Green lentils are not the sexiest member of the legume family. They are brownish greenish in color and earthy in aroma and taste. My girls pointed the aroma out to me more than once this past weekend when I was cooking up the lentils for this recipe. “Mom, what is that horrible smell!” I didn’t really notice. I like lentils. Who doesn’t like that 1 cup of these buggers provides 16 grams of fiber, 17 grams of protein, folate, magnesium and vitamin B6? Green lentils may not be the supermodels of the food world, but they certainly are a superfood!
I didn’t start experimenting with lentils until 2010, when I wanted to enter the National Lentil Festival Cook-Off. I created two recipes: a salad and a breakfast bar. Neither were winners in the contest. After the fact, I noticed the breakfast bar recipe I had submitted had glaring errors, so I corrected, adjusted and doubled the recipe to meet our needs. Ever since, the breakfast bar has become a favorite of friends and family. It’s a tasty, moist bar that is packed with protein and fiber. I make a double batch of the bars, individually wrap and freeze them. You can take one out of the freezer the night before to have with your coffee in the morning, my favorite way! Or you can throw one in your bag on the way out the door in the morning to have a healthy breakfast or snack on the go!
I created a new flavor of lentil breakfast bar recently. It’s a vegan version with pumpkin, pecans, coconut, coconut oil and dark chocolate. A friend requested some vegan recipes for the blog. So this one is for you Karen!! I hope you like it (and I hope it’s properly vegan!)
For both recipes you need to start with cooked lentils. They only take about 20 minutes to cook and they don’t need any presoaking like other legumes. Just simmer them in water. I like to do them ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator. One cup of uncooked lentils yields about 2-2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils.
Peace, Love & Lentil, Cranberry and Ginger Breakfast Bars:
Gather your wet and dry ingredients, your “add-ins” and your lentils.
Mix the dry ingredients with the add-ins. Combine the lentils with the wet ingredients. Stir both together.
Spread in a pan that is greased and lined with two layers of foil across the wide side of the pan. Leave the excess foil hanging over the side of the pan. This will make for easy removal of the bars. Once cool, you can lift the entire batch to a cutting board. Ever have trouble neatly cutting nutty, chewy bars like these? Try an electric knife. Works like a charm! Add a little drizzle of white chocolate. YUM!
Peace, Love & Lentil, Pumpkin and Coconut Breakfast Bars:
For this version of the lentil breakfast bars I swapped out the butter for coconut oil. I substituted the applesauce and the eggs for pumpkin, exchanged the almonds for pecans and added some flaked coconut. I also switched the drizzle from white chocolate to dark chocolate. This version is vegan and super delicious!! I keep going back and forth trying to decide which is my favorite! I’d love to hear which you like best!!
Once they cool and the chocolate has set, I wrap them individually in waxed paper and store them in a zip top bag in the freezer. They don’t take long to thaw, so they are great to grab & go!