You know how you hear from a lot of ex-vegetarians that bacon is like the gateway drug of the meat world? That it is responsible for more meat-relapses than any other kind of meat? I feel like I’ve heard that sentiment from enough people that there’s got to be something to it.Though, having said all that, bacon was one of the only meats that I never missed as a veggie. Bacon and ground beef. In fact, I remember telling Mr. Peach at one point that even if I resumed any omnivorous behaviors, I would continue to forego bacon and ground beef…
As you can see from this Creamy Red Lentil and Bacon Soup, my bacon-free existence has come to a grinding halt. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that bacon is my new favorite food, but I will cop to thoroughly and completely enjoying this soup.
Once in a while, I’ll make something that I know I’m going to make again and again and again. I have a feeling this soup is one of those. It’s creamy, flavorful, and slightly spicy. The lentils give it body and the bacon gives it a nice smokiness and a little bit of texture.
Plus, it’s super easy to make and comes together in about 30 minutes or so. And even though I’m going to go ahead and advocate for bacon here, I recommend using only 3 slices. It really doesn’t need anymore than that. Plus, moderation, right? Right.
And if you’re not on the bacon train (totally understandable), I have a sneaking suspicion that you could add a touch more smoked paprika and cook the onion and garlic in a bit of coconut oil for a delightful vegan alternative.
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- juice from 1 lemon
- Slice the bacon into little strips and cook over medium heat in a large dutch oven for 6-8 minutes or until crispy, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. While the bacon is cooking, dice the onion and mince the garlic.
- Remove the bacon pieces and set aside to drain. Carefully ladle out all but 1 tablespoon over the bacon grease and discard. Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Add the tomato paste, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, water, lentils, and carrot to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup until it reached desired consistency. Alternatively, you can ladle half the soup into a blender and puree before returning to the pot.
- Stir in the lemon and bacon pieces, adjust the salt, and serve garnished with parsley.