Mexican Lentejas Con Fruta Recipe

Slowly, I’m learning that even when the sun is shining brightly in Vancouver, it doesn’t always mean it’s warm. I’m not complaining because I actually enjoy the chill in the air and the need to wear a scarf (i.e. I love accessories). And most importantly, I love that a heavy and meaty stew is not a craving you can disregard but is instead a downright necessity in order to warm you after a brisk walk.

Continuing on with my recent desire to recreate Mexican foods, I decided combat the cold weather and make ‘lentejas con frutas’ or ‘lentils with fruit’. It’s not a dish that I would immediately associate with Mexican food and for this reason it intrigued me.

Lentejas con frutas, lentils with fruit

I intentionally overlooked the amount of meat in the recipe and tried not to think about the porky combination of chorizo, smoked pork chops, and bacon. I convinced myself that the healthy lentils would compensate and unclog any arteries filled in by the fatty meat.

chorizo and other meats

Lentils with Fruit
adapted from Mexico: The Beautiful Cookbook

2 cups dried green lentils
8 cups water
1/2 lb. bacon, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. chorizo, casing removed and chopped
1 cup chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 plantain, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bunch green onions
4 smoked pork chops

Place the lentils and water into a large pan, bring to a boil. Cover pan, lowering heat and reducing to a simmer for 40 minutes (add water if needed during the cooking). Drain the lentils and reserve the liquid for later use.

In a large pot or dutch oven, saute the bacon for 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook covered for 3 minutes. Add the lentils, pineapple, plantain, salt and pepper. Cook covered for 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups of the lentil liquid. Chop green onions into 4″ lengths and add to the dutch oven. Cover and cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes.

While the dutch oven is simmering, heat a skillet with a tablespoon oil and fry the smoked pork chops for 3 minutes on each side. Once the dutch oven has simmered for 30 minutes, add the pork chops and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

It takes a good 2 hours from beginning to end and does use a good amount of meat. But, it also tastes like it’s simmered for 2 hours and it has all sorts of spicy-smokey flavor. I think it’s worth making on occasion, especially on a cold day.

I’ll admit that during the simmering of the meat and fruit, I didn’t much care for the smell of it. I’m not sure what it was but I feared having to eat it. Surprisingly, it tastes delicious and is of course even better the following day (it took us 3 days, lunch and dinner to finish off the pot).

This isn’t a pretty dish by any means. I tried my best to pretty it up but it remains an ugly duckling, albeit a spicy and delicious ugly duckling. My only complaint would be the plantain … I just don’t get plantains (I only enjoy them fried). I would rather replace it next time with potato or some other root veggie.

And, for all the folks following me on Twitter (@eatingoutloud), this is the dish that caused me to mention bones in my chorizo. It’s likely the fact that I buy chorizo from places like Safeway but I always get at least one bite containing a piece of ground up bone. It’s rather disturbing and can ruin a meal. This round of chorizo did not disappoint and the largest piece found was about the size of a pea.

The next time I attempt this stew, I’ll find a quality chorizo from a better source and see if I have the same issue. The chorizo makes this dish by imparting a wonderful spiciness.

More lentil ideas from other bloggers:
Sweet/Spicy Lentil Sauce with Chicken – What’s cooking?
Sweet Potato, Lentil & Raisin Stew – The Perfect Pantry
Spicy Lentil Soup with Lime – Nami-Nami
Green Lentil and Red Pepper Salad – Kalyn’s Kitchen
Red Lentil Salad with Dried Fruit & Toasted Pine Nuts – EatingWell

On a side note

– a view of the water planes in Coal Harbour (Vancouver, BC) while out walking around this past weekend. Note the wonderfully snowy mountains in the background.

coal harbour, vancouver bc canada

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  1. Yikes about the chorizo. I’m not to keen on the quality of stuff here but at least I’ve never eaten a bone in chorizo! (that I know of…)
    I’ve only had lentils once so it’s kind of hard to imagine it with fruit, but as I love pineapple, I think I’ll love this too :)
    There’s never an opportunity to wear scarves here! :( Ha ha ha.

  2. Mmmmhhh, that looks warming and hearty. I really like lentils and pineapples cooked together, so I bet this dish is delicious.

  3. Very interesting combination, but it does sound tasty to me. Love that last picture of the harbor too. My brother just went to Vancouver and said it was gorgeous.

  4. While I’ve grown up around Mexican cuisine for most of my life, I’m not sure if this is something I would grow to enjoy. Interesting idea to combine sweet and savory though. BTW: Love the recipe cards.

  5. Accessories rule! hehe. I don’t think people associate lentils and fruit with Mexican food right away, but down there we love the combination of savory/spicy/sweet meals. My mom made a similar dish using fried plantains and apples. Doesn’t that sound lovely.

    I love the last picture. Here in Ohio I often find myself repeating Bilbo’s phrase: I wanna see mountains again, Gandalf, MOUNTAINS! lol

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