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

*Can I make this recipe without bacon?

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

4.64 / 11 votes
Sautéed bacon, mushrooms, and lentils is mostly healthy but also has an extravagant amount of bacon added. Brown lentils and mushrooms are full of nutrition and flavor, so why not indulge?
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories305 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 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 (1 oz) 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, fry the bacon until crisp.
  • Sprinkle the lentils with extra parsley and bacon, left whole or crumbled into pieces, the more the better. Originally published March 03, 2011.
Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share

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Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 305 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 15 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 22 mgSodium: 729 mgFiber: 13 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Ryland Peters & Small. Photo © 2010 . All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

This dish is great as a meal or a side dish! I made a roast 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.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    What a great and straightforward lentil recipe! I subbed in dried porcini for the oyster mushrooms and added some of the liquid to the lentils. This upped the subtleties of the flavor. The lemon and parsley are definitely a must for added depth.