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Smoky Beluga Lentils

If I find a new quality heirloom lentil or bean at the grocery store, I grab it right away and think about how to make it interesting. Lentils can get boring easily, but two things make this dish interesting: the texture, color, and size of the lentils, and the ingredient smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is bacon’s vegetarian sister. If you haven’t used it yet, you’ll find it something you reach for often when you’re looking for a bit of flavor or smoke in a dish. It isn’t good on everything, but it certainly takes a bowl of lentils to the next level.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks sliced thinly
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beluga lentils rinsed


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Mix in the salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  • Pour in the lentils, and stir to coat well. Pour 4 cups water.
  • Cook 30 minutes uncovered at a simmer, or until most of the water is evaporated.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as you wish!
  • Serve this side dish with a perfectly cooked piece of fish, or with shrimp, or in hollowed out cooked squashes, like chayote