Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms – Recipe

Spanish lentils and mushrooms
Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms

Have you ever noticed how mushrooms cut thickly and browned are a completely different experience to eat than when sliced thin and sauteed as normal? Instead of cooking all of the water out of them, the surface simply gets seared and the interior retains a chewy texture. Delicious.

For today's dish, I paired those mushrooms with French green lentils, seasoned with olive oil, sherry vinegar and smoked paprika for a Spanish accent. You can use lentils de puy, or the black Beluga lentils as well. Just don't use standard big green or brown lentils. They will turn to mush.

The lentils are garnished with a little salad of cherry tomatoes and basil. Especially with earthy, brown plates, I love to finish with something bright and fresh to add a little visual interest and lighten the flavors.

With just a good baguette this would make a nice light and healthy meal, or a smaller portion could be the first course of something more elaborate.

Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Serves 4-6

  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups French green lentils, picked over and washed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (such as pimenton dulce)
  • salt
  • sherry vinegar
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 big leaves of basil, chiffonade
  • black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic with a good glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender. Add the smoked paprika. Season with salt, sherry vinegar, and more smoked paprika to taste. I like there to be just an edge of vinegary sourness without it being overpowering.
  2. Meanwhile, In a very hot saute pan, fry the mushrooms with another glug of olive oil, turning occasionally. Try to get them to brown well on most sides. Season with salt.
  3. Toss the cherry tomatoes and basil with a little olive oil, sherry vinegar, and salt.
  4. To serve, divide the lentils into bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top that with the salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and maybe another little dusting of smoked paprika

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, April 15th, 2010 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

24 Responses to “Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    April 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    we’re getting some fantastic mushrooms at the market….thanks for posting this, i’ve been needing some inspiration! looks perfect for a busy weeknight.

  2. Reply
    April 16, 2010 at 6:27 am #

    I love lentils, and this Spanish spin sounds particularly delicious!

  3. Reply
    April 16, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Michael, I can’t wait to try this! I’m seriously thinking of putting my clients on a “meatless Monday” program and this would be a perfect introduction!

  4. Reply
    April 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Meatless Monday! Great start to the week Chef Debbie!!

    Nice lentil recipe Michael, I love lentils and mushrooms, although I tend to use the dried porcini only usually. I must try this sometimes.

  5. Reply
    April 17, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    I love lentils, I like your recipe!!

  6. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 18, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    What a great idea to give your clients Meatless Mondays!

  7. Reply
    April 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    This looks delicious, I don’t cook lentils often though. It says “Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender”, aprox how long is “until tender”?

  8. Reply
    April 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    I’m another person who is new to cooking with French lentils. Will the lentils absorb all of the liquid, or do we drain them, like pasta?

  9. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 20, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    @Kendra – I'd start checking every 5 minutes after they have simmered for 20, but it can really vary depending on how dry the lentils are.

  10. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 20, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    @B – You want to keep them in enough liquid that they don't scorch, then drain them. (And if you ever scorch beans or lentils, just throw them out – nothing can recover that flavor).

  11. Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    Thanks, Michael. I know what I’ll be having for dinner tonight!

  12. Reply
    April 21, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Hi! I just discovered your blog. Awesome! I’ve been thinking about going veggie for a while now. Then I started dating a vegetarian, and he’s inspired me. I stumbled on this recipe while googling for lentils and mushrooms. I tried it last night. Super easy and so very yummy! Served it last night with a lovely cucumber salad. Thanks for doing this blog. I’m really enjoying it.

  13. Reply
    April 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi there, just found your blog, what a great space! Everything looks delicious, cant wait to try it all!

  14. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

    Thanks Shelly! I'm delighted you made it and liked it, and I really appreciate you taking the time to drop a note. Makes my day.

  15. Reply
    July 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    This looks so delicious. My mouth is watering. I will most certainly be making this. Yum!

  16. Reply
    September 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    You nailed it. There is nothing like a baby bella mushroom quartered and added to a recipe like yours. It’s meaty as all get out. Love it!

  17. Reply
    November 23, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    Yummy! I need to do more investigation of the difference between one type of lentil and another. 🙂

  18. Reply
    January 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi there! I just found this and gave it a go! It was fantastic! Thank you so much for the recipe, it was instantly one of my favorites and I’ll be making it again soon!
    link to

  19. Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    I am definitely trying this out. I love mushrooms and would love to see how it would turn up for me with the lentils. Thanks

  20. Reply
    September 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    This is amazing! I live in Korea where sherry vinegar simply does not exist. Is there a good substitution? Could I use apple vinegar instead??

  21. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    September 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Hey Allison – I don't see any reason why apple vinegar wouldn't be nice in this dish. Or red wine vinegar if that is available. If you try it, let me know what you think!


  22. Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    The meal turned out really well with apple cider vinegar. I also added a lot of hot sauce just for the kick. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  23. Reply
    September 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I made this twice in a matter of few days. We loved it. In fact, I had just posted about it on my blog today. Love the meatiness of the mushrooms without actually eating meat.

  24. Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar and paprika… You’re speaking our language! These lentils look positively delicious, especially with the umami that mushrooms bring. The photo is absolutely mouth-watering!

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