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Adding lentils to trail mix was a little out there.
Adding lentils to granola is even more so.
Oh ya, I went there. And, I’m so happy I did!
I’d taken the day off yesterday to celebrate my birthday by lounging in the backyard reading a book but instead found myself in the kitchen coming up with what I was sure was going to be my most favorite granola recipe yet.
All of the kitchen windows were wide open, my music was blaring and in the end, I enjoyed a big bowl of homemade granola with bits of mango and crunchy lentils.
Who needs birthday cake when you have homemade healthy granola to indulge in?
The great thing about the mix is that you can’t really tell that there’s lentils in it – perfect for that person in your life that just won’t eat pulses… (cough, Kevin, cough)…
1 cup dried fruit like pear, pineapple, mango, kiwi, or papaya. If you’re cutting up the dried fruit to make smaller bit-sized pieces, coat with a sprinkle of white rice flour to avoid the pieces from sticking to everything.
Preheat oven to 350F and lay sprouted lentils out on a 13×9 baking sheet. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until crunchy. The reason I sprouted the lentils was to make them easier to digest. If you’re concerned with cooking the lentils and loosing the health benefits of the sprout, feel free to dehydrate for 6-8 hours at a temperature of 105F in your dehydrator. Add to the granola after it comes out of the oven. If you don’t want to sprout, no worries, just soak for a couple of hours, drain and cook in the oven at the same temperature for 20-25 minutes.
Place lentils in a large bowl to cool. Using the same baking sheet, spread out quinoa flakes and coconut and toast for 3-4 minutes, until lightly brown.
Add toasted quinoa and coconut to the bowl with the lentils along with rice crisp, puffed amaranth and flax seed.
In a separate smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients then pour over the grain mixture until everything is covered.
Spread the mix over 2 baking sheets and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes watching so that it doesn’t burn. The mixture will still be wet when it comes out. When you let it cool it will harden. Don’t think that the cooking process will harden everything. If you do, you’ll burn the mix.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before adding dried fruit.
Making puffed amaranth yourself is really, really easy. Place a small saucepan on a burner on medium-high heat. Allow to heat up for 5 minutes. Popping 1 tablespoon at a time, put on a pair of oven mitts and drop the amaranth into the heated pot. Cover with the lid, lift the saucepan from the burner and shake it back and forth for 25-30 seconds. At about the 5-8 second mark you’ll begin to hear the grains popping. Keep shaking the saucepan. The popping will get softer as time goes on. Remove the lid, dump the popped grain into a bowl and place the saucepan back on the burner to warm up again. The key to success is to move quickly so that the grain doesn’t burn.
To make with less sugar, reduce honey by 2 tablespoons and replace with nut butter or sunflower seed butter.
Making your own puffed amaranth couldn’t be easier! I like to keep a batch on hand at all times as a quick, high protein snack. Add a bit of protein powder and coconut milk, and you have yourself one delicious cereal!
I’d never tried to toast quinoa flakes before and am not really sure why I tried it with this recipe, but it works. The quinoa takes on a whole new flavor. You have to try it!
Try not to snack too much on the dry ingredients. It’ll be hard to resist the urge and even more challenging once the wet mix is added in.
But no one said anything about licking the bowl afterward!
Adding cardamom to the wet mix was a great idea but it didn’t exactly make for the most appealing granola mixture. I was a bit concerned at this point and hoped the muddy color of the mix would disperse once it was mixed in with everything.
While my mix was baking, I set up the shoot for the granola, lost track of time, and burned the first batch.
Lesson – keep a close eye on your granola while it’s cooking!
Yummy, crunchy, high in protein and deliciously homemade.
Makes me wonder… what else could I add lentils to?
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