Beach Bum Lentil Trail Mix (nut-free)

My little sister, Christina, and I couldn’t be more different.

When she went outside to rough house with the boys, I stayed home and played barbies. Her room was green, mine was hot pink. I wore dresses, she despised them.

When my Mom would bring home treats from the grocery store; like a carrot cake, pie, or cookies, Christina would hold on to her portion for weeks. I’d polish mine off in a day then beg her to share, but she’d always refuse. She held on to those darn cookies for weeks until they’d get stale, moldy, or the dog stole them.

Hoarding precious things didn’t end there. She did the same to a family of fresh clams that she found on the beach when we were vacationing on Vancouver Island. The smell in the cabin got so bad that we had to switch places. My poor parents. I can only imagine what they had to pay to fix that mess.

I can proudly say that I never got into the habit of hiding fresh seafood in my dresser drawers.

Out of all of our differences, we did have one thing in common, snacks. Crackers with butter, cheez whiz and pickles, and; our favorite, homemade trail mix. Nothing got us more excited than a good trail mix.

During the summer months when Mom would stock the house with an unlimited supply of sugary garbage, we’d make our classic summer time mix. It consisted of craisins, candied pineapple, sugar cereal like cinnamon toast crunch, M&Ms, and roasted nuts. We rocked that sugary mix at the beach, our epic bike rides, summer camp, and everything in between.

I was reminded of our trail mix adventures the other day and decided to take a healthy crack at our old favorite.

This new mix is the grown up version of our summer original, beach bum style. Lentils add a healthy dose of protein and fiber, and I opted for seeds instead of nuts to be softer on my digestion. All in all, this is a trail mix anyone can feel good about eating!

Inspired by: Three Many Cooks

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Beach Bum Lentil Trail Mix
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
Lentils add a healthy dose of protein and fiber to this beach inspired healthy trail mix. It's a snack anyone can feel good about eating!
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup diced dried apricots
  • ½ cup diced dried pineapple chunks
  • 1 teaspoon white rice flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  1. Soak lentils in 4 cups of water in a medium bowl for 4-6 hours. The longer you soak, the less chance the lentils will cause gas or bloating when you eat them.
  2. When the lentils are ready, preheat oven to 350F, drain and rinse them really well before spreading across a 13x9 rimmed baking sheet and sprinkling with salt.
  3. Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes, or until lentils are crisp and crunchy. When complete, allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, dice the dried apricots and pineapple chunks. Place in a bowl or on a large cutting board and add the rice flour, just a pinch at a time. Toss the fruit in the flour until the pieces are coated and no longer sticky where they've been cut.
  5. Mix lentils with remaining ingredients and transfer to an airtight container for your next day at the beach!

    I was forced to raid bulk barn for every last ingredient to make this recipe. Perusing isle upon isle of bulk bins for the perfect trail mix additions is one awesome way to spend a Friday afternoon, I tell ya!

    The lentils baked up really crispy. I could have just stopped the recipe right here and chowed down on the baked lentils. Who needs the dried fruit?

    My favorite part were the natural clusters.

    I feel a lentil granola coming on. Would that be weird?

    The pineapple and apricot pieces were too large, so I chopped them up and covered them in rice flour. Just a little is all you need and it instantly removes the stickiness so the ingredients wont clump together.

    I taste tested a couple half dozen handfuls just to make sure the mix was perfect. A bit of extra dried fruit here, a couple seeds there…

    I was skeptical at first but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It just works!

    Like really, really, really works. The salty, the sweet, healthy fats, loads of protein and fiber. You’d think this mix was actually good for your health but it sure doesn’t taste like it ;)

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    Comments | Leave Your Comment

    1. Very cute memories about you and your sister. My brothers and I are all SO different but have little pieces of each other as well. And oh memories of huge bags of trailmix, whoever got their hands on it first would inevitably cherry pick through for all the chocolate and leave all the pretzels haha.

    2. This is a really creative idea! I would have never thought to use lentils in a trail mix! This may be a silly question, but what is the difference between red lentils and green lentils? And ohh dried pineapple. That stuff is dangerous. Just like candy, it’s so good! Have a great day!

      • Success! I finally made this today and it’s fantastic! I’m blown away by the lentils. They’re delicious. This will be perfect for work this week.

        I had a really hard time finding dried fruits that weren’t sugar sweetened and affordable, so I improvised. I purchased and dehydrated bananas and apples, and added some unsweetened raisins. I love that the recipe is versatile. I still want to try your original recipe, but I love that I can add whatever dried fruit I already have on hand.

      • I know it’s weird, right? But I swear you don’t even taste them. They just add a bunch of crunch and salty goodness.

    3. Love the idea of using lentils! I don’t usually go for trail mixes, but this sounds too good to pass up! And lentil granola – I say try it! It’s probably fantastic.

    4. Yeah, please try the lentil granola and if it works, post the recipe! That’s something I’d love to try!

    5. Wow this sounds great! I would have never thought of using lentils in trail mix :) Great recipe!

    6. This sounds so interesting. I love lentils, but would never think about using it this way.
      Aren’t they hard to digest just eating like this?
      I think the lentil granola idea is awesome, not weird at all, and I would totally make it if you shared a recipe with us :-)
      And I will definitely try the trail mix too!

      • Thanks, Ana! The longer you soak the lentils, the easier they’ll be on your digestion. I did it for 6 hours but I’m sure you could do it longer, probably up to 24 hours. If you wanted to boost it up even more, you could soak, sprout, then dehydrate. My original plan was to try this but I got impatient.

    7. Love the idea of using lentils instead of nuts. You are brilliant Leanne!
      I also loved reading about your sister. So cute. I have two sisters, I am the middle-child and we are so different in so many ways, but we do have our similarities, too.

    8. Wow, I never thought to cook lentils like this – sounds awesome!

      I totally stand by your lentil granola idea – not weird at all :) Do it!

    9. I just made this and it’s very good. Interesting texture. The lentils, eaten alone, taste a little bit like toasted garbanzos, but milder. The pineapple and cranberries are great in it. It’s something you can enjoy chewing for awhile, which is good because it’s pretty concentrated. It doesn’t need nuts, but I added some dry-roasted almonds and they worked well. It’s beautiful to look at in the jar, too. Yes.

      • Hi there – this looks interesting. I have dried brown lentils – any idea how that would affect the taste? I’ve never cooked lentils, got the brown to experiment. This seems like a yummy experiment!

        • Hmm I’m not sure brown lentils would work as they’re larger. You could cook them fully, then roast them a bit, then use them in this recipe!

    10. Super cute you guys :)
      I never ever used lentils in snack bite like the way you did. It sure does sounds very interesting and I am super curious to give this a attempt!

    11. This is one of your best posts ever…the beautiful sister-love story…the beautiful photography of your painterly palette trail mix (anxiously anticipating the much-requested granola variant) …your writing…format …everything simply “clicked” in this offering…bravo!

      I think the color explosion in clear glass would be a definite WIN for gift-giving as well!

      I was the dress/barbie fan while my identical twin sis cut out pictures of football heroes from Sports Illustrated and spent hours perfecting her passing technique outside with the neighborhood boys…but we both loved salt and crunch!..I was “Wheat Thins”…she was “Triscuits”…and we both loved pickles…

      Thank you for sharing your memories..offered with taste and love…it reminds one that our personal histories are important and weave the fiber of who we eventually become…of who we are. Thank you as well for providing us with the creative recipes and nutritional advice to keep that “who we are” healthy AND satisfied. If tastebuds could do a happy dance…

    12. This is exactly what I love about you! Who would think to put lentils in a trail mix, and then actually make it delicious! Great going on a super creative recipe! Can’t wait to try it! And about the lentil granola…I say go for it!!:)

    13. You and your sister are so cute! How creative are you using lentils in a trail mix? I love it! Baking them to crispiess is a great idea. I’ve made savory snack mixes before using sprouted, dehydrated lentils and seeds. This looks so easy and yummy. Can’t wait to try this!

      • Thanks Mikelle! We’re often told we look nothing alike. It worked really great for us when we were younger. We got in all sorts of trouble!

    14. I’m a huge fan of lentils, particularly red lentils, this is such a lovely idea. Thank you for the pictures & recipe, looks yummilicious!

    15. Hi Leanne! This Lentil Trail Mix sound awesome! The only problem.. as great as they are for you, lentils don’t settle too well in my stomach.. any ideas of what to replace them with in this recipe but still keeping the high nutritional profile?

      Thanks :)

      • Are you okay with chickpeas? If so, you could grab some chana dhal (split chickpeas) and soak them for 24 hours, then sprout them using this tutorial: once they’re sprouted, dry them in the oven at the lowest temperature setting, then add them to the mix. Hope that helps!

    16. My sister and I are quite similar to the two of you, except she was the one with the barbies… I <3 red lentils, but never would have thought of something like this… you're way outside the box! I feel a cookbook coming on…

    17. love this recipe, thank you for sharing. lentils are often forgotten amongst the oats. i’m all for high protein! as i am slightly diabetic, i just have a hard time finding the sugar free fruit at the grocery store. why does sugar have to be added to everything?

    18. I never would have thought to cook lentils like this…I just cooked them up and ate a (huge) handful…so good! They almost remind me of eating the unpopped popcorn kernels at the bottom of the bowl.

    19. I am loving this trail mix so much it’s ridiculous !
      I put it on my oats in the morning and have also sprinkled it on ice cream !
      Please make a granola recipe !

    20. I am a trail mix lover as well – it’s actually part of reason my blog is named Eating Bird Food. :)

      I’m going to the beach this weekend and I’m pretty sure I need a batch of this trail mix to take with me. It sounds awesome.

      • The beach? You lucky lady, you! I figured that was part of your blog name. Every time I think of ‘bird food’ I think trail mix and granola. Enjoy your time out in the sunshine!

    21. I made this trail mix before I went camping throughout the U.S. (grand canyon, nevada.. ect.) It was delish! Thank you for the wonderful idea. I’ll be adding red lentils to all of my nut mixes!

      • Sounds like a great trip, Ashley. I’ve always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, what any experience!

    22. Well finally with all the moving/business got around to making this smart recipe…just love your looks like jewels!

    23. Just made a batch of these using whatever dried fruit and seeds I had on hand. They are soooo good! I’ll be making them again and again! Thanks for the recipe :)

    24. I have been searching forever for a trail mix or granola that our family could eat. My daughter is severely allergic to all nuts, peanuts and sesame seeds. We can never buy a premade one and I haven’t been able to make one that still appeals to me and my 3 year old. I made this last night…soooooooo good. I have to resist eating it all at once! Thank you! Love this sight

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