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BELUGA LENTIL CAVIAR APPETIZER

This vegan-friendly Beluga Lentil Caviar recipe features black beluga lentil salad served on top of crackers with cream cheese, and is the perfect cold weather appetizer for your dinner party! 
Normally,  Beluga Lentil Salad with these flavorful little gems, but they can also be turned into a deliciously tricky faux-caviar appetizer.  Pile some lentils onto a cracker and cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese), top it with dill, and you’ll be fancy enough to go to a party.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tsp salt, to taste

FOR SERVING:
  • 1 package buttery crackers (or sub vegan crackers)
  • cream cheese, to serve (or sub vegan cream cheese)
  • fresh dill, to serve (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil on medium until it begins to shimmer.
  2. Add leek, carrots, and celery, and sauté 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, and add wine. Allow wine to cook down for 1-2 minutes, then lower heat to medium. Add tomatoes, and sauté 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add lentils, bay leaves, 2 tsp salt, and 2 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer about 40 minutes until most of the water has cooked down.
  4. When lentils are finished cooking, remove bay leaves.
  5. To serve: Smear crackers with cream cheese, and top with lentils and dill (optional) right before serving.

RECIPE NOTES
  • Serving Tips:
  • These hors d'oeuvres WILL GET SOGGY if left to sit.  Add the lentils as you're serving.
  • Alternatively, arrange the crackers with cream cheese on a tray, and allow guests to scoop their own lentil salad on top.
  • Your 'faux caviar' will look a lot less like real caviar if your veggies are showing.  Make sure to finely dice your carrots and celery.

Recipe Variations:
  • (Not Vegan): Add the rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese into the lentils when you add the tomatoes.  By the time the lentils finish cooking, it will have melted into the lentil dish. 
  • Skip the tomatoes, and add 1 TB Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 TB red wine vinegar.


Nutrition information is for 1 lentil-topped cracker, made with 1 TB of lentils per cracker.  Calories for cream cheese are an estimate.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 20mg | Vitamin A: 8.9% | Vitamin C: 0.7% | Calcium: 1% | Iron: 2.7%
Source: champagne-tastes. com

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