Black Lentils with Spinach & Labneh
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Black lentils cook quickly, hold their shape, and have a nice texture and flavor. They behave very similarly to French green lentils but perhaps cook a little more quickly. Why am I only just learning about them?
I bought them on a whim, and when I saw this black lentils with spinach recipe in Stacy Adimando’s Piatti, which looked super simple and delicious — a plump ball of burrata garnishes the plate of lentils in the accompanying photograph — I went for it.
I first made the lentils for my parents who were visiting, and as I noted last week, they returned home and continued making them. I have been, too. This has become one of my favorite weeknight meals.
In short you:
- cook lentils
- sauté an onion
- reduce vinegar
- combine the lentils and onion
- fold in greens
- serve with something creamy
I’ve mostly been using, as suggested, tender baby spinach, but I’ve also used beet greens (and roasted beets). I think any number of greens could work here: Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc.
Stacy likes to serve these lentils with burrata, which makes sense — the texture and sharpness of the lentils balances out the creaminess of the burrata. When I made these for my parents a few weeks ago, I did in fact use burrata, but I’ve since been serving them with labneh, another ingredient I am loving and only just discovering.
I haven’t tried, but I image fresh ricotta, Greek yogurt, or goat cheese (maybe thinned with milk to make it more spreadable) would all be delicious here. And this may sound odd, but I think even a smear of cream cheese could work — labneh tastes like a richer, creamier cream cheese.
Once you make this dish once, you’ll find countless ways to adapt it with various greens, vegetables, and creamy smear. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
Simmer the lentils in one pot; sauté an onion in another.
When the lentils are finished, add some vinegar to the onions and let it reduce.
Combine the lentils and onions.
Fold it in.
Get ready to serve.
Smear some labneh across a plate.
Spoon lentils over top.