STYLE
04/18/2012 02:44 EDT | Updated 06/18/2012 05:12 EDT

Bacon, lentils and spinach tossed together for an easy, tasty salad

The earthy flavour of lentils is always complemented by bacon, especially in this beautifully structured salad.

Lentils are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, while low in fat and calories. They are naturally gluten-free. Many of the world's lentils are grown in Canada.

Lentil Spinach Salad

Lentils

1 l (4 cups) water

250 ml (1 cup) lentils (green, black beluga or French du Puy)

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

Dressing

4 slices bacon, chopped

Large splash of water

30 ml (2 tbsp) vinegar (red wine, cider)

15 ml (1 tbsp) honey

5 ml (1 tsp) Dijon mustard

Salad

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 box (454/16 oz) fresh baby spinach

Few handfuls of fresh lentil sprouts

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, lentils and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and continue cooking until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain off any excess water and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place saucepan over medium-high heat. Toss in bacon, then pour in enough water to just barely cover it. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. As the water simmers, the bacon will begin to cook. As water evaporates, the bacon will render, releasing its fat, and will crisp as the fat left behind heats past the boiling point of water.

Pour off half or so of the bacon drippings. Turn off heat, then whisk in vinegar, honey and mustard. For maximum flavour, stir up all the crispy bits in the pan.

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, toss cooked lentils. Pour bacon dressing over lentils. Add onion, spinach and sprouts and toss together.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Canadian Lentils, www.lentils.ca