Lentils with Bacon, a French bistro inspired way to add lentils to your diet with the indulgent flavor of bacon. Serve as a mostly-meatless main, or with salmon.
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry green french lentils, sorted* see note, about 12 ounces
3 slices bacon
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cup finely diced celery hearts and leaves (the tender light green stalks in the center of the bunch)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped flat leaf parsley for serving
- Bring water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer (medium-low) and cook, stirring occasionally until just tender, 15 to 22 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking liquid (see tip*)
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until crisp but not burnt, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a towel-lined plate. Pour off the bacon fat and gently wipe out the pan with a clean paper towel. When bacon is cool enough to handle, chop.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Add onion, celery hearts and leaves, garlic, salt and thyme and cook,stirring often until the onion is softened and the celery is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked lentils, vinegar, smoked paprika, pepper and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and cook, stirring until the mixture is hot and thoroughly combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped bacon, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and parsley. Serve warm.
Note* To sort lentils:
- Place a large rimmed sheet try on your work surface.
- Measure out 1 1/2 cups of dry lentils and pour them onto one end of the sheet pan.
- Gently brush lentils from one side to the other, little by little, while scanning them for pebbles, twigs and any foreign particles. They are much easier to scan when they are separated on the span of the pan.
Tip* To reserve cooking liquid
Place a large measuring cup or bowl under the strainer. The measuring cup/bowl will catch the cooking liquid.
Can be made ahead and reheated. For best texture and color, add parsley and bacon after reheating. Re-warm on the stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water, stirring often. In the microwave reheat until steaming hot.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: French
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 173
- Sugar: 2.1 g
- Fat: 6.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 19.6 g
- Fiber: 7.8 g
- Protein: 9.3 g
Keywords: Lentils with bacon,french lentils side dish,lentil vinaigrette