Last year I shared a recipe called Mush, a glorious frugal concoction of cheese and lentils that permeates my childhood and was probably named by some disenchanted husband who wondered what the heck his wife was trying to serve for dinner.
Well, as much as I love that old faithful recipe, it’s nothing compared to this one. Seriously. I didn’t know lentils could taste this good, and I venture to say that even those of you who shy away from these legumes might like this dish.
Because who doesn’t like cheese and bacon?
I mean seriously, melted cheese by itself is wonderful enough, and if you are vegetarian I encourage you to try this dish sans meat. It’s delicious.
But if you like bacon as much as I do, you should follow the recipe as is. Chris and I don’t really eat pork, so we tend to purchase turkey or beef bacon. If we feel healthy and wealthy we buy the kind that doesn’t have nitrates, nitrites, or added sugar. However, more often than not, Aldi brand turkey bacon works fine.
Bacon & Cheese Lentil Pie
- 1½ cups lentils, soaked 24 hours*
- 2 cups stock (chicken, vegetable, beef) or water
- 1/4-1/2 medium–sized onion, finely chopped (to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (we use beef or turkey) (optional)
- 1½ cups cheddar (or other cheese), shredded
- In a saucepan, combine lentils, stock, onion and bay leaf
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Drain excess liquid
- Turn off heat, remove bay leaf and add salt, pepper, bacon and 1 cup cheese into lentils, stirring until cheese melts
- Evenly spread lentil and cheese mixture in a lightly greased pie plate or small baking dish and top with remaining cheese
- Bake 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until golden and bubbling
* Soaking the lentils is an optional step. It’s a frugal, easy way to help your body digest the nutrients found in the lentils. The day before making this pie, pour the lentils into a strainer, rinse them with water, then pour them into a medium-sized bowl. Fill the bowl with filtered water to 1 inch above the lentils. Allow them to soak for 24-72 hours, changing the water ever 12 hours. Drain the soaking water before using them in this recipe. If you choose not to soak the lentils, simply rinse them in a strainer and increase the stock/water to 3 cups.
You can serve this with steamed veggies and buttered bread, or just enjoy it as is for an easy, frugal, whole foods based meal.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Would you try this with bacon or without?