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
4.9 from 95 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

4.9 from 95 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

Did you make this recipe?

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185 comments on Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

  1. Justin

    5 stars
    Thanks for this it is a really lovely recipe

    I didn’t add any extra salt beyond stock and decided to add a bit more garlic! Because, you know, it’s garlic 😃
    I also included the shitake stalks. I was not quite sure why those were left out but would be interested to know?
    I’m loving how you use tahini in your recipes I have been a bit stuck in Middle East mode (I love delicious tahina sauce Egyptian style). You have expanded my tahini repertoire!
    J

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Justin, shiitake stalks are a little bit too tough to eat so we opt to only use the caps in RPL recipes. We are so happy to hear you’re a fan of the stew!

  2. Loraine

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. My first-time cooking Beluga Lentils and it won’t be my last! I wasn’t sure about the combination of flavours, but it all worked perfectly, even though, I didn’t have any Cremini Mushrooms, (so used common White Mushrooms) or Kale (so added Cos Letuce (Romani), just for colour). I also blended a little less than recommended, ’cause I loved the texture of this stew.

    I served it with Garlic Toasts – perfect comfort food for a chilly day. Yum Yum Yum.
    Thank you Nisha.🇦🇺

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Oooof, that sounds wonderful Loraine! Thank you so much for trying the recipe :)

  3. Michaela

    5 stars
    Oh my, so delicious!
    Thank you

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Michaela, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  4. Rob

    5 stars
    Just made this for our tea tonight and it was delicious! Another recipe to add to the rotation! Thanks Nisha!

  5. Lil

    5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious recipe! Although I made a few changes like using dried morels (wild foraged) and powdered dried puff ball mushrooms (also wild) and omitted the kale, it was very filling and still outstanding!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Lil!

  6. Skye

    5 stars
    Delicious!! As to the comments about the salt—I added no salt but tasted it about half way through and it was very salty. However after I added the kale and the balsamic vinegar it was balanced – love the combination of flavors especially the tahini comes through— and I’m surprised every time!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Skye, So glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe!

  7. Jamuna

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe – just finished making it. Wonderful rich flavors. I did reduce the salt and used coconut liquid aminos instead of soy sauce. I also added extra broth as I didn’t want blend it. Will definitely make it again. Looking forward to trying out some of your other recipes.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great, Jamuna! We hope you love all the other recipes!

  8. Isela

    5 stars
    I was searching for a recipe with mushroom and lentils and came across your recipe. The hubby is trying out vegan meals so I thought I give this recipe a go. Boy, the hubby LOVED it! The first time I made it I used spinach because I didn’t have kale. The second time I used kale. Still came out delicious! Also, second time I only blended 1/3 of the soup instead of half and it was better for me. But the taste is unbelievable good. I love how you incorporate all these great flavors and make a vegan dish superb! Thank you.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  9. Danielle

    5 stars
    Yum! Delicious recipe. This will definitely be going into recipe rotation in my house.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Danielle, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  10. Emily Silver

    Holy mushroom this was delicious! You hit it out of the park with this one.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Emily, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! 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!

  11. paul

    5 stars
    Excellent, rich flavour even with the subs below, and high protein/low calorie, which is a perfect combo. For me, this recipe is 6 generous servings. Maple syrup roasted carrots and parsnips made a great change of pace side dish.

    Changes:
    -1 tsp dried thyme vs fresh
    -all cremini
    -no red pepper flakes
    -homemade soup stock (v low salt) instead of wine
    -coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
    -high protein almond milk instead of coconut
    -chickpea miso
    -250g frozen kale instead of fresh

    Immersion blended with gusto.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Paul!

  12. Teresa

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. I’ve just finished making it and I’m head over heels in love ! Every one of your recipes delivers right on point Nisha! I used soy milk instead of coconut milk and it turned out great.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Teresa!

  13. Krissy

    5 stars
    I wasn’t sure about this recipe, but got curious about the black beluga lentils so I decided to try it. First, the black beluga lentils have a really interesting smell, and after they were cooked according to the directions in this recipe, they tasted really good by themselves. As far as the stew goes, it was SOOOO good! My husband and 15 year-old daughter (who really only wants to eat at Taco Bell every day) also loved it, so that’s a definite win! I always love bread with my stew, but honestly, this stew was so good by itself that for me the bread was superfluous. Will definitely be making this again and again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  14. Molly

    3 stars
    I made this recipe exactly as written, using a homemade vegetable stock which is very low in sodium, and the instant pot for the black beluga lentils.

    The final result was almost too salty to enjoy. During step #6, when the recipe said to add a generous amount of salt and pepper, I decided to add 1/2 tsp of Penzey’s Kosher Salt. This was a huge mistake. There is also 1/2 tsp of kosher salt in the lentils, and sodium in the ‘reduced sodium tamari (San-J brand)’ and white miso paste. (I measured my ingredients carefully, so I know I didn’t add too much.)

    If you are going to make this, I recommend adding 1/4 tsp kosher salt to the lentils, and just a pinch to the mushrooms as they are sauteing. I would start with 1 Tbsp of low sodium tamari and miso paste, and see how it tastes at the end.

    Like other reviewers, I did not like the texture of this dish once it was blended. I would consider leaving out the tahini and/or not blending it at all.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sorry to hear you weren’t a fan of the recipe, Molly, but we appreciate your feedback nonetheless.

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