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Grain-free red lentil granola is easy, frugal, and delicious! It is also vegan, gluten-free, high in protein & fiber, & can be made oil-free.

close up of a white bowl filled with red lentil granola
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Make Healthy Grain-Free Granola with Lentils

I love a challenge, especially a recipe challenge. Depending on the complexity of the task (e.g., alternative baking), it is often equal parts logic problem and scientific experiment. In short, exactly what my nerd brain craves.

So when a friend recently asked if I could develop a simple grain-free granola, I was excited to oblige!

What I came up with is a grain-free red lentil granola.

Recipe Benefits

  • Vegan (egg-free & dairy-free)
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Easy
  • Frugal
  • Low-Sugar (unrefined sugar, too)
  • Delicious (this should be at the top of the list–who wants to eat food that isn’t delicious?)
  • High protein
  • High fiber
  • Oil-free option
bowl of red lentil granola on a pink and orange napkin

Ingredients

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

If you like, you can also stir in some unsweetened flake or shredded coconut (before baking) and/or chopped dried fruit (after baking, any variety)

Key to making the granola edible: munch-able lentils! I boil the red lentils for just a few minutes until barely tender. Red lentils are great because they are much thinner than common brown lentils, which means they cook in a fraction of the time.

Step by Step Instructions

Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring once or twice, for exactly 6 minutes.
  3. Drain thoroughly and pat dry (in the colander) with a paper towel.
  4. Spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet.Place the lentils in the oven for 15 minutes to steam and dry.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add the lentils, stirring to coat.
  6. Respray the same baking sheet with cooking spray (or use same parchment liner) and spread evenly with the coated lentils. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  7. Stir in the seeds or nuts. Continue baking for 45 to 50 minutes longer, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until browned and crispy. If using coconut, stir in during final 15 minutes of the cooking time.
  8. Cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Stir in dried fruit, if using.

How Should I Store the Granola?

Store the cooled granola in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week, the refrigerator for 3 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Can I Bake the Granola at a Higher Heat (to Save Time)?

No. It is important to keep the temperature low (300F/150C); if your oven runs hot, turn it even lower. I tried it at 325F on my second batch, to see if I could shave off some cooking time, but the lentils on the outer edges scorched, even with the occasional stir. Low and slow is the way to go to allow the lentils to dry out and become crispy.

How Do I Make the Granola without Oil?

Replace the 3 tablespoons oil with 2 tablespoons of creamy/smooth nut or seed butter and 1 tablespoon boiling water. Mix the nut/see butter with the boiling water before adding the maple syrup and vanilla.

More Healthy, Delicious Granolas to Try

close up of a white bowl filled with red lentil granola

Grain-Free Red Lentil Granola (V, Oil-free Option)

Yield: 7 (1/2 cup) servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Grain-free red lentil granola is easy, frugal, and delicious! It is also vegan, gluten-free, high in protein & fiber, & can be made oil-free.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/3 cups uncooked split red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or oil of choice; see notes for oil-free option)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom or cinnamon (or spice blend of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds, (e.g., pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pepitas)
  • Optional: 1 cup unsweetened flake or shredded coconut
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped dried fruit (any variety)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring once or twice, for exactly 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly and pat dry (in the colander) with a paper towel. Spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet.
  3. Place the lentils in the oven for 15 minutes to steam and dry.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add the lentils, stirring to coat. Respray the same baking sheet with cooking spray and spread evenly with the coated lentils.
  5. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the seeds or nuts. Continue baking for 45 to 50 minutes longer, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until browned and crispy. If using coconut, stir in during final 15 minutes of the cooking time.
  6. Cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Stir in dried fruit, if using. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

Lentils: Other lentils, such as tan, brown, black and green lentils, do not work in this recipe. This is ecause they are much thicker (they are not split) than red lentils; they do not become crisp.

Oil-Free Option: Replace the 3 tablespoons oil with 2 tablespoons of creamy/smooth nut or seed butter and 1 tablespoon boiling water. Mix the nut/see butter with the boiling water before adding the maple syrup and vanilla.

Storage: Store the cooled granola in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week, the refrigerator for 3 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information
Yield 7 Serving Size 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 271Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 137mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 4.3gSugar 14.1gProtein 10g

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About Camilla

I'm Camilla, food writer, author, runner, and spin instructor. PowerHungry® is where I share my easy, minimalist, plant-based recipes, designed for living a healthy, delicious, empowered life.

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14 Comments

  1. I have made this a few times and love it! I’m trying to find a good lentil granola bar and was wondering if you have made any or used this granola in a bar recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Judith! Ooh, I think I now what my next project will be! A grain-free lentil granola bar sounds great 🙂

  2. I’ve been buying roasted red lentils online here in South Korea, but the price went up so much I decided to make them myself but decided to try brown lentils and urad dal first (separately). I soak them overnight, then placed them in a steamer basket in the Instapot and cooked on high pressure for 20 mins. This ensures they don’t get too wet or break apart and there is no need to drain them when done. Just put them in a large pan and roast in the oven carefully until crispy. Sometimes I use oil and salt, sometimes nothing at all. They have stayed super crispy for months so far! I use them as a savory crunchy topping for soups, salads, even yogurt. Anyway, I wasn’t sure how I could do the same with red lentils, but I will follow your instructions here minus all the other ingredients. The flavor of pure plain roasted lentils is just heavenly to me. 😀

  3. Just wondering if the red lentils are whole or split? Split are far more common here in UK but whole red lentils are available.

  4. This has been quite the find for me! I loved it. I’ve missed cereal so much since I’ve gone dairy & grain free, and this really quenched that craving.

    I did not add maple syrup or dried fruit as I’m not doing sugar of any kind right now (except a few fresh fruits), and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I added sliced bananas with each serving & that was sweet enough for me.

    This will be a staple around here! Thanks for creating/posting it!