abundance of water or stock. Bring your liquid up to a boil, add your lentils, reduce your heat to a simmer and cook for them for around 25 to 35 minutes, until tender.
- Use a LOT of aromatics. Lentils can take on endless flavor. Throw a quartered onion, some crushed garlic, a bundle of herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, etc.), fennel seed, and plenty of salt in the cooking liquid and your lentils will come alive with flavor.
- Finish with vinegar. Stir in a few teaspoons of red wine or sherry vinegar after your lentils are done cooking and they will come ALIVE.
Oh, and make a double batch. Always. You will never regret it.Ok, onto the dressing. I have been dousing every one of my salads and grain bowls with this dressing all week and I still get giddy with excitement over it.
It’s a glorious mix of roasted beets, tahini, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. That’s it! The earthy sweetness of the beets compliments the nutty tahini beautifully, making for an incredibly vibrant dressing with rich, savory depth and a rounded brightness. For the sake of convenience and time, you can totally use the packs of pre-roasted beets instead of roasting your own. They’re not quite as flavorful, but they do the job just fine.
And as far as tahini, I highly recommend using Soom brand. I’ve tried almost every brand out there, and the flavor can vary depending on where the sesame seeds come from and how they’re toasted and milled. Soom tahini is thick and unctuous, with no oil separation on top. It has a wonderfully creamy texture with a toasty, faintly bitter yet balanced flavor.These bowls hold up beautifully for make-ahead lunches—just pack the greens and dressing separate and dress it right before serving.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND, FRIENDS.
- 2 cups cooked black lentils (see cooking notes above)
- 2 medium beets, trimmed*
- ¼ cup tahini (such as Soom)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. water
- 4 poached eggs
- 4 cups mixed greens
- Good quality olive oil for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets in an 8x8 baking dish; fill with ½-inch water (this helps the beets steam). Loosely cover pan with foil and bake for 60 to 80 minutes, until super-tender. Let cool; peel and discard skins. Transfer beets to food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth, adding water in 1 Tbsp. increments until desired consistency is achieved.
- To assemble bowls, spread beet-tahini dressing on the bottom of 4 bowls or plates. Add ½ cup cooked black lentils, 1 cup mixed greens, and 1 poached egg. Drizzle olive oil evenly overtop. Season egg and greens with extra salt and pepper, if desired.
Nutrition information (such as sodium) will vary depending on how you cook your lentils.