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 Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
5 from 46 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 46 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
Keyword: black beluga lentils, gluten-free, mushrooms, nut-free, stew
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.

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84 comments on Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

  1. Olivia

    5 stars
    This is one of the yummiest things I have ever eaten. I subbed button and portobello mushrooms because I had those on hand, and I used curly kale, but followed the rest of the recipe as is. I have raved about it to friends and shared the recipe many times! Can’t wait to make it again!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  2. Stela Zarea

    5 stars
    Amazing dish, thank you. So flavourful and simple, it was ready in 30 min max. My husband was happy, Beluga are his favourite lentils. Indeed they are one of the best choice, they have good texture and sweet taste by nature. Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s great to hear, Stela! Thanks for leaving a review :)

  3. Linda Zimmerman

    5 stars
    Very flavorful dish! Love the way the flavors come together and meld. This is a rich, filling stew, as well. I will definitely make this again.

    1. Theresa

      5 stars
      Wow! So amazing! I’m keeping this recipe for sure. I accidentally bought a can of black lentils thinking they were black beans and didn’t know what to do with them. I googled vegan black lentil recipes and found you! This is so delicious! Its definitely one I would be confident serving non vegan company also.Thank you. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So glad you love the stew, Linda!

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