possibly a worlds first: lentil granola!

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As much as I love the internet, sometimes it can spoil all the fun. Especially if you have an idea, only to discover it’s been well and truly done before.

So earlier in the year, when I had the (I like to think) brilliant idea to make a Slow Carb and gluten-free version of granola using lentils, I decided not to do any internet searches on the subject.

Mostly because I wanted to believe, just for a little while, that I had been the first person in the world to think of lentil granola.

So I set about experimenting to create ‘possibly’ the worlds first legume-based granola. The perfect recipe proved elusive.

First there were the ‘Puy’ or French-style lentils that tasted way too earthy for breakfast. Then there was the ‘psyllium effect’. Let’s just say, I won’t make that mistake again.

Happily, the ‘Goldilocks’ of lentil granola came my way.

Using mild flavoured, pretty red lentils, simmered briefly and then sweetened with honey and cinnamon. We have a winner!

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lentil granolalentil granola2

lentil granola
makes about 3 cups

Don’t be tempted to add psyllium to the wet granola mixture, it binds up the moisture and makes the texture really gummy and weird. Add oat bran or psyllium to the cooked and cooled granola if you’re looking for a higher fiber breakfast.

And I did try making this with Puy or French-style lentils. It was edible, but only just. Very very lentily and earthy in flavour. Red lentils work much, much better here.

250g (9oz) red lentils
100g (3.5oz) honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon or vanilla extract
200g (7oz) raw almonds
50g (2oz) shaved coconut

1. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Add lentils and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender but still ‘al dente’.

2. Drain lentils and spread out on a tray. Allow to steam dry and cool. Preheat your oven to 150C (300F).

3. Combine honey, cinnamon or vanilla and 2 tablespoons macadamia or olive oil in the saucepan you used to cook the lentils. Toss the cooled lentils in the honey mixture.

4. Spread the coated lentils on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

5. Stir and add almonds. Keep baking for another 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

6. When the granola has been baking for an hour add coconut and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until everything is browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.

regular granola – If lentils aren’t your thing and you’d prefer a more normal oat based granola, just replace the lentils with about 375g (3/4lb) rolled oats. And skip the boiling step.

nut-free - either skip the almonds or replace with sunflower seeds or pepitas or both.

different additives – almond and coconut are my favourite, but feel free to add in your own favourite granola flavourings. Seeds are good as are other nuts like pecans or macadamias.

chocolate for breakfast – toss in a few handfuls of cocoa nibs into the cooled granola.

higher fiber – toss in a few handfuls or oatbran in with the cooked and cooled lentils, or add psyllium to the finished product.

sweeter – I’ve kept the sugar to a minimum here. If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to increase the honey or stir some brown sugar in with the cinnamon. I’ve also used stevia to boost the sweetness with great results.


video version of the recipe


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