Sautéed Bacon, Mushrooms, and Lentils

Sautéed Bacon Mushrooms, and Lentils Recipe

Small brown lentils work well in this recipe because they stay firm during cooking, but the big green ones called castellanas have a good flavor, too.–Editors of Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share

LC Bacon Makes Everything Better Note

While it may seem criminal to bathe the walloping nutrition of lentils and mushrooms with anything unwholesome, there’s something to be said for quality of life. So crumble all the bacon you want on top of this simple side dish. Heck, replace the olive oil with copious amounts of bacon drippings. No need to feel any remorse. (Don’t believe us? Take a cue from fat evangelist Jennifer McLagan).

Sautéed Bacon Mushrooms, and Lentils Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6


  • 1 1/4 cups small brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 quart (4 cups) cold water or homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces small cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 4 ounces oyster or other mushrooms, cut into pieces
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 6 to 12 slices bacon, preferably thick-cut


  • 1. Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with the water or stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until tender, at least 35 minutes or so. (The exact timing will depend on the type and age of the lentils.) Drain well.
  • 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and sauté just until softened and pale golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the butter, the remaining oil, and the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lentils, the 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and heat, stirring, just until warmed through. Remove and discard the garlic. Taste and season the lentils accordingly with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, fry the bacon until crisp.
  • 4. Sprinkle the lentils with extra parsley and bacon, left whole or crumbled into pieces, the more the better.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Mar 03, 2011

This was easy to prepare, and delicious to eat. I love the crunchy bits of bacon on top of the creamy lentils and chewy mushrooms. The onions and garlic give it a tasty boost as well, and the parsley adds brightness and a little color. Paired with a salad and cornbread sticks, this was the perfect meal for a cold winter night, after a hard day at work.

Testers Choice
Chiyo Ueyama

Mar 03, 2011

This was comforting and versatile. Anyone who loves the legume-and-smoky-pork combination would enjoy these lentils, which are wonderful by themselves or as a side. The mushrooms add an earthy tone, making the dish even more satisfying. Instead of fragile shards of regular bacon, however, the thick-cut kind would stand up better to the meaty mushrooms. TIP: Get the lentils and bacon going on the stove, and while they cook, do everything else from chopping the onion to measuring the lemon juice—you’ll be enjoying the delicious lentils in no time at all.

Testers Choice
Jenna Helwig

Mar 03, 2011

The method for this recipe was very straightforward; it was simple, and quite good. Two small quibbles: I wanted the recipe to tell me to season more frequently, i.e., salting both the lentils and the mushrooms as they cooked. And, I felt like the finished dish needed more acid. Next time, I’ll add more lemon juice or maybe a little red wine vinegar. To serve, I tossed some salad greens with olive oil and lemon juice, and topped the greens with the lentils.

Testers Choice
Sue Epstein

Mar 03, 2011

I liked this, my guests liked this, and the leftovers were yummy the following day. What more could you ask for in a side dish? It was easy to make, and the directions were clear and accurate. This is a recipe that will remain in my side dish repertoire. In my version, I omitted the bacon and, after tasting it, added about two extra teaspoons of lemon juice.

Testers Choice
Melinda Hamby

Mar 03, 2011

This dish is great as a meal or a side dish! I made a roasted chicken to pair with this dish, and used the chicken’s pan juices to sauté the onions and mushrooms. If I were to change anything, it would be to add two or three more cloves of garlic. I’d also add five to ten minutes of cooking time to the lentils, as I thought they had a bit too much crunch to them.

Testers Choice
Kim Graham

Mar 03, 2011

With some crusty bread and a green salad, this made for a wonderful winter meal. The flavors were outstanding. Although I love bacon, I used six slices to see if it was enough. I was very happy with the result—it added the perfect amount of smoky flavor and crunch to the dish. I really loved how it was easy to coordinate the components of this dish into a weeknight meal.

Testers Choice
Robert McCune

Mar 03, 2011

I was looking at this as a possible side dish, but I realized that with a salad and crusty loaf of bread, it would be a perfect supper. I’m a big fan of bacon, but I do feel that six slices are enough. The mixture of onions and mushrooms has an almost meaty flavor that’s enhanced by the bacon. When I make this again, I’ll use at least double the amount of lemon juice—the lemon seems to bring out the flavor of the mushrooms, I also found that I didn’t need to use much salt and pepper. If you have any leftovers, this is a great salad served at room temperature.

Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Mar 03, 2011

Why had I never eaten lentils with mushrooms before? It pains me to think that I’ve been missing out on such a felicitous combination all these years. But now that I’m in the know, this will be making a regular appearance at my table. This recipe was a revelation. Such humble ingredients create such a sublime, earthy taste. The recipe worked perfectly as written. I used French green lentils, which stay firm when cooked. I think that’s important—you wouldn’t want mushy lentils here.

Testers Choice
Kara Lawlor

Mar 03, 2011

This was a wonderfully written recipe—and quite easy, as well! The flavors were delicious, especially the addition of the bacon at the end, which added another depth of flavor. The addition of the mushrooms and fresh parsley also turned this lentil dish into something earthy and satisfying. Adding some fresh lemon juice would also enhance the flavor of the dish.

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

Mar 03, 2011

This dish makes a wonderfully hearty side dish or, with some fresh baked bread, it can be a full meal for a cold night. I left out the bacon to make it a vegetarian dish, but I believe the smokiness of the bacon would add another positive dimension to the dish. The different mushrooms add texture that’s usually missing from many lentil dishes. This is a definite repeat for me.

Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Mar 03, 2011

This is a nice side dish for a roast chicken or a grilled steak. You could taste all of the ingredients, and they blended very well together. The recipe is simple, and requires a very small quantity of ingredients.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Mar 03, 2011

We love lentils, so this seemed like another recipe to try. I’m glad I did! The instructions were straightforward. I used green lentils, and they worked beautifully and held their shape. We loved the smokiness of the bacon and the earthiness of the mushrooms. I’ll have to say, however, it wasn’t an especially pretty color—which is true for most lentil dishes. I served the lentils with grilled salmon and we thought the flavors worked very well together. This is a keeper.

Testers Choice
Jennifer V.

Mar 03, 2011

This was a delicious and hearty lentil and mushroom dish. The onions are all soft and melty, there’s just the faintest hint of butter, and of course, the bacon just makes everything better. It’s a relatively simple recipe that comes together fairly quickly with minimal effort, especially if you use the time the lentils are cooking to fry the bacon and chop the onions, mushrooms, and parsley. While this does keep well, the bacon obviously loses its crispiness. I’d try this again subbing chorizo for the bacon. TIP: To amp up the bacon flavor, you can use some leftover bacon fat in place of the butter.

Testers Choice
Jessica Reddick

Mar 03, 2011

I ended up omitting the bacon, making the recipe vegetarian. However, I think the dish would have tasted better had I left it in. It wasn’t bad, but it did taste a little bland. This is definitely my fault, as I could have added a little more salt. I’d also plan to add more garlic next time. Overall, this is a really quick side dish that would be perfect as an accent to dinner after a long day at work. It requires little effort, and seems to be a dish that could be experimented with.

  1. I love the combination of mushrooms and lentils. Throwing bacon into the mix? Brilliant!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We couldn’t agree more, Sarah. Rare is the instance in which bacon does not make something better…

  2. Jenna says:

    Heavens, this looks amazing! I love lentils, I love mushrooms and I love bacon–so this is clearly a recipe designed specifically with me in mind! =) Thanks.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Yes, clearly this was meant to be! Glad we could be of service. Let us know how much you love it, Jenna!

  3. Lorene Turner says:

    Sounds great! How would this change if I’m using canned lentils? Are they precooked? Please forgive my ignorance, I’m trying to include more beans in my diet and I’m a newbie.

  4. Briana says:

    This looks so delicious! I love mushroom and bacon combos! Thanks for sharing!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You’re very welcome, Briana. Curious to hear what your other favorite combos include…

  5. Hi, I just popped over from the PW to say what a fabulous lentil salad. A little bacon never hurt anything. Love the idea of the mushrooms.


  6. fay says:

    Whoa! 3 of my favorite things in one dish!!! it’s like hitting the jackpot.

  7. i’ve just been looking for a lentils recipe that my husband would actually like. since this has bacon, i know he’ll love it. thanks!! :)

  8. ann says:

    Can you make your recipes “printer friendly” please? I use alot of ink printing the picture. BTY- this recipe looks so good. I can’t wait to try it.



    • David Leite says:

      Ann, they are. If you click the “Print post” link at the top right of any recipe, it’s a text only version, without pictures.

  9. Bacon, mushrooms and garlic……….sounds like a perfect meal to me! Thanks for sharing this, i know my friends will love it!

  10. Cait says:

    I made these again tonight—yes, my 2nd time in 4 days. They’re that good! This time I added a tablespoon of stone-ground mustard to the onions as they were sauteeing. It was amazing!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Terrific, Cait! Can totally see the mustard binding the flavors together. Lovely touch.

  11. Brenda Carleton says:

    We are making this for supper tomorrow evening and are excited as we, too, love lentils + bacon + mushrooms. Sometimes homey comfort food is precisely what you want and need. Can’t wait!

  12. Darlene Lopez says:

    I made this to go with roast chicken and it was absolutely wonderful. It reheated very nicely the next day. Before I put it in the fridge I threw in just a bit more parsley and little bit more lemon juice. I was the envy at work the next day as it smelled sooo good reheating. Thank you very much!

  13. Kathleen says:

    First off, whomever decided on this bacon slideshow needs a swift kick in the asssssss!

    I love the divine swine and now I’m trying to figure out how to defrost a pound of bacon in under a minute.

    As for the recipe, I def. will try it out.
    Also, I was thinking on my 2nd try I will substitute farro for lentils, see how that goes.

    Sounds pretty damned good to me!

    Oink! Oink!

  14. Silke says:

    Made them yesterday, with slight changes – added beet stalks – just because I had them and I had slightly overcooked the lentils and needed something crunchy. And I used sherry vinegar – probably 3 tbsp, plus pickled mustard seeds, instead of the lemon juice. Omitted the butter, used the bacon fat instead. Loved the dish, as did all my guests!

  15. Johana Ben-Simon says:

    me and my fiancé loved this recipe! :)

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