Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto.

An incredibly simple yet delicious combination of black beluga lentils, roasted tomatoes with garlic, pesto and creamy mozzarella. This flavorful, protein-packed dish is perfect as a vegetarian main dish or a side dish.

Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto via

This is one of the simplest dishes to make (just takes a bit of time due to the roasting of tomatoes), but is most delicious.

Oh, and this easy black lentil recipe is great for you – it’s packed with:

  • plant-powered filling fiber
  • plant protein from the lentils
  • lycopene (a health-promoting antioxidant) from the tomatoes
  • heart health benefits from the garlic garlic
  • healthy fats from the olive oil and pesto

Most importantly, this lentil dish is chock full of flavor. Plus, it’s topped with mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine), which I have been just loving lately on everything.

Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto via

What else is great about this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto dish? It’s made from ingredients we had in our pantry and fridge – that were either beginning to turn (tomatoes + parsley + mini mozz were used for recipe testing earlier in the week and leftover pesto from grilled cheeses last week) or haven’t gotten any attention in a while (black beluga lentils).

Did you know lentils are one of the most climate-friendly proteins on the planet?

Lentils use much less water than animal proteins, enrich the soil by leaving behind nutrients and beneficial bacteria and they require little fertilization because they pull nitrogen from the air into the soil.

We eat lentils all the time and our pantry is overstocked with them. We haven’t had these black beluga lentils (my favorite type) in a while, so it was time to use those up.

Ohhhh, and almost forgot. This recipe uses a LOT of our homegrown garlic – we still have a ton of it from last year’s harvest. So, if you’re not a garlic fan, cut way back (we used 5 cloves).

Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto via

This black lentil recipe is great warm or chilled. And save those leftovers – they’re incredible over some leafy greens the next day.

So, what are we doing in the Rawn house to reduce food waste and help the planet?

We eat our leftovers! As long as the food is safe to eat (properly stored and handled), we are pretty good about eating all of what we cook. I love leftovers for lunch on top of my salad. There is an exception to this rule – if I am recipe testing and something comes out inedible, I’ll toss it. But most things can be doctored up to be made delicious.
We compost (usually). If produce is going bad – or won’t get used, it gets composted most of the time. The exception to this rule is that in the dead of winter, our compost bins freeze shut. Yes, we could pour boiling water on them to open them, but for those weeks where that is an issue, the scraps go in the trash. Otherwise, egg shells, coffee grinds, vegetable scraps, past-prime fruit and veggies and herbs go into the compost bin. We keep a small porcelain container by the sink and empty it into two black bins near our garden. Once the compost is ready, Adrian pours it onto our vegetable beds.
We are part of a CSA. I mentioned above that we have a farm share from our local farm, which helps support our local farm’s operation and expenses. It begins in June and goes through October. We like to support the local guys whenever we can. Anything we don’t/can’t eat from our weekly CSA goes either to a neighbor or to our compost bin. Last year, unfortunately, a lot of the greens we got from our CSA were composted mainly because I was lazy and didn’t feel like washing the greens – they’re pretty dirty and you do get an occasional bug under the leaves. This year, we’ll only pick up the greens on occasion.
We have vegetable gardens. They supply us with more greens, tomatoes and garlic than we can eat. Adrian has a green thumb (his mom, you’ve heard me say before, is an amazing gardener) … mine is getting there.
We buy mostly organic. Especially milk, soy, most produce, legumes, Lucca’s yogurt and meats and poultry. Organic farming, for the most part, utilizes less energy, creates less greenhouse gas and utilizes less harmful and toxic pesticides. We feel better buying organic food and have noticed a huge taste difference in organic fruits and vegetables vs conventional.
We eat a LOT of plants. Fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, lentils. And rarely eat meat and when we do, we buy organic. We eat a lot of seafood and we are mindful of the fish and shellfish choices that are the most ocean-friendly and that minimize by catch. Great resource on sustainable seafood here.
We recycle as much as we can. But we still create a lot of trash. Between baby diapers, baby paraphernalia (for Lucca and now baby 2 on the way), food and house construction material we create and waste a lot of stuff. If it can be recycled, it gets recycled. But we are Amazon Prime members, which we utilize at least once a week – and we are very aware that the shipments are way over-packed to protect the goods.
We’ve switched to mostly glass containers and green cleaners. We rarely purchase plastic nowadays and the cleaners and body products we use are mainly earth friendly and organic. Though – in March, when colds/the flu/the stomach flu were going through our house, I pulled out the bleach and everything got disinfected.

We have come a long way to being more earth friendly, but we still have a ways to go. I waste a LOT of water – between washing dishes (I am a germaphobe so use really hot water, a lot of soap and a lot of water) and taking hot showers. As a mom, now I have more long term perspective – and want to make a positive impact for Lucca’s future.

Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto via

Now back to this Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto recipe. Here’s how to make it:

An image of black lentils with tomatoes in a bowl with mozzarella

Black Lentils with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto

Black lentils with roasted tomatoes and garlic, pesto and creamy mozzarella. This is a beautiful and flavorful vegetarian main dish or side dish.
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 293 kcal


For the roasted tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 pounds multi-colored grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the lentils

  • 1 cup black beluga lentils rinsed and picked over

For serving

  • 1/4 cup pesto homemade or prepared
  • 4 ounces mini mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley optional


  • Preheat oven to 375. 
  • Add tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and pepper to a large baking or roasting dish. Roast for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove tomatoes from oven. 
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat in a medium pot. Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer lentils until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. 
  • Add lentils to tomatoes and stir to combine. Top dish with pesto, mozzarella and parsley. Serve.


Calories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 13gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 127mgPotassium: 272mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 976IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 4mg
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