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Tag: lentils

Beluga Lentils with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Orange and Rosemary

Post sponsored by Volkswagen.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes

Spontaneous weekend trips are the best way to calm the weary mind after a busy week. I don’t have to travel far, I don’t even need to stay overnight, just a few hours in a nearby forest or at one of Berlin’s beautiful lakes and I’m back on my feet.

My mother brought many wonderful things into my life. My love for food and cooking was definitely sparked by her own passion. She also fed my need for snuggly Sunday afternoons on the sofa. I sink in a pile of cushions and wrap myself in a cozy quilt, preferably listing to Prokofiev, and a plate of warm waffles on my lap. This used to be one of our favourite weekend rituals. Unfortunately, we haven’t made waffles together in a while, but there’s another tradition from my childhood days that she introduced me to, which both of us still hold dear. Mother and daughter grab their jackets, hop in the car to find a nice spot in the countryside, and go on a short weekend adventure. We prefer relaxed walks that allow us to chat a little and enjoy the scenery around us. In all these years we must have walked hundreds of kilometres. We walked down narrow paths meandering through the darkest woods, jumped over tinkling waters, and crossed the fields on windy hill tops, where the sky feels endless and the views take your breath away. Mud, rain, heat, or darkness never stopped us from our next adventure.

When Volkswagen asked me for a new recipe, I had to think of one of my favourite places in Berlin for long walks, the gorgeous Müggelsee Lake. Be it spring, summer, autumn, or winter, this lake is a quiet beauty in every season. It’s a peaceful place, my beloved weekend get away. Usually, we go to the local bakery and butcher and grab some sweets and a sausage. But this time I had another idea: wrapped in scarves, wool beanie, and a big jacket, sitting on a bench at the lake, we can have a little picnic date, even in winter. I went for a recipe that tastes just as good as a warm lunch and as a cold salad: nutty beluga lentils with sweet and smokey grilled cherry tomatoes and woody rosemary oil. It’s a scrumptious trilogy.

For more delicious recipes and kitchen inspiration, visit Volkswagen’s Pinterest community board Food Bloggers for Volkswagen.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes

Beluga Lentils with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Orange and Rosemary Oil

Serves 4

For the lentils

lentils (no soaking required) 280g / 10 ounces
fresh thyme 1 small bunch
fresh rosemary 1 sprig
bay leaf 1
fresh orange peel 4 long strips
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

cherry tomatoes, on the vine, 20

For the rosemary oil

olive oil 6 tablespoons
fresh rosemary, needles only, 4 sprigs

For the topping

freshly grated orange zest, about 1 tablespoon

Preheat the oven to grill / broil (quicker method) or preheat to 220°C (425°F).

Place the lentils in a saucepan with plenty of (unsalted) water, add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and orange peel and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until al dente (or follow the package instructions). Remove any excess liquid with a ladle, if necessary, and the spices. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar to taste.

Place the tomatoes in a baking dish and grill / broil for about 12 minutes or roast at 220°C / 425°F for about 35 to 45 minutes—their skins should start to burst and turn partly black. Leaving the tomatoes on the vine, divide them into 4 portions.

For the rosemary oil, in a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rosemary and, as soon as it starts to sizzle, remove the pan from the heat. Cover and let the herb infuse the oil for at least 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary from the oil and set aside.

Stir the rosemary oil into the lentils and divide between plates. Arrange the grilled tomatoes and rosemary on top and season with fresh orange zest to taste. Enjoy warm or cold.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


A Salad with Beluga Lentils and Beetroot

Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad

I went a bit overboard on the weekend, two pies (sweet and savory) in two days, time for a change in my kitchen! Something lighter (that doesn’t involve butter) is on my mind, a salad with black Beluga lentils and fried beetroot slices. Beluga lentils are perfect for salads. They are tiny little legumes, with a strong and nutty taste and they just have to cook for 30 minutes without having to soak in water. The beetroot becomes a bit sweet when you fry the raw slices, even sweeter than when boiled in water. When it comes to salads, I prefer fewer ingredients with strong flavours and quick preparation. I’m not too fond of salads which mix up lots of different vegetables and fruit as the single tastes tend to get blurred.

Today’s salad is a dark beauty, the lentils are dark grey, nearly black with shades of blue and green and the beetroot slices deepen to a dark red when you fry them. All you need for a salad for 4  is 1 cup / 200g of Beluga lentils, rinsed and cooked in 3 cups of water (without salt!) for 20-30 minutes. While they are simmering, I slice 2 large uncooked beetroots with a slicer very thinly. I heat some oil in a large pan, sprinkle the beetroot slices with a pinch of sugar and fry them in batches for a few seconds on each side before I season them with salt and pepper. They burn quickly which gives them a bitter taste so you have to watch them.

My dressing is very simple and light, 3 generous tablespoons of olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of white Balsamico vinegar, seasoned with salt and black pepper. When the lentils are done I rinse them with cold water, drain them and pour the dressing on top. You may have to add more salt and pepper at this point to taste. I lay the beetroot slices on top and the salad is ready to be served!

Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad


Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad

Winter Lentils with Chestnuts and Star-anis

Lentils with Star-anis

My mother loves lentils – and so do I – and she also loves to share her new lentil creations with me like her all time favorite lentils with chard (a variation which I will post another time). So for many, many years she has sent me her recipes by fax, written on a type writer, as she doesn’t like emails and computers. I have a folder full of faxes from her with wonderful recipes and always signed with a sweet motherly note.

Today’s lentil creation is something new, I need a soul warmer, with typical winter spices. I bought some French chestnuts and brought out the star-anis and cloves inspired by my last baking sessions. I will use very aromatic lentils from Swabia in the South of Germany sent to me – of course – by my mother. They are cultivated by an organic producer group called “Alb-Leisa” ( which recovered this treasure from oblivion. These re-cultivated lentil types had disappeared abruptly in the 1950s due to costs and extensive work. Luckily the Alb-Leisa work is well appreciated, their production has expanded and we can now buy aromatic lentils with old-fashioned names like “Späth’s Alblinse I and II”.

Lentils with Star-anis

 Lentils with Chestnuts and Star-anis

Here comes the soul-warming recipe, enough for 4 people. I use small lentils which don’t need pre-soaking.

lentils 300g / 10.5 ounces
small leek, cut in thin slices, 1
carrots, sliced in half and chopped, 3
small onion, chopped, 1
garlic clove, cut in half, 1
olive oil
broth or water 1l
thyme, a bunch
star-anis 1 (single, not a whole star)
bay leaves 2
cloves 2
allspice, whole not ground, 2
chestnuts, a hand full
salt and pepper

I prepared the chestnuts earlier as they don’t need to be warm. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F and place an ovenproof   bowl filled with water on the bottom of the oven. Cut a cross on the curved side of the chestnuts and put them in the oven on a baking sheet 10 minutes or until they get dark and their crosses start curling up. Take them out of the oven and cover them with a wet tea towel immediately. This makes it much easier to peel them. Take them out of their outer hard and soft, inner skin while they are still warm. Mind your fingers as they can still be hot.

Warm olive oil in a pan and fry the leek, onion, carrots and garlic on medium heat. Add the lentils and pour the broth on top. Add the thyme and the spices (star-anis, bay leaves, cloves, allspice) but don’t season with salt yet or the lentils won’t cook and stay hard. Some people put the spices in a disposable tea filter which makes it easier to get them out later. I don’t mind them, I prefer to add them unwrapped. Close the lid and let it simmer. The cooking time depends on the lentil type. Mine need 20 minutes. After 10 minutes check if there is still enough liquid. When the lentils are soft, season with salt and pepper. Take out the thyme, bay leaves and the spices you can find.

Serve the lentils in deep bowls with broken chestnuts on top and enjoy this soul warming treat.


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