Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

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This Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew is vegan, gluten-free, and plant-forward, but creamy and delicious. With hearty black beluga lentils, umami-packed mushrooms, and nutrition superstar kale, this is comfort food you can feel good about!
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 50 mins
5 from 109 votes

A few days ago, I posed an important question on Instagram: what kind of new recipes would you like to see in 2019. I got a lot of different responses, but some of the most common responses were:

  • Gluten-free recipes
  • Plant-forward dishes
  • Savory comfort food

And today’s recipe for a Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew is all of those things! It’s vegan and gluten-free, heavy on plants, and definitely qualifies as delicious savory comfort food.

	 Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

Why you’ll love this recipe

This stew boasts a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein from the lentils, mushrooms, garlic, and kale. And then gets hit with a flavorful mixture of tahini, miso paste, tamari, and coconut milk.

The resulting taste is electric and unique, packed with strong notes of umami and a rich, creamy mouthfeel. It’s the kind of comfort food you can feel good about eating without a single ounce of guilt.

Ingredient Rundown

Now that I’ve obviously sold you on this dish, let’s talk about the ingredients, shall we? The heart of this dish are mushrooms black beluga lentils. I use a combination of cremini mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms to balance out taste and cost. Shiitake mushrooms bring a bold, savory flavor, but since they are quite pricy, I only use a small portion and rely on inexpensive cremini mushrooms for the bulk of the stew.

And for the lentils, I absolutely adore black beluga lentils, which are tiny black lentils that look almost like caviar once cooked (hence the name beluga). Unlike green, brown, or red lentils, they hold their shape well when cooked. And they have a delicate yet full-bodied taste, absorb other flavors really well, and pair particularly well with meaty vegetables (hi, mushrooms).

I love using black beluga lentils in this dish for the above-mentioned reasons. First, the lentils stay firm-ish in this stew, so it feels heartier and adds some textural differences (instead of having a one-note, soft, mushy stew). And second, the lentils take on the flavors of the remaining ingredients, including the earthy, umami-packed flavors of the mushrooms, miso, and tahini. And bonus: black lentils, like dark-colored fruits (i.e., blackberries and blueberries) contains anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cellular damage caused by free-radicals. #antioxidants

Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

Black lentils are sold in most grocery stores (or online), but if you can’t find them, the best substitute would be French green lentils (also called Puy lentils). These guys are similar in size and texture to black beluga lentils and also hold their shape well when cooked.

Tips for cooking this recipe

To cook the lentils, the easiest method is to pressure cook them in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Just pop the lentils in the pot with the vegetable broth or water and flavoring ingredients and pressure cook for 6 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I’ve also included stovetop instructions below.

While the lentils are cooking, you can work on the other part of the stew, which is quite easy once you’ve prepared all your ingredients. If I can be a bit of a food snob for a minute, I recommend using a high-quality tahini and balsamic vinegar. If your tahini is chunky or bitter, the stew is not going to taste as great as it could. And for the balsamic vinegar, if all you have is a cheap $2 vinegar, you’re better off adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead.

Serving suggestions

This Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew is hearty enough to serve on its own, but if you want to spread it across more mouths (or more days), serve it over a bed of your favorite grain (my choice would be millet or quinoa). Or, it’s great with a side of rustic, freshly baked bread (duh).

If you try this recipe out, be sure to leave me a comment below and tag me with your creation on Instagram!

Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

5 from 109 votes
This Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew is vegan, gluten-free, and plant-forward, but creamy and delicious. With hearty black beluga lentils, umami-packed mushrooms, and nutrition superstar kale, this is comfort food you can feel good about!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: French-Inspired, New American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

Lentils

  • 1 cup (~200g) black beluga lentils (can substitute French green lentils)
  • 1 3/4 cups (420mL) low-sodium vegetable broth or water (2 cups (or 480mL) if cooking lentils on stovetop)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon if cooking lentils on stovetop)
  • 8 whole black peppercorns

Mushroom Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (you can use less if you’re using a nonstick pan)
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 ounces (~450g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces (~110g) shiitake mushrooms (caps only), sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality tahini
  • 1 ½ tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 cups (480mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup (120mL) “lite” coconut milk or unsweetened oat milk, cashew milk, or soy milk
  • 1 head of Tuscan lacinato kale, tough midribs removed and leaves sliced
  • 1-2 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Sift through the lentils to remove any debris or pebbles. Then place them in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • To make the lentils in the Instant Pot, combine all of the Lentils ingredients in the inner pot and stir to combine. Select the Pressure Cook setting (or Manual setting, depending on your model) at high pressure for a cook time of 6 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release.
  • To make the lentils on the stovetop, add the lentils to a large saucepan or Dutch oven and add the 2 cups of vegetable broth or water. Add the remaining ingredients (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black peppercorns). Bring the water a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and add a pinch of salt. Simmer the lentils for 20-25 minutes until just tender.
  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare the ingredients for the mushroom stew (chop the vegetables, measure out the ingredients, etc.).
  • To make the mushroom stew, heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the sliced cremini and shiitake mushrooms and let them sit undisturbed for 3 minutes to allow them to brown. Then stir the mushrooms, and add a generous amount of kosher salt and pepper. Add the garlic, thyme leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir to combine until the mixture is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan for 2-3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits as needed. Then add the miso paste, tahini, and tamari and stir into the mushrooms to coat them. Add the cooked and drained lentils, 2 cups vegetable broth, and lite coconut milk. Stir well, and bring the stew to a boil.
  • Once the stew is boiling, carefully pour half of it into a stand blender. Blend until the mixture is completely pureed and smooth, and then pour the mixture back into the pot and stir to combine. Alternatively, use an immersion blender directly in the pot to partially blend the stew.
  • Once the stew has been blended, add in the sliced kale. Bring the stew to a boil until it is thick and creamy and the kale has wilted. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 799mg | Potassium: 1079mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6931IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 207mg | Iron: 7mg

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218 comments on Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

  1. Ansu

    5 stars
    Nisha your recipes are deeply satisfying with a dimensional taste profile that is impressive. This stew is a wonderful example. The mushroom saute using thyme, garlic, and wine is great! But then you push flavor to stratospheric levels when the lentils and mushrooms are stewed with tahini, miso, and tamari. The finish with balsamic vinegar freshens it perfectly. I listened to you and bought the right brand of tahini. This is a STUNNING, DELICIOUS, GOURMET stew that I will be making on repeat!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Ansu! :)

  2. Priscillium

    5 stars
    The recipe is delicious and original, but be careful not to put in too much salt. The recipe has tamari, vegetable broth, miso and more salt. Be sure that the result doesn’t turn out so salty as it happened to me!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Ooh, sorry to hear the stew turned out a bit too salty for your taste! :/ Glad you enjoyed the recipe otherwise.

  3. Melissa

    5 stars
    Wow! This was soooo good! We made as written aside from not adding coconut milk. It was still decadent, flavorful, and creamy delicious without it. Will definitely make again!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Melissa. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  4. Amy Walls

    5 stars
    Excellent cool weather stew! Enjoyable to make- oh the wonderful smells- and equally satisfying to eat. This is going into my winter season rotation.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Amy, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  5. Lauren Dwyer

    This was absolutely fabulous! My husband and I have been trying to incorporate more plant based food into our diet and this is definitely something we will make frequently. The flavors are so delicious! I used all fresh ingredients and I’m 100% certain that made it taste even better. In case anyone would find this helpful, these are the only changes I made:

    I used spinach instead of kale (we like the taste of spinach better)
    I had no miso so we just omitted that ingredient
    I didn’t use quite as much salt
    I blended about 1/3 of the lentils into my Vitamix after I cooked them with about 1 cup of the vegetable broth. I blended them first, and then added them to the mushroom, onion, etc. mix. I wanted to make sure that all the mushrooms were intact and not blended.

    I served this with a crusty ciabatta. The smells while making this are so delicious! We are looking forward to having the rest of this soup tonight as you know how soups the second day taste even better!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lauren, we’re thrilled you and your husband are fans of the soup! Using fresh ingredients definitely makes a difference. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      And next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  6. Katrina Bannikova

    Complex flavors. Very satisfying and nutritious meal

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing Katrina, we’re glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Olivia

    5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe! I’ve shared it with every vegan and/or mushroom lover I know and I’m so excited it’s cold so I can make it again!

  8. Becky

    I want to make this! How do you know which brands are good tahini? Do you have recommendations?Thanks

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Becky, make sure you use a brand of tahini that’s creamy, smooth, and nutty in taste.

      Avoid using (1) bottom-of-the-jar crusty bits of tahini and (2) refrigerated tahini, as it can become very thick and is much harder to whisk.

      The brands we use in the Rainbow Plant Life kitchen include Soom Foods, Baron’s, Beirut Tahini Sesame Paste, and Seed & Mill.

      1. Becky

        5 stars
        I had Baran’s in the pantry! I made it yesterday and it was so good. I took some in for my colleagues and they want the recipe too! Well done!

        1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Wonderful! :)

  9. Maura

    5 stars
    This was more delicious than we expected it to be…we used spinach instead of kale and soy sauce instead of tamari (which we cut down to 1T due to saltiness) but otherwise recipe as written. We liked the blended portion – it gave a nice texture when added in.

    We removed the bay leaf when we drained it but did not remove the rosemary sprig or the peppercorns – would definitely remove next time. Thx for another awesome supper!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Maura!

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