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You’d think over time I would get tired of grain or rice or quinoa bowls. I mean, how many variations can you have that would pique your interest? In my case, evidently, grain bowls are one of my favorite types of food and I am always on the hunt for something new to try.
Soooooo, when I spotted a recipe from an online Bon Appetit article, I earmarked it and waited for a day when the idea of black lentils and sweet potatoes and roasted tomatoes and cilantro sounded satisfying. This just so happened to be early this March. Although the original recipe was supposed to serve four, I made it in parts and had it for kind of a cross between lunch and dinner and again the following day for lunch, and as a snack. In my eyes, this would serve more like six people.
I made a lot of changes along the way. Ahead of the game, I decided to swap out some of the black beluga lentils, my favorites, for a bit of ground lamb. Just because. I didn’t have coriander so I left out that spice. I thought the honey in the dressing was a little too sweet for my taste, so I cut it down. And adding ground lamb along with sauteed white onion then combining it with the lentils made this much more of a main dish for me.
We ate this with some crusty bread and a very simple romaine salad, dressed with a shallot vinaigrette. So perfect – nutrient-laden and appealing to the eyes and the stomach. Eat this with a spoon; it is a lot easier.
Beluga Lentil, Sweet Potato, Burst Tomato & Cilantro Bowl
- 1 tsp sea salt plus more for seasoning
- 1 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed
- ½ lb ground lamb
- ⅓ cup small diced onion
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp harissa (I buy mine in a tube and keep it in the fridge)
- 20 grinds fresh ground pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4 cups (2 pints) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Scant tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp harissa
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup diced fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 425 with the rack in the center of the oven. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Bring a medium saucepan of water and the teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the rinsed lentils and simmer until barely cooked, about 25 minutes. Drain lentils and put in a medium bowl. While the lentils are cooking, heat a frying pan and put the ground lamb and diced onion in, chopping up the lamb into tiny pieces as it cooks. When everything is well browned including the onion, drain off the fat and add the lamb/onion mix to the lentils. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.
Meanwhile, combine the diced sweet potato and halved cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl. Whisk the three tablespoons oil, one tablespoon harissa, two teaspoons salt, and black pepper together, and with your hands coat the sweet potato/tomatoes. Spread this out on the cookie sheet and slide into the preheated oven for 30 plus minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through, turning once. Remove and place the cookie sheet on the counter.
Whisk wine vinegar, honey and one tablespoon harissa in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil a bit at a time until it is combined. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Add half of this to the cooled lentil/lamb mixture until coated.
Chop the cilantro.
When ready to serve, place some lentil/lamb mix in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the roasted veggies and drizzle with a bit more of the honey vinaigrette. Top with about one or two tablespoons of chopped cilantro and serve.
As long as you keep the veggies, the meat/lentil mix, honey dressing, and cilantro separate, you can refrigerate leftovers and serve for the next 3-4 days. Personally, I prefer to reheat the veggies and lentils a bit but they are fine at room temperature.
If you aren’t a fan of adding lamb or ground chicken to the lentils, cook 2 cups of lentils at the start and make this vegetarian.
My husband, who loves everything I make, said this was almost his favorite thing I have ever made. Take his word for it. And I loved the sweet potato/tomato veggie mix so much that I would make that alone as a side vegetable!