Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash


Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

(sorry to scream at you.) (all the time.)

This recipe is so fun! I already can’t wait to talk about it, which would be right now.

It’s mostly unique. Different. A total flavor switcheroo for your tongue face. Ingredients you miiiiight not think about on the regs, but are still super easy to find. You know how I do. I keep it simple.

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

Black lentils! Are you into them? You should be. They’re super similar to French green lentils (really dark, smaller, dense, pebble like), and hold up to their guts once boiled. I really, really prefer them over the regular green lentils like these, which are much paler in color, and get mushy once they even THINK about touching hot water. NERP.

Chinese 5-spice! Are you into it? You should be. A little goes a long way, and to me, the flavor is like nothing else. Mostly savory (so it’s perrrrfect with ground pork), but with a touch of sweet that makes your chin pop up all, “Whoa whoa, hold on. What was that? I liked it.”

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

The recipe is stupid simple. You boil the lentils in hot water until they become toothy, maybe 15 minutes? 20?

You’ll brown your ground pork in a pan and season it with the Chinese 5-spice. You’ll remove the pork, then sauté a bunch of minced ginger and garlic. Also known as life jubilation.

Now, toss in a diced white pattypan squash. And listen, before you’re all, “PATTYPAN IS A SUMMER THING, BEV.” I know. I actually found this little white pup at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, so if you can’t find it (which I think most markets are closed by now?), use any squash you dig. Or dig up! Hahahaha.


Sauté the squash until you get some good searing all over, and it tenderizes just a tad. Add that pork back. Add those lentils, man.

Add a bunch of lime juice, a good drizzle of olive oil, a bunk ton of chopped cilantro and mint. Pinch of salt. You know.

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

That’s it! And oh my gosh. It’s just so dang good. Like, I wish we could all go lentil bobbing together right now.

Wait, did you x out?

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

These FLAVORS. I had no idea lentils and seasoned pork would marry up so well together. It’s almost less about that, and more about the punch from the fresh lime. That lime, ugh. It lassos the cilantro and mint and WHIPS THIS DISH INTO SUBMISSION.

It’s all so freaking good. Nice textures, insane flavors, unexpected sexiness. You in?

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

It’s your new life calling.

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash
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  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice (start with 1 tsp and add more if you want!)
  • 1-2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pattypan squash, diced (or any squash you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and mint leaves, more for garnish
  • 1 lime, for the juice
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lentils until toothy, but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Taste them at the 15-minute mark. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the pork and brown all over. Season with the Chinese 5-spice. Remove from the pan, and add a Tbs. of oil, the minced ginger and garlic. Sauté the aromatics until they become fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the diced squash to the pan, and sauté until you get some nice searing all over, and it becomes tender.
  4. Add the pork back to the pan, along with the cooked lentils. Give it a good toss. Add in the chopped herbs and lime juice. Toss toss toss. Maybe a drizzle of oil. Need a pinch of salt? Glory be.
  5. Serve it up, yo!
  6. Makes 4 dinner servings.

Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash / Bev Cooks

You do remember that Mama said knock you out?


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3 Responses to Spiced Pork with Black Lentils and Squash

  1. Melanie October 25, 2017 at 11:33 am #
    Where did you find the chinese 5 spice?! I checked my local trader joes, and then Whole Foods, but no luck. I'll order online if need be, but I wanted to make this tonight and the only ingredient I'm missing is the spice! Thanks :)
    • Becky October 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm #
      You can make your own blend. https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-make-five-spice-powder-4065302
  2. yahtzee games July 28, 2018 at 5:12 am #
    Looking very nice but have some different formula from other recipe, Here you cook pork which I have seen first time and you have unique combination of the ingredients.

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