Lentils Like Baked Beans

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I’ve been wanting to make these for years, since seeing them on Tara’s page. They come from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by Frédéric Morin and David McMillian with Meredith Erickson – besides Joe Beef, they also own Liverpool House, where a certain pair of cool politicians went for dinner last week. I’ve never managed to go to either, but aspire to someday.

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Swapping in lentils for the usual kidney and navy beans is brilliant – split red lentils don’t need soaking, and cook in less than a quarter of the time it takes to bake larger pulses, yet are still a tasty vehicle for the sweetness and tang of the classic syrup-ketchup-vinegar bath they simmer in. I added a bit of barbecue sauce for smokiness, and found mine not as saucy and didn’t require as much cooking — when we reheated the leftovers later they softened even more, but were still tasty-in a baked beans meets refried beans meets lentils sort of way. And lentils and bacon are buddies.

I imagine they’d be equally tasty with some larger, more pebbly brown lentils, which would take a bit longer to cook (40 minutes?) but would remain more robust.

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Either way, I’m always happy to find a new version of a quick(ish) pot of beans for dinner.

Lentils like Baked Beans


June 8, 2017


1 Tbsp. canola oil

4 slices bacon, finely diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed

4 cups water

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp barbecue sauce

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 Tbsp yellow mustard

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper


1Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set a heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, bacon and onion and cook until the bacon is almost crisp and onions are golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the lentils, water, ketchup, barbecue sauce, maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, and some salt and pepper to taste.

2Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender and have absorbed the liquid. Pluck out the bay leaf before serving. Serves 8 or more.


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4 comments on “Lentils Like Baked Beans

  1. esme
    June 8, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    WOWZA! This looks delicious! You’re killing it, Julie. The barbecued flatbread (which was as easy as you said, even for a cooking-phobic klutz like me, and outrageously yummy) with roasted garlic drizzle (more slop than drizzle because klutz, but fantastic flavour despite the oil slick!) and garlicky yogurt tahini (drooooooool) now this? You make my vegetarian heart and tummy very, very happy. THANKS so much.

    • Julie
      June 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Yay!! glad you’re loving it!

  2. Carolyn
    June 13, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Delicious! Mine turned out soupier than your picture shows, but they are definitely a make-again. Are better then next day so great for left overs. Thanks for a nice healthy recipe!

    • Julie
      June 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Interesting – mine weren’t soupy at all!

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