Top this bistro-style dish with poached egg for extra savor
Winter is waning in our part of the world, though spring is still snoozing. So warm salads, no?
This warm lentil salad is perfect for the season. It’s flavorful and filling without being too heavy. And it’s a double-duty dish. We like to serve it as a main course, but it could also be a starter.
You might say it’s two recipes in one. Perfect for in-between weather.
Recipe: Warm Lentil Salad with Bacon
Lentil salads are favorites at French bistros, where there are countless variations on the dish. We like to flavor ours with bacon, but you could omit that and opt to go vegetarian. See Notes for ideas on recipe alternatives.
We used Poached egg to garnish this dish. You could also use Fried egg. And sautéed or Poached scallops would also make a terrific topper. Or maybe sautéed shrimp.
If you’re serving this dish as a side, just omit the garnish entirely. Lentils pair well with duck, lamb, or pork.
This dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare. The recipe serves 3 to 4 as a main dish, or twice that many as a starter.
- ¾ cup lentils (brown or green; see Notes)
- ~6 ounces bacon, preferably slab or thick-cut (see Notes)
- ½ medium onion (we like to use purple onion for this dish, but any color will do; may double this amount—see Notes)
- 1 medium carrot (may double this amount)
- 1 garlic clove (or to taste)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- additional salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- poached or fried egg as garnish (optional)
- additional minced parsley for garnish (optional)
- Pick over the lentils to remove any grit or dirt, then give them a quick rinse. Place the lentils in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring the lentils to a simmer, then cook them until done (about 20 to 25 minutes). Check the water level from time to time; it’s OK if almost all the water gets absorbed (you want that), but don’t let the lentils dry out completely—they can scorch.
- While the lentils are cooking, cut the bacon into pieces of about 1 inch by ¼ inch. Place the bacon pieces in a large frying pan, turn the stovetop heat to medium, and cook until the bacon is crispy.
- Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it into dice of ½ inch or so. Peel the carrot and cut it into dice of ¼ inch or a bit larger. Peel the garlic and mince it finely. Set all the chopped veggies aside.
- When the bacon is done (Step 2), remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Pour off most of the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the frying pan. Add the onion and carrots to the pan, season to taste with salt, and sauté for 5 minutes.
- While the onion and carrots are cooking, wash and dry the parsley. Mince it finely (you may want to mince a bit extra for garnish). Set aside.
- After the onion and carrots have cooked for 5 minutes (Step 4), add the minced garlic. Cook for another minute. Add the vinegar, then cook until most of the vinegar has evaporated (a minute or two).
- By now, the lentils will probably be done (if they’re not, turn off the heat under the frying pan, holding the onion and carrot mixture until the lentils are ready). Drain the cooked lentils (if necessary), then add them to the frying pan with the onion and carrots. Add the minced parsley, and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.
- At this point, you can hold the lentil mixture over low stovetop heat while you prepare the poached or fried eggs.
- When ready to serve, dish the lentils onto serving plates, top each serving with an egg, and sprinkle on extra parsley (if using) for garnish.
- You can use either brown or green lentils for this recipe. French Le Puy lentils are wonderful, but a bit pricey (and not always easy to find in the US). We opted for ordinary green lentils in this dish.
- You can double the amount of onion and/or carrots in this dish if you want more veggies. A rib or two of chopped celery would also be a nice addition. Or maybe some red bell pepper.
- Leeks make a great substitute for onion in this dish (use the white and light green parts of 2 leeks).
- Shallots or green onions also work nicely in this recipe.
- In addition to parsley (or in place of it), you could use fresh tarragon or thyme (maybe a couple of teaspoons).
- Slab bacon is ideal in this dish (just cut it into pieces). Thick-cut bacon is a good substitute.
- If you don’t want to use bacon, you can omit it and use a couple tablespoons of good-quality virgin olive oil.
- Or you could use butter. Lentils and butter make a remarkably good flavor combo.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. Kosher salt has bigger flakes than table salt, so it doesn’t fill a measuring spoon as “tightly.” Hence, it’s less salty by volume. If you’re using regular table salt, use only about half as much as we suggest (Step 4). You can add more later if necessary.
“Mmmm,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Eggstremely good stuff.”
“Yes,” I said. “This is eggceptional.”
“Hey, stop it!” said Mrs K R. “You’re poaching my favorite yolks.”
“Sorry to be eggsasperating,” I said. “Just wanted to crack you up.”
“No need to eggsplain,” said Mrs K R. “When it comes to bad puns, we’re pretty hard-boiled.”
And on that note, we’ll eggxit.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Duck, Lentil, and Kale Soup
Chopped Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
White Bean and Tuna Salad
Or check out the index for more recipes
Wow what a wonderful salad you've created here. It would be perfect for any meal and so full of nutrition! I don't make lentils enough but should have it on our menu at least weekly I'm convinced. Nice recipe!
I adore lentils---and maybe the bacon in your lovely salad will turn the hubby into a fan. If not, I'm happy not to share :)
Lol, I'm smiling at the banter, you both crack me up:)
Now, on to the serious stuff, that eggstraordinary Lentil Salad! Love the ingredients in this dish and the versatility, John. The touch of vinegar is a pleasant surprise I'm sure...
Thanks so much for sharing, John..Hope Winter remains in the waning stage. I hear there's a storm headed your way...
This would be a great main course for me. And yes, double the onion. I love onion so much, I'm pretty sure I could eat them like apples. I used to eat onion and cheese sandwiches as a kid.
I can't think of anything that isn't better with a poached egg on top! This looks delicious!
Hi Vicki, lentils are wonderful! SO much flavor. And so easy to use. One of my favorite dried pulses/legumes. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, this is SO good you'll be delighted not to share. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Louise, the vinegar adds such nice flavor to this. Really a fun salad -- worth trying. Alas, we woke up to snow this morning. But it'll be gone tomorrow. I hope. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, like the idea of an onion and cheese sandwich! Grilled would be particularly nice. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Judy, we're suckers for poached eggs. Such a great looking garnish! And wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.
What a great meal -- which I'd make a feast of like a queen because I love all the components of this salad.
You are right. I should put lentils on my shopping list! This sounds really delicious. I have an Indian-spiced lentil salad recipe somewhere too.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
This is a great idea for any meal of the day!! I love the egg on top. My hubby and I are eating healthier so this needs to happen soon :)
oh boy! Lentils: check, bacon: check, runny yolk poached egg: check! This sounds like a wonderful warm salad for sure John!
Hi Denise, this is such a tasty dish! And pretty healthy, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, lentils take so nicely to Indian spices! One of my favorite ways to cook them. Although this is darn nice, too. :o-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ashley, any dish is nicer with an egg on top! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Evelyne, this dish definitely checks all the flavor boxes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Everything is better with a runny yolk. It looks absolutely terrific, John.
That looks delicious. I love the egg on top.
Hi John , what a pretty salad , it's the cat's meow ... the egg on top makes it look to pretty to eat ... giggling ... nope , I will eat it in a jiof. Thanks for sharing , pinning :)
That poached egg... perfection!
Hi Pam, we're suckers for a runny yolk. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, eggs always look so great as a garnish, don't they? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nee, I'd eat in a jot too. And did. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lizzy, don't you just love the way a poached egg looks? And the flavor is even better! Thanks for the comment.
Looks like the perfect lunch, brunch or supper to me. Love all the components of this dish. Great recipe.
Lentils are 100000% under-rated! They're SO high in protein and anti-oxidants, they should be REQUIRED to be eating at least 1x a day!
Hi John, what a wonderful salad, I could eat this all day.
Hi Karen, this is so versatile, isn't it -- can serve this several different ways. All so tasty! Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGi, we don't have them every single day, but do have them often, particularly from September through April or May. Love 'em! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Cheri, we could eat this all day, too. :-) Really good stuff. Thanks for the comment.
I love the lentils with the bacon and egg. Sounds like a great salad.
I gotta talk about the puns again (not that egg-topped anything isn't a gabfest all on its own). Still, I have to ask, do you plan your post around your latest pun, or do the puns come mid-mouthful? GREG
Hi Dawn, this really does have an incredible amount of flavor. All of it good, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Greg, LOL! The puns come mid-mouthful. :-) Usually, at least -- sometimes some jokes are so obvious we know before we write the post how it's going to end! Thanks for the comment.
WOW! That plate looks so beautiful and delicious. Can't wait to try this out :-)
This is a great idea for breakfast or brunch. I love the lentils in this dish. Thanks, :)
Hi Kushi, this really is good -- hope you enjoy it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pat, we love lentils, so are always looking for a new way to use them. And this is a good one! Thanks for the comment.
I love lentils because they cook so quickly compared to other beans. This dish would be so perfect morning, noon or night.
Hi Carolyn, lentils really do cook fast, don't they? I don't think it's ever taken me more than half an hour, and usually faster than that. Thanks for the comment.
Great minds..! I realized I hadn't made lentils in way too long, and used them for a salad too. I love that these salads can be warm or cold or in between and so many toppings work with them!
This is a lovely dish, perfect for this fickle-weather time of year.
Hi Lisa, lentil salads are wonderful, aren't they? Heck, lentil anything is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rocquie, right after we made these we had snow again. So soup. But lentil salad is much better for the more mild weather that's coming! Thanks for the comment.
Haha, I was eggcited to see your picture and recipe! Looks so yummy!!! I love the conversation between you two. You two are so sweet to each other. :) This recipe is a keeper. I can eat this for lunch everyday!
I just prepared lentils yesterday but must confess that they didn't sound, look and, for sure,
taste as good as in this lovely dish.
Hi Nami, we really enjoy writing those conversations! Our favorite part of blogging. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Daniela, don't you love lentils? You definitely want to try this -- SO tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love the sound of this! My perfect lunch!
Hi Caroline, this really is such a nice dish. Perfect lunch indeed -- good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow, you've created such a fantastic dish, John. I've been craving bacon and eggs lately and having them almost every weekend and now I can have a quick weeknight meal with lentils, too! Love the poached egg on this and would love shrimp on it as well. Beautiful!
Hi Robyn, best thing about this dish is it's almost a classic breakfast! With lentils instead of hash browns. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love this dish for a nice hearty main John - and that bacon looks pretty great. Puy lentils are hard to find but Bob's Red Mill sells some great French Lentils that we love. Thanks!
Hi Tricia, we can never resist bacon. Or eggs. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have to admit, I haven't yet joined the "put an egg on it party" but you've made this salad look so enticing, John, I just may have to!
Hi Rosemary, if you don't want to do the egg (although it looks so pretty!) a seared scallop seriously is a good idea. :-) Scallops and bacon are a wonderful combo, and they both work well with lentils. Thanks for the comment.
Exquisite! Especially the whole combo of egg on top of the lentil salad. Even though I grew up eating a lot of lentils, I discovered lentil salad only after taking a keen interest in Western cuisine! Your salad is nutritious and just perfect for welcoming spring!
Hi Ansh, this is one of those dishes you can spice any way you want. Indian spices would be wonderful! Thanks for the comment.
This is a fantastic protein packed meal. Add bacon and egg to any dish and my family's happy!
Hi Kristi, don't you just love how healthy and tasty lentils are? The perfect food! :-) Thanks for the comment.
You and Mrs K R always make me smile! I do love lentils, especially with an egg, and you're so right about this being a lovely in-between seasons salad. Thank you!
Hi Hannah, lentils are just really good stuff, aren't they? Love them! Thanks for the comment.
I love warm lentil salads. The last one I made, I added merguez sausages. I'll be trying your version soon, my husband would enjoy it with the bacon and egg.
You bet I'd top this one with a poached egg. Great looking dish John. And very healthy. Love that little dab of vinegar. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Karen, love the idea of sausage! Will definitely be trying that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, vinegar really adds some nice tang, doesn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
wow! the combination of bacon and lentils sounds amazing!
Hi Marcela, it really is a good combo. SO tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I just adore lentils, great at soaking up flavor and packed with protein. Bacon is just the perfect partner. Yum!!
Hi Mary, I think bacon is the perfect partner for almost anything! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm not a big fan of lentil but the way you created this dish. . . it's winning me over. Looks delicious, John. thanks.
Hi Ray, this is a great way to eat lentils! Loads of flavor. And who can resist bacon? :-) Thanks for the comment.
It took me a long while to get to the bottom of this list, but I love lentils and was eggstremely eggcited to tell you! I am so glad that Greg asked you about the puns...was always curious! And on that note-I will eggsit.
We love lentils and your salad is packed full with flavors. I like the addition of egg on top.. looks elegant.
The last place I enjoyed a lentil salad was in France. I loved it and I love your version as well. It's the 2nd day of Autumn here and I think this would be perfect.
Hi Abbe, one day puns just happened, and since then we've almost always included them. We're weak, I know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amira, lentils are so great, aren't they? SO much flavor, and so good for one. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Maureen, this is the perfect fall or spring dish! Loads of flavor, extremely satisfying, not too heavy. Thanks for the comment.
With the bacon and egg, I can see this as a healthy and hearty breakfast. Nice dish John!
Hi MJ, this would make a great breakfast! In fact I've had leftovers of this for breakfast -- with a freshly fried egg. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I so want this for my breakfast! just look at that nice nutritious plate
Hi Raymund, isn't this nice? Tons of flavor. Healthy, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
A scrumptious salad! And that runny egg is ever so mouthwatering.
Hi Rosa, hard to resist a runny egg, isn't it? So good, and looks so nice! Thanks for the comment.
Hi John! This looks really good! I don't have much experience with lentils, but I've been wanting to give them another try. I think this is a great way to start :)
Hi Marcelle, lentils are good! Once you start using them, I'll bet they'll become favorites. Thanks for the comment.
They do! But I also love the umami that the runny yolk brings to the dish!
Hi Jeff, can't beat umami, can you? :-)
I love the idea of warm salad...as I never thought in using lentils for such a dish...looks delicious with bacon and yes, egg...
Hi Juliana, lentils make a wonderful salad! SO much flavor and goodness. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The beautifully poached egg on top makes this meal a winner in my world. We do something similar for breakfast on weekends at my place, although sub the bacon for proscuitto. Yarm!
Hi Anna, prosciutto would be a wonderful substitution! Thanks for the comment.
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