We hear it all the time: Eat a VARIETY of fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes. But it’s so easy to fall into the trap of eating the same foods over and over. To break this habit, I try to choose at least one thing in the grocery store’s produce and dry bin aisles I haven’t had recently—or ever, for that matter. The romanesco in this Romanesco & Black Lentils Bowl is new to me. And wow! I’m so glad I gave this romanesco recipe a try.
Why I Love this Romanesco Recipe with Black Lentils
I get that food doesn’t have to be pretty to be enjoyed, but romanesco is just so striking, isn’t it? With it’s chartruese color and the mesmerizing pattern of its cone-shaped florets, it practically begs to be snatched up at the market. So I figured, why not come up with a fun romanesco recipe?
And I don’t know what it is about those adorable little black lentils, but their compact shape and firm texture speak to me. I first tried them in a bowl at a restaurant called The Herb Box in Scottsdale, and it was love at first bite. (This recipe is loosely based on their roasted cauliflower bowl.)
The range of flavors and textures here—sweet, chewy, crunchy, nutty, piquant—leave you wanting one more bite. And then another. This romanesco recipe with black lentils is definitely going into our regular rotation.
How to Cook Romanesco & Black Lentils
If you asked me how to cook romanesco, I’d ask you if you’ve every cooked cauliflower. It’s the same. The flavor is a bit milder and slightly sweeter, but it cooks up just like it’s cumulus cousin.
For this romanesco recipe, we steam it for about 10 minutes. Simple. I’m sure you could roast it as well, but I think steaming it preserves its delicate flavor.
Black lentils cook up pretty much like most other lentils. They do well with a 1:1 ¾ cup ratio of lentils to water. And they take the same amount of time as quinoa—about 20 minutes. Which is pretty fantastic, because we can cook them together in the same pot for this recipe. (I don’t know about you, but I’m all about efficiency in the kitchen.)
To complete this romanesco and black lentils bowl, we add some nuts for richness (sunflower seeds or pepitas would also be nice here), and a bit of dried apricot for sweetness (or you could sub dates). Both the nuts and dried fruit also lend texture to the bowl.
Finally, we drizzle a tablespoon or two of ‘no-honey’ Dijon mustard dressing over the top. The dressing adds creaminess and a bite from the Dijon. Of course if you prefer a mellower bite, just sub brown mustard for the Dijon.
If you try this romanesco recipe or have another one you enjoy, I’d love to hear about it!
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might also like:
- Crispy Spicy Sushi Bowls
- Simple Chickpea Salad with Lemon Aquafaba Dressing
- ‘Eat Your Greens’ Pasta Salad
- Vegan Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Watermelon & Forbidden Rice Salad
Romanesco & Black Lentils Bowl
- 1 cup black lentils rinsed
- 1 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed (I used tri-colored quinoa)
- 4 cups water
- 1 head romanesco cut into florets
- 8 dried apricots chopped
- 1/4 cups pistachios chopped (or sub other nuts or seeds)
- 1 recipe Dijon Mustard Sauce with Herbs
- Add the 4 cups of water, and rinsed lentils and quinoa together to a large pot. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a gentle simmer, cover, cook about 20 minutes or until just tender but not mushy.
- Place the romanesco in a steamer pot (with water) and bring to a boil on medium high. Steam the romanesco for 10 minutes, or until just tender but not mushy.
- While everything's cooking, make your Dijon Mustard Sauce with Herbs. Set aside in the fridge to chill.
- When everything's ready, assemble your bowl (see notes). Place the quinoa and lentils on the bottom of a shallow bowl, and top with the romanesco, dried apricots and pistachios. Drizzle with mustard sauce and serve.
- I like to let the grains, lentils and romanesco cool down a bit and serve this bowl at room temperature, but it's fine to eat right away too.
- This dish is best when the quinoa and lentils are cooked just to al dente and still firm.