Black Lentil Celery Couscous with Jeweled Fruit

Black lentil celery couscous pilaf

This delicious grain dish, studded with celery, black lentils, cranberries, and pistachios,  is as welcome for everyday meals as it is for the holiday table. Celery is used twice in this dish: softened in the beginning with a little olive oil, and tossed in at the end for a decisive crunch. You may substitute traditional couscous for the whole wheat and brown or green lentils for the black ones. (The black ones are especially pretty, though.) Recipe reprinted with permission from Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables* © 2012 by Cheryl Sternman Rule, photography by Paulette Phlipot; Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.

Black Lentil Celery Couscous with Jeweled Fruit
Recipe type: Grain and legume pilaf
Cuisine: Healthy / holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
This colorful couscous dish, studded with black lentils and dried fruit is easy enough for everyday meals, and makes a lovely winter holiday side dish as well.
  • 1⁄2 cup black beluga lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced (about 1⁄2 cup)
  • 4 stalks celery (no leaves), diced (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2⁄3 cup mixed dried fruit (any combination of cranberries, cherries,
  • currants, golden raisins, apricots, figs, and/or dates), diced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1⁄4 cup, or 60ml)
  • 1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios
  1. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan with 1 1⁄2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer very gently until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, carrot, one-fourth of the celery (1 stalk, about 1⁄2 cup), 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the dried fruit, 1½ cups cold water, and the turmeric. Bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the couscous, return to a simmer, then remove from the heat and drizzle with the orange juice.
  4. Cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Scrape into the bowl with the lentils.
  5. Stir in the pistachios and the remaining diced celery. Season with salt and pepper. (You’ll need at least 1⁄4 teaspoon more salt.) Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.



Black Lentil Celery Couscous with Jeweled Fruit

Cheryl Sternman Rule is a food writer and the voice behind the popular food blog 5 Second Rule. Learn more about her at

Paulette Phlipot is an award-winning food, travel, and lifestyle photographer. To learn more about her work, visit

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

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