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 44 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 44 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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82 comments on Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

  1. Sonya Luz Costanza

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I was able to make this with ingredients I had at home already, though made a few substitutions and it still came out great. I think it is all about the flavors of the tahini/miso/tamari coated mushroom onion sauté. I used morels instead of creminis, and not as many as called for; broccoli instead of kale and just added it earlier so it would have more cooking time; chicken broth instead of veg broth; and I didn’t have white wine or rosemary on hand so just skipped those. I am going to try the recipe again with all the exact ingredients, but it is nice to know it works well with what’s on hand. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Caroline Mimeaultwe

    5 stars
    We made this recipe tonight and we cannot stop talking about it. We loved it. Your mix of ingredients created an amazing and unique flovourfull dish. Thank you!

  3. Dori

    5 stars
    I tried this last night as I had a lot of mushrooms that were going off and oh man, this tasted incredible! I have been vegan for 5 years now and have my favorite recipes that I make every few weeks but this one is definitely making the list! I made the consistency a bit runnier to enjoy it rather as a soup with fresh homemade bread and I had a foodgasm in my mouth. I left the wine out as I’m taking some time away from alcohol at the moment but will definitely try it with wine as I can imagine that just makes it even better. Thank you so much for creating this recipe , I can’t wait to have the leftovers today.

  4. Lauren

    5 stars
    Okay Nisha, after reading through the recipe and all of the incredible comments I HAD to try this stew. I cook for a couple of my neighbors once and week and was so excited to try it out! Even though it’s quite obvious if one reads through the comments that this dish is a total winner, I have to add mine to the pile. Everyone loved it including me! I added a little extra balsamic and liquid aminos at the end but other than that I followed your recipe to a T and I rarely do that but girl, I just trust you and I guess we have similar tastes :) Also, wanna take this opportunity to thank you for ALL that you do. I use your YouTube channel for inspiration and learning regularly! Big love, Nisha. ❤️

  5. Meredith

    5 stars
    Saw this recipe yesterday morning and made it last night – was phenomenal! I may have put too much in the blender – was a bit thick so wound up doubling the vegetable broth (used the full container which is 4 cups). Also used spinach instead of kale. So flavorful – thank you for this recipe!!

  6. Lisa Borodovsky

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS!! Outgrageous!! I specifically went shopping for the ingredients, spending the extra for fresh herbs knowing I would not be disappointed and, of course, I was delighted with the outcome. Keep it coming and thank you for sharing your gift of recipe magic!

  7. Samantha

    Just made this for dinner tonight, absolutely delish!! I trust you after trying the red lentil curry, which tasted like I got it from a restaurant. Thank you for publishing these recipes – love adding in tasty vegetarian options when I can.

  8. Irene McDonald

    Made this tonight for dinner. Could not believe how “meaty” and tasty this was. My friend took leftovers home (she is in my “bubble”) and was going to look up the beluga lentils. Very, very impressed with this recipe. Will make again when I can have people over after this pandemic. Thank you.

  9. Jenn

    5 stars
    This is on rotation in our home from the months of November to April in the midwest, so umami and satisfying. I try to sneak more greens into my diet through this recipe!

  10. Laura

    This recipe is unbelievably good, truly one of those where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts! I didn’t have low sodium stock on hand so I used regular and it definitely turned out on the salty side (and I’m a salt queen), so if I made it again I’d pick up some reduced or no sodium vege stock. I will definitely be trying other recipes from this site (and making this one again!).

  11. Madonna

    5 stars
    I made this, and it was delicious, so satisfying! I could not find Black lentils in my little town, so I substituted black urad. I also used fresh spinach in place of kale because thats what I had. I cant imagine this tasting any better using the correct ingredients, but I will order the lentils online and definitely make again. I am not vegan, but have made so many of your recipes; and every one has been a keeper!

  12. Marielle Rivera

    5 stars
    How is this even possible? I didn’t know vegan food could taste so savory! Nisha, you are magic.

  13. B Mill

    So delicious ! Have made this several times and everyone loves it. No kale this time so substituted spinach.

  14. Mollie

    As always, DELICIOUS!! Your recipes never disappoint. Every time I want to make something flavorful, I search your website. I subbed brown lentils for the black and dehydrated dried mushrooms instead of fresh… still, amazing! A perfect cozy meal for a snow storm.

  15. Mar

    It tastes amazing 😋

  16. Jennifer

    5 stars
    This was wonderful! I served it over baked sweet potato halves.

  17. Frances

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I ended up using a blend of green, brown, and black lentils. Super creamy, wholesome, and delicious. The best part for me was the finish of balsamic on top. Thank you, Nisha!

  18. Autumn

    5 stars
    Wow…I love this recipe. I made it and the whole family loved it. I couldn’t stop saying how good it was. So happy to find a most delicious recipe that uses beluga (black) lentils.

  19. san

    5 stars
    This is so creamy and rich! I did the lentils the day before so it was easy to pop them in with the mushrooms the next day and it was yum.

  20. Amy

    I have never used black lentils and am excited to try this recipe. Would it freeze well? I am trying to stock up on soup servings for ski days this winter.

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