Caviar-like black lentils (also known as beluga lentils for that reason) add drama to juicy grape tomatoes, shallot and herbs. Kohlrabi bulbs or broccoli stems cut into matchsticks deliver pale, crisp contrast, and the resulting salad is dressed in a rich, mustard vinaigrette.

When I make this salad, I prefer to use kohlrabi. You’ve probably eyed it at the farmers markets — it’s that vegetable that looks like it could be a plot point in a sci-fi movie, a tough-skinned bulb with long, thin stems that seem to be shooting out from all over it, topped with a head of dark green leaves. (Sometimes the bulbs are sold with the stems and leaves removed.)

Kohlrabi is in the brassica family, with similar nutritional assets to those of its cousins: broccoli, cabbage, kale and collard greens — a bounty of health-protective plant compounds, fiber, vitamin C, potassium and minerals.

Both the bulb and leaf of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are similar to collard greens or kale, and can be substituted for them in most recipes. The peeled bulb — use a paring knife for best results — is crisp and a bit juicy, with a mild, sweet, earthy flavor. It can be sliced for dipping, shredded into slaws, chopped for salads, or roasted, sauteed or boiled as you would a turnip.

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Unfortunately, kohlrabi can sometimes be difficult to find in grocery stores. A close comparison in taste and texture is broccoli stems, which you can easily substitute in this recipe with delicious results.

Either way, you get a sumptuous lentil salad that makes a stunning side for a summer cookout or a satisfying vegan main course.

Beluga Lentil Salad With Vegetables and Herbs

Storage: The salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Make ahead: The lentils can be cooked and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Where to buy: Kohlrabi is most easily found in at farmers markets.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) black beluga lentils
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium bulbs kohlrabi or broccoli stems from one head of broccoli, tough skins removed, cut in to thin matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

Step 1

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.

Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and sort through them to remove any stones that may be present. Stir the lentils into the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until they are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Step 2

Once the lentils are cool, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.

Step 3

In a large bowl, combine the lentils with the kohlrabi, tomatoes, parsley, shallot and tarragon. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe from dietitian and food columnist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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Nutrition

Calories: 171; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 173 mg; Carbohydrates: 17 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 8 g.