Braised Beluga Lentils in a Lemon Cream Sauce

My all-time favourite cookbook comes from a little restaurant in Seattle called Café Flora. The book is filled with extremely creative & delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes. Last week, my boyfriend was in Seattle on business and he got to go to Café Flora for dinner. *a little jealous* This prompted me to flip through my tattered copy of the Café Flora cookbook and choose a new recipe to try. I’ve tried many recipes from this cookbook including my favourite breakfast treat Coconut Macadamia Nut Pancakes. YUM! I’ve not disliked one recipe I’ve tried from this incredible cookbook. I was intrigued by the Braised Beluga Lentils in Lemon Cream Sauce recipe when I stumbled on it. I had been wanting to try beluga lentils in a main dish and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Café Flora serves their version of this dish with artichoke croquettes instead of mixed vegetables. I opted to top the dish with the mixed vegetables, as I had some veggies that needed to be used up. I’ll be sure to post the recipe for the croquettes soon though once I get around to testing them out. They look delicious based on the photos! :)

Do you have a favourite, go-to cookbook? 

Ingredients: Braised Lentils

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot or small red onion, minced
  • 1 cup of black (beluga) lentils; rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon of dried)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Ingredients: Lemon Cream Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (use oil if vegan)
  • 1/4 cup of minced shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of half & half cream (about 10%) OR soy creamer
  • 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Ingredients: Mixed Vegetables

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper; chopped
  • 1 orange pepper; chopped
  • 1 medium sized zucchini; diced
  • 1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence (or a dried mixture of rosemary, thyme & fennel)

Method


For the Lentils: Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and the shallot until both are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the lentils, bay leaf and thyme. Give the lentils a stir to coat them in oil. Cover the lentils with the water, turn up the heat and bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer the lentils for 25 minutes (or until tender). Drain any remaining liquid, remove the bay leaf and season with salt & pepper.


For the Lemon Cream Sauce: Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter is foamy. Add the shallot & garlic and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the wine and cook at a low boil until reduced by half (about 15 minutes). Add the half & half (or soy creamer) and cook at a low boil until reduced by about 1/3 and the sauce thickly coats the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes). Pour the sauce into a blender and add the lemon zest, juice and parmesan cheese. Blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: keep the sauce warm over low heat until the lentils are ready to serve.


For the Vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 10 minutes; or until the peppers are soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the diced zucchini and the Herbes de Provence. Sauté until the zucchini is tender.


To Serve: Pool one-fourth of the warm Lemon Cream Sauce onto each plate. Mound one-fourth of the Braised Black Lentils in the centre of the sauce in a high, neat pile. Place a scoop of the vegetables atop the lentils. Garnish with parmesan curls and/or arugula leaves. 


Source: Café Flora Recipes from the Seattle Restaurant – Catherine Geier

Comments

  1. says

    my favorite restaurant used to have an entree on the menu that had beluga lentils in it. i would get it often because i loved the lentils so much. unfortunately, it’s no longer on the menu..i would love to try making this and revisit my beluga lentil passion ;)

    • says

      This was actually my first time eating beluga lentils. Normally I stick to red lentils in curries and such. I adored the beluga lentils, as they kept their texture so well. And they had a really nice nutty flavour. I’m definitely going to be using them more often. :) Thanks for the note Caitlin :)

  2. says

    Ah, the cookbook you recommended to me! This is such a bright and pretty dish, it reminds me of springtime! The artichoke croquettes sound interesting but I like your idea of topping the lentils with veggies too!

    • says

      Yep! It’s a really great cookbook. So many delicious & creative recipes. If you ever get the chance, check it out. Maybe I should do a Cafe Flora cookbook giveaway on the blog! :) I definitely think it needs some press, because it’s awesome. *hehe* Such fantastic ideas.

    • says

      Thanks Elaina :) I’ve seen a bit of a trend with the savoury dishes I’ve been posted lately. I think the past four have had lemon & cream involved. *hah* I love cooking with fresh lemon. The whole condo smells amazing after!

  3. says

    Love the photo- it is so light & bright!

    The lemon cream sounds amazing and i can’t wait to see the croquettes; I would have to say my “go to” cookbook would be Veganmonican & I also am currently in love with Natural Everyday with Heidi Swanson….I a bit of a cookbook hoarding habit!

    • says

      Thanks! :) I loved this dish, as it reminded me of spring. Sigh….hope spring comes soon! :)

      OooO! I love Heidi Swanson too. Her books are fabulous. The recipes are really good, and the photography is brilliant. So earthy and natural.

  4. elizabeth says

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious. Had to make a few substitutions based on what we had in the kitchen, but it was still divine (substitutions: French lentils, lite cream, more zucchini and less bell pepper). Thank you!

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