Lentil Granola

by - January 16, 2017

So, this looks like granola, right?
But! If you look closely you will notice that it doesn't quite look as, well, oat-y, as granola would. Why? Well, my pals, this baby is made up of red lentils.

I have always wanted to make an oat free granola. Not because I don't like oats. I LOVE OATS. I consume more oats than anyone I know (mainly in the form of granola, ofc). However, I know lots of people don't. I have many gluten-free followers (whom I love and I would like to apologise to for my 100% gluten filled bread obsession), and some people don't eat grains.

*Side note: Oats are gluten free, but may be contaminated if they aren't certified gluten free, so many people who do not eat gluten avoid regular oats. If you aren't allergic, though, oats are fine! It depends on your personal preferences really, eat some regular granola if you are happy with oats. Otherwise, try this recipe! Try this recipe ANYWAY, it's pretty cool.*

Because this is made of red lentils (bae #02 after oats), it's extraaaa high in protein. Which is why I finished 90% of my first batch after the gym (granola>yucky protein powder). Jokes, I don't lift. Have you seen these arms? Here's a pic.
*true story*
Grain free granola is often just a trail mix of nuts and coconuts. And there is nothing wrong with that! Trail mix is FAB. But sometimes you want something with a bit more substance that will fill you up a bit more. I never feel full by eating just nuts/seeds.

Anyway! Granola! This is going to take a bit more work than my super simple oat granolas. It tastes earthy but not weirdly savoury as you MIGHT expect it to be. I promise you this will NOT be a oddly sweet dhal recipe.

For those of you wondering, you can't really use any other kind of lentil in this. Red lentils have the perfect texture and mildness to work in this, nothing else will!

Red Lentil Granola
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 tbsp of you fav liquid sweetener (agave/maple syrup/brown rice syrup etc)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of you favourite seeds or nuts (optional)
1/2 cup of your favourite dried fruit (I used raisins, obviously. Because I am currently too poor to buy mulberries or goji berries post-uni-fees)

Place the rinsed and drained lentils into a saucepan with boiling water. Boil until lentils until al dente, they should still have a good bite to them without being raw, about 5 minutes. Drain them as well as possible (I used a sieve and jiggled it about A LOT to get the water to drain). Spread them out on a baking tray and leave them to cool become less steamy and a bit more dry. Leave this for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C. Place the agave (or equivalent) into a mixing bowl with the spices, and stir it well. Pour in the cooled lentils and stir to coat everything evenly. Give the baking tray a quick rinse and dry, and line it with parchment or a silpat liner. Spread out your 'granola' in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes. Take it out, stir it about and spread it out again and bake another 15 minutes. Do this again after 10 minutes. Add in the nuts, if using, and then back in the oven for the last 10 minutes. It should take 40 minutes in total. You really want to get them properly crispy and dry, because soggy and soft granola is no fun!
Once it is done the granola should be a beautiful golden colour and smell like christmas (mostly bc cinnamon). I like to turn the oven off, leave the door ajar and cool the granola in the oven, just to make sure it's properly dry. Once it is nice and cool, stir in your dried fruit and place in an airtight container. Enjoy it just as you would any granola, on soy yogurt/almond milk/with a spoon/your hands straight out of the jar. I am v guilty of the last one *no shame no regrets*.

You can play around with the spices, swapping it out for cacao powder or matcha, for example. You can be a bit more daring with cardamom, maybe. Add in a tablespoon or two of a nut butter into the mix before baking, if you <3 PB (who doesn't?). Go crazy!

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