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Grain-Free Red Lentil Granola {vegan}

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Shake up your breakfast cereal routine with grain-free red lentil granola! It is high in protein & fiber, & frugal too!

red lentil granola in a white bowl atop a pink and orange napkin

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.

Here are the granola challenge parameters:

  • Grain-Free (The friend in question is following a no-grain diet, plus one of her children has celiac disease)
  • Easy (she has 4 children, volunteers for multiple charities, and is a part-time accountant working out of her home–need I say more?  I don’t know when she showers, let alone cooks, but she does both).
  • Frugal (she has made, and likes, several all-nut granolas, but they are too expensive to make on a regular basis for a family of six).
  • Low-Sugar (and preferably a natural sugar)
  • Delicious (this should be at the top of the list–who wants to eat food that isn’t delicious?)

Are you ready for the winning result: Red Lentil Granola!

red lentil granola in a white bowl atop a pink and orange napkin

 

I got the idea for a lentils in the granola from Leanne, who writes the beautiful and inspiring blog Healthful Pursuit. Her granola looks gorgeous and delicious, but involves a lot of steps that I am too impatient to follow, most notably sprouting the lentils, which takes several days. I’ve sprouted quinoa, but beyond that, I haven’t wrapped my brain around sprouting anything else (I’m holding out for a “how to sprout wings tutorial”).  Additionally, her granola includes a variety of grains. So…it was time for some experimentation.

In place of soaking and sprouting the lentils, I boiled them for just a few minutes until just 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.

The only semi-fussy step is that you next need to drain and pat dry the lentils before mixing them with the remaining ingredients. On a scale of 1 to 10 on a fuss-ometer, I would only calculate it at a 2; nor too bad. At this point, think of the lentils as rolled oats, ready to be mixed with a bit of sweetener, spices, and any additional ingredients that suit your tastes.

It’s important to keep the temperature low (300F); 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.

I passed the test, as my lovely friend informed me that she has made 4 batches, she and her kids love it, her husband tolerates it (alas, you can’t please everyone), and she just ordered 10 pounds of red lentils so that she can make multiple batches

More Healthy, Delicious Granolas to Try

5-Minute Microwave Mug Granola {healthy, easy, vegan, GF}

How to Make Low-Calorie Granola {vegan, GF, 72 calories}

Banana Bread Protein Granola (vegan, GF)

Oil-Free Buckwheat Granola {vegan, GF, oat-free}

Grain-Free Banana Granola {oil-free, no added sugar}

Healthy Oil-Free Granola {vegan, gluten-free}

Fresh Apple Pie Granola (vegan, gluten-free)

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red lentil granola in a white bowl atop a pink and orange napkin

Grain-Free Red Lentil Granola {vegan}


  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 7 (1/2 cup) servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Shake up your breakfast cereal routine with grain-free red lentil granola! It is high in protein & fiber, & frugal too!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/3 cups uncooked split red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom or cinnamon (or spice blend of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea 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. 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

(1) Sadly, brown and green lentils do not work in this recipe. Because they are much thicker (they are not split) than red lentils, they do not become crisp. The result is very unappetizing.

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 271
  • Sugar: 14.1 g
  • Sodium: 137 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: red lentils, granola, grain-free granola, grain-free lentil granola, vegan, gluten-free, frugal

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5-Minute Microwave Mug Granola {easy, vegan, GF} | power hungry

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

[…] Grain-Free Red Lentil Granola {vegan} […]

Healthy Oil-Free Granola {vegan, gluten-free} | power hungry

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

[…] Grain-Free Red Lentil Granola {vegan} […]

Liz

Wednesday 5th of February 2014

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

Camilla

Wednesday 26th of March 2014

Sorry Liz--they are split.

Jessica

Wednesday 15th of January 2014

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!

Camilla

Wednesday 22nd of January 2014

Yay! So glad you like it, Jessica!

Camilla

Wednesday 22nd of January 2014

sounds fantastic, Jessica!

Today’s Juice: Saturday Summer Smoothie | MALA YOGA

Thursday 11th of July 2013

[...] does not a breakfast make. I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. The smoothie was rounded out by a big bowl of red lentil granola with a blend of almond milk and a plain [...]

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