A bowl of black lentils with spinach and labneh.

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.
A cutting board with the ingredients to make black lentils with spinach.

Simmer the lentils in one pot; sauté an onion in another.
A stove top with a pot of black lentils simmering and a skillet with onions sauteing.

When the lentils are finished, add some vinegar to the onions and let it reduce.
A skillet with sautéed onions and white balsamic.

Combine the lentils and onions.
A skillet with lentils and onions.

Add spinach.
A skillet with lentils, onions, and a heap of spinach.

Fold it in.
mixing in the spinach

Get ready to serve.
A skillet with finished lentils and spinach.

Smear some labneh across a plate.
A plate smeared with labneh.

Spoon lentils over top.
A bowl of black lentils with spinach and labneh.

A bowl of black lentils with spinach and labneh.

[tasty-recipe id=”63059″]