Black lentils add drama to this stunning summer salad

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – Caviar-like black lentils (also known as beluga lentils for that reason) add drama to juicy grape tomatoes, shallot and herbs.

Kohlrabi bulbs or broccoli stems cut into matchsticks deliver pale, crisp contrast, and the resulting salad is dressed in a rich, mustard vinaigrette.

When I make this salad, I prefer to use kohlrabi.

You’ve probably eyed it at the farmers markets – it’s that vegetable that looks like it could be a plot point in a sci-fi movie, a tough-skinned bulb with long, thin stems that seem to be shooting out from all over it, topped with a head of dark green leaves. (Sometimes the bulbs are sold with the stems and leaves removed.)

Kohlrabi is in the brassica family, with similar nutritional assets to those of its cousins: broccoli, cabbage, kale and collard greens – a bounty of health-protective plant compounds, fibre, vitamin C, potassium and minerals.

Both the bulb and leaf of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are similar to collard greens or kale, and can be substituted for them in most recipes. The peeled bulb – use a paring knife for best results – is crisp and a bit juicy, with a mild, sweet, earthy flavour. It can be sliced for dipping, shredded into slaws, chopped for salads, or roasted, sauteed or boiled as you would a turnip.

Unfortunately, kohlrabi can sometimes be difficult to find in grocery stores. A close comparison in taste and texture is broccoli stems, which you can easily substitute in this recipe with delicious results.

Either way, you get a sumptuous lentil salad that makes a stunning side for a summer cookout or a satisfying vegan main course.

Black lentil salad with vegetables and herbs. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

BELUGA LENTIL SALAD WITH VEGETABLES AND HERBS

25 minutes

Six servings

In this salad, matchsticks of kohlrabi or broccoli stems add pale, crisp contrast to tender, caviar-like black lentils, along with juicy grape tomatoes, shallot and herbs, coated in a rich mustard vinaigrette.

Make Ahead: The lentils can be cooked and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.

Storage Notes: The salad can be refrigerated for up to three days in an airtight container.

Where to Buy: Kohlrabi is most easily found in at farmers markets.

Ingredients

One cup black beluga lentils

Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

One tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Two teaspoons Dijon mustard

Half teaspoon kosher salt

Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two medium bulbs kohlrabi or broccoli stems from one head of broccoli, tough skins removed, cut in to thin matchsticks (about one cup)

One cup grape tomatoes, quartered

Quarter cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Two tablespoons very finely chopped shallot

One tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or one teaspoon dried

Steps

Bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.

Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and sort through them to remove any stones that may be present. Stir the lentils into the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until they are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about one hour.

Once the lentils are cool, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the lentils with the kohlrabi, tomatoes, parsley, shallot and tarragon. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss to combine.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition | Calories: 171; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 173mg; Carbohydrates: 17g; Dietary Fibre: 3g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 8g.