Yup, you read that right – I put lentils in my granola bar. Don’t make that face! You can’t judge until you try them, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I wanted to make something easy with the ingredients I have on hand., I really wasn’t in the mood to run out to the store. I just bought a bag of red lentils at a Turkish Grocery in Brighton and I love eating lentils in dishes like curries, stews, salads and red lentil hummus. So I thought why not granola bars with lentils? After browsing a few recipes, I didn’t have all the ingredients for one single recipe. So I made up my own and I love it! My friends liked it too!
1 cup dried red lentils
2 – 2 1/4 cups gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup cashew butter (or other nut butter, such as almond butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or other dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins)
3/4 cup chopped almonds* (or other nuts and seeds, such as pecans or peanuts)
1/2 cup chocolate or carob chips (I used gluten & dairy free Enjoy Life)
3 tablespoon honey (or other sweetener, such as agave or stevia syrup)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1- 2 tablespoons 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
*The Almonds give the bars a nice crunch – don’t chop them as small as I did, they loose the crunch. If you like crunchier bars – like me- add even more nuts or use a granola or puffed rice cereal, something that’ll give it more crunch (again, I wish I had done this). You can add up to 2.5 cups of extras (nuts, seeds, dried fruits). My recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups extras.
Start by cooking your lentils. Rinse 1 cup of dried lentils. Once the lentils have been rinsed, place in large pot and add two cups of water, and bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat oven to 275 F.
Transfer lentils to a bowl and mash with a fork (they may already be slightly mushy as red lentils don’t hold their shape as well when cooked). Let cool slightly. Add the oats, coconut flakes, almonds, chocolate chips, coconut flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together.
If you like sweeter granola bars, add more honey or sweetener of your choice. I would start with 1 tablespoon and taste the mixture first, adding more if desired.
Line an 9×13 square baking pan (or 8×8 if you want thinker bars) with wax paper (optional, you do not need this). Transfer lentil mixture to the pan and press with your hands into an even layer. Bake at 275 F for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, cut into bars, wrap each one individually and keep refrigerated or frozen.