Joe Beef's Lentils Like Baked Beans

September 23, 2014
1 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This version of baked beans, from Montreal's Joe Beef restaurant, dials back the sugar so we can taste everything else. Using lentils, importantly, also means that these baked "beans" cook in a fraction of the time. Recipe from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef (Ten Speed Press, 2011) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 4 slices bacon, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed, vegetable, or canola
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons Colman's dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  1. Preheat the over to 350° F (180° C). In an ovenproof pot with a lid, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add the lentils, water, ketchup, maple syrup, oil, vinegar, mustard, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well and season with salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  3. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, maple syrup, and vinegar. Serve hot now or later.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • heatshank
  • rachel5453
  • NotTooSweet
  • essbee
  • trampledbygeese
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

41 Reviews

heatshank March 25, 2019
I've made this dish a half-dozen times now, as written. It freezes well and goes great with pork. I've eaten it with barbecued spare ribs, grilled bratwurst, fried pork chops, and roast ham. The red lentils get very soft. I like that texture, but some people might prefer a firmer bean.
rachel5453 January 7, 2018
I make these with mostly green lentils with a bit of red lentils for creaminess instead, so they keep some of that bean-y texture, instead of the more mush texture of the red lentils alone. also, since I don't eat pork, I make this any time we make steak, throwing any bones and scraps in once the lentils are simmering to add a good smokey and meaty flavor.
Lucy K. September 22, 2015
I made these a while ago and loved them. Have just remembered how good they are, it's cold and wet oustide, so am going to make them for supper tonight.
NotTooSweet August 7, 2015
This is really delicious but I wish I checked on them after maybe 1/2 hour. At the 45 minute mark, they are pretty mushy - still great tasting though. My fault for not checking sooner as the recipe does say "45 minutes or until tender." I'll know for next time!
elf1 February 12, 2015
A fab recipe! I make the full amount then divi it up and freeze in portions...I leave the bacon out because I love themfor breakfast on toast with rashers on the nosh!
JoyJoy February 9, 2015
Very delicious. Accidentally left the lentils in the oven too long (oops!) so added a bit more water to loosen the lentils up a bit. Worked like a charm. I would definitely make this again. Easy and tasty.
elf1 November 12, 2014
I made this today, leaving out the bacon and adding a tad of smoked paprika as I prefer to have the option of serving the lentils veggie style.
The flavour is so good and makes a welcome change from baked beans. Thank you for sharing.
I used more than a 1/4cup of ketchup and a little less maple and seasoned with soy sauce. .delicious!
Robert B. October 19, 2014
Absolutely delicious. Truly a genius recipe, as written.
essbee October 5, 2014
This was easy to prepare and delicious.

I should have checked on it before 45 minutes was up; it got drier than I wanted.

I adjusted the flavours and loosened the texture by cooking down some maple syrup, cider vinegar and mustard and adding that mixture into the warm pan.
Shanley M. October 1, 2014
yep - 1/4 cup:
trampledbygeese September 27, 2014
Oh wow! That looks really good. Can't wait to try it. I wonder if my slow cooker likes lentils.

If I wanted to replace the lentils with other dry beans, would I need to parboil them first or just soak and cook much longer (adjusting the water, &c.)?
Michelle September 25, 2014
This is great! I was wanting to try making baked beans with lentils since they're so quick and easy to prepare. I can't wait to give this recipe a try, but I'm going to omit the bacon altogether. Thanks for sharing! :)
stevemr September 25, 2014
I notice that you don't drain the bacon fat after using it to cook the onions and garlic. Do you think it would harm the end taste to drain out the fat at that point?
Andreas D. September 26, 2014
Don't drain the bacon fat - it's almost as high in polyunsaturated fats as olive oil. If you use good, organic, bacon there is no need to worry about the fat.
klrcon September 25, 2014
This IS genius! Love the idea of baked beans I can do without making a production number out of it - and with no molasses, which is just not my favorite thing. I'll be trying this tomorrow.
Kimberly M. September 24, 2014
Do we need to pre soak the beans?
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
lory September 24, 2014
Wondering if this would freeze well?
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
Carla September 24, 2014
Is it possible to ever see the breakdown of calories, sodium, carbs, etc., for the recipes?
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
Hi Carla -- we don't provide nutrition info on Food52, but there are sites that will break out that information for you, if you need it.
Elizabeth M. September 24, 2014
Kristen, for those of us with diabetes, it is a necessity. It would be amazingly useful for so many if Food52 would start providing that info. I tend to ignore these recipes because of the lack for such important breakdowns.
herbidacious September 28, 2014
For ref. in case this is of any use to anyone, the whole recipe comes to about 1224 calories *without* the bacon using MFP. (Took a good 10 minutes to calculate this, so thought I would share... :) )
Elizabeth M. September 28, 2014
Thank you, Herb :)
RinaEugene September 24, 2014
Could I do the oven portion in a rice cooker?
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
I'm not sure it would be worth transferring to a rice cooker, when you can just keep in in one pot in the oven (or on the stovetop -- see my comment below).
Karren H. September 24, 2014
What type of pepper, red or black?
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
Thanks for asking -- I just clarified that it's black pepper.
Judy H. September 24, 2014

Could one use Dupuy lentils instead of the red ones?Red lentils go so mushy and don't hold their shape
Kristen M. September 24, 2014
Yes, just keep an eye on them and add more liquid if it starts to get dry.
Tak Y. November 13, 2014
So I made it a couple of weeks ago, the red lentils came out almost mortar consistence and it mushed up losing it form. Is it cause it was halved without the husk? It absorb all the liquid almost before it went into the stove.