This Beluga Lentil and Watermelon Caprese Salad is a wonderful upgrade from a traditional caprese – juicy tomatoes, torn mozzarella, and basil leaves are complimented with staying power from black lentils and a sweet note with the watermelon chunks.
Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve as an appetizer or over greens for a meal!
While it’s been awhile since I’ve had a tomato worthy of caprese, I can remember what a real tomato is supposed to taste like – the first juicy bite, an overpowering fragrance and sweetness, seeds melding into sun-ripened flesh. We’re coming up on ripe tomato season at the farmers’ markets, in backyards, and in grocery stores, and I couldn’t be more ready.
My 8 cherry tomato plants are booming, and I had the first bite of an itty bitty ripe sun gold tomato the other day. So good!!! Tomatoes are a fruit and fruit can taste like candy when it’s ripe enough: AKA, I will soon have a backyard full of candy. Does that logic work? I hope my chickens aren’t catching on!
I ran across these beautiful black Beluga lentils the other day at a specialty market. While it’s not imperative to use them (other options are green or brown lentils) for this salad, the Beluga lentils are best for keeping their round caviar shape and hearty texture during cooking – so that they don’t turn into mush. They look pretty too!
Lentils may be small but they are a cheap pantry staple! Lentils are a great source of plant protein and fiber, and I love making cold salads with them during the summer, as they do well in the fridge and take on the flavors of whatever you dress them with.
This salad will stay good for up to 2 days in the fridge, perfect for snacky patio dinners, and even longer if you keep the lentils separate and cut fresh tomatoes and watermelon before serving.
- 1 cup black beluga lentils, dry
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 and ½ cups diced watermelon
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup basil leaves, packed
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Optional garnish: additional basil, 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic glaze
- Cook lentils per package instructions. You should end up with over 2 cups of cooked lentils.
- Once lentils are cooked, toss with a heaping ¼ teaspoon of salt. To speed up the cooling process, spread the lentils onto a baking sheet and set aside to cool and dry.
- Dice watermelon, quarter cherry tomatoes, and tear up the mozzarella cheese into small chunks. Add everything into a large bowl as you go, doing your best to keep excess juice from the watermelon and tomatoes out of the salad.
- Stack basil leaves on top of one another and roll them up into a tight roll. Use your knife to slice the roll into thin shreds. Add to the bowl.
- Add the lentils to the rest of the salad once they have cooled a bit, and then dress the salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine.
- Serve at room temperature or cold, garnished with additional basil and balsamic glaze if desired.
I can’t wait to eat this Beluga Lentil and Watermelon Caprese Salad over and over during prime tomato season. Heirlooms would also be beautiful and flavorful in this salad. Wanted to make sure you all had this in your back pocket for when you run across some perfect tomatoes!
Looking for more summer lentil recipes? My Simple Lentil Salad leans heavily on the flavors of apple cider vinegar, and garlic, another great cold summer lunch option.