Sautéed Bacon, Mushrooms, and Lentils

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?

A green bowl filled with sautéed bacon, mushrooms, and lentils with a whole piece of bacon on top.

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

  • Quick Glance
  • (10)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6
4.6/5 - 10 reviews
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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.

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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.



  1. 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. Jessica, yeah, sometimes there’s a delicate balance in a recipe, and removing one element–in this case, bacon, which is also salty–can throw it off. But I’m delighted you still liked it.

  2. I’d never thought to try mushrooms and lentils together and they really are a great combination. I made some changes to the recipe, but think I kept to the general concept. Skipped the bacon since I don’t like it very much, added red pepper to the saute and then a little smoked paprika just before serving which kind of stands in for the smoked bacon flavor. Also omitted the butter and ate it in pitas with soft goat cheese and more parsley than the recipe stated. Made like this it’s less rich than the base recipe, but still has a hearty vibe from the mushroom and lentil base.

    1. Wonderful, S. The earthiness of the lentils and mushrooms sorta play off one another, yes? And brilliant on the smoked paprika. And I can see soft goat cheese working really well here in terms of texture and temperature and tang. Appreciate you sharing your tricks so that we and others can benefit from them! Kindly let us know the next recipe you try from our site…

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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