Lentils are an ingredient I’ve been intrigued by lately. In the hope of occasionally sticking to a carb-free few days every now and then, lentils looked like a great option to bulk out a meal in place of rice or pasta. My first attempt was a disaster – I had stunning visions of a delicious tikka masala, dotted with these lovely red lentils. Nope, I followed the packet instructions and cooked them to mush. And they tasted pretty horrid. I immediately text a friend who knew her stuff about the little pulses. She recommended that I just add them straight to the curry instead of pre-cooking, and she was right! That ended up a bit better.
A couple of months passed and I’d read that green lentils were better for bulking out dishes, as they keep their shape when cooking. I didn’t think much of it until I came across a picture of a recipe on Instagram. Bacon? Lentils? Red wine? Okay then. I’m not sure where the recipe originated from, but it was now mine to play with.
The first time I tried cooking this dish, I didn’t use garden peas as the recipe called for chickpeas instead. Now, if you’ve never had green lentils before, they have quite a firm bite and a very nutty taste. This, along with also-firm chickpeas, was not a pleasing combination. My boyfriend has never not eaten a dish I’ve cooked – EVER – but this well and truly changed that. Every mouthful seemed like hard work and even I wasn’t too impressed. The sauce though, well that was just wonderful. Tomatoey, smokey, with a lovely depth from the red wine. I was determined to make it work. It just so happened I had some peas in the freezer, and my second attempt was a massive improvement. The soft, juicy burst from the peas complimented the firmness of the lentils and it was finally a delicious feeling eating experience.
One other thing about this dish is that it comes in at a wonderful 255 calories. I’m not currently fasting, but it’s still good to have another scrumptious low calorie meal in the bank. Oh, and my boyfriend ate the entire portion of my second attempt. Back in the game!
Calorie breakdown per serving:
- 50g dried green lentils – 44 calories
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon – approx 82 calories
- 25g frozen garden peas – 17 calories
- 1/4 red onion – 8 calories
- 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes – 44 calories
- 1/2 Knorr chicken stock cube – 15 calories
- 37.5ml red wine – 41 calories
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – 2 calories
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme – 2 calories
If you enjoyed this recipe and wanted another low-calorie bacon and wine involved dinner, why not try my Baked Bacon and Mushroom Risotto?
- 100g dried green lentils, rinsed
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 50g frozen garden peas
- 300ml stock made from one chicken stock cube
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 75ml red wine
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp dried rosemary
- Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook gently until starting to soften. Stir in the dried green lentils and pour in the red wine. Boil for a few minutes until reduced.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils have softened slightly. If you find the pan is running dry, top up with small amounts of boiling water when needed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, dried rosemary and thyme and the crispy bacon. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, adding the peas in the last few minutes, until reduced and the lentils are cooked - they will be tender but still firm to bite.
- Calories per serving: 255 calories