I'm excited to be sharing this recipe with you today as my entry for the #LoveLentils Star of the Show contest with Canadian Lentils and Chef Michael Smith. I've created a video where I share the reasons why I love lentils and I'd love it if you checked it out and shared it on social media using the hashtag #LoveLentils!
Need more delicious breakfast ideas? Try these pretty Pomegranate Granola Parfaits or this Skinny Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole!
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When I think about why I love lentils, it all comes back to my kids. As a mom of two young ones, one of my most important responsibilities is to prepare nutritious food for my kids every single day, all the while teaching them about the nutritional value of the food we eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect our health and well-being.
I know it sounds a little crazy to be talking with preschoolers about this kind of thing, but if you could only be at the dinner table with our family when my 3-year-old starts explaining to her dad which of the foods on her plate contain protein... It's quite a sight to see a little child choosing nut butter over jam, or blueberries over cake because she already knows which are the healthier choices!
These are my 'super-mom' moments but let me assure you, we still have a long way to go. Like the times she complains about having to eat dinner because she'd rather have a "snack" instead...whatever that means! Or when she asks what we're having for dinner and quickly adds, "but not chicken, right mommy?"
I love cooking with lentils because they're a great inexpensive source of protein, and because lentils are plant-based they're also low in fat and high in fibre. They're basically a superfood and as I've been learning more and more about health and nutrition over these last few years, I regret all the years I ignored these little guys.
Since I'm a mom and a food blogger, creativity has to be the name of my game if I want my kids to learn how to eat a healthy diet. The versatility of lentils is a HUGE win for me because they shine in almost any dish! They're perfect in dips, spreads and appetizers, they add a delicious smooth texture to pureed soups and a rich, nutty flavour in stews, curries, and stir fry, and they're even great in baked goods like muffins, cakes or brownies.
Since breakfast is always a challenge in our house with our busy schedules, I wanted to find a way to add lentils into our breakfast routine. After a lot of experimentation, I've come up with a delicious dessert-inspired, lentil-packed breakfast granola that you are going to love! It's easy to make and it's full of nutrition for the whole family!
Red Lentil Carrot Cake Granola (serves 12)
1 cup red split lentils + 2 cups water
3 cups large flake oats (gluten free oats work great here too!)
1 cup grated carrot
3 tbsp canola oil
5 tbsp liquid honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse the red lentils well under some cool water and then add them to a small pot with 2 cups of water. Watch for the water to come to a simmer and let the lentils simmer for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Remove them from the water as soon as they reach the al dente stage. You'll want them to be cooked but not completely soft.
While the lentils are cooking, add the oats, grated carrots, spices, honey, canola oil and salt to a large bowl. Toss everything together well.
Once the lentils are cooked, strain them well and gently pat them dry with a piece of kitchen paper towel.
Add them to the bowl with the oat mixture and toss well until the lentils are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture and well coated in the honey and canola oil.
Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper or your favourite baking mat and pour the granola mixture out onto the baking sheet. Spread the mixture out as evenly as possible and pop it in the oven!
Bake the granola for about 35-40 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent over-browning. A few minutes before you pull it out of the oven the last time, stir in the coconut flakes and the raisins so they bake with the mixture for no more than 5 minutes. This will allow them to absorb some of the flavours without becoming overly chewy.
Feel free to enjoy some of this Red Lentil Carrot Cake Granola right out of the oven while it's warm, or let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet before adding it to a large airtight container for storage to enjoy later. It keeps well for about a week in a large mason jar in the pantry, although it's so delicious I doubt there will be any left after a week goes by!!
Our favourite way to enjoy this delicious granola is on top of some fat-free Greek yogurt, or in a parfait! My kids love it (as you can see in the video I shared!), and as a mom I love knowing they're enjoying a healthy snack that's good for their growing bodies and minds.
It's also great to eat with your favourite milk in the morning (almond milk, coconut milk, etc.) which is how my husband enjoys his.
Like this recipe? You'll love my Chocolate Coconut Granola or this delicious Blueberry Pumpkin Seed Granola!
This Red Lentil Carrot Cake Granola is 8 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving (the recipe makes 12 large servings!), so it's a great healthy choice for breakfast or a snack!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please check out my #LoveLentils video on YouTube and if you like it, give it a thumbs up and share it on social media using the hashtag #LoveLentils!
Love this lentils-inspired recipe? Check out this Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Honey Curry Chickpeas and Coconut Cream!