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