Last weekend I attended the IACP culinary expo here in New York City where I met folks from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. They sent me home with lots of literature and recipes and I was eager to try a few, particularly those that use lentils in inventive ways.
I've noticed a trend on a few food blogs lately to make chocolate cakes and other desserts using beans, or frosting with avocado. While these are innovative ideas, something in me just wants to let cake be cake. Muffins are kind of cake's healthy cousin, so I am always willing to tinker with them.
Pulses (lentils and peas) have been a favorite of the American farmer since the 2002 Farm Bill. More and more acres have been planted every year since. Pulses are as healthy to grow as they are to eat since they replenish soil nitrogen naturally by pulling it from the air. Pulses are now a permanent player in today's sustainable crop rotations. So if you haven't been eating them, April (Earth month) is a good time to start! You'll find more recipes on their website.
For obvious reasons there is always an influence on feeding kids healthy foods. But don't forget that the investment in bodies of all ages is just as important.
This recipe comes from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, but I made a few changes. The original recipe called for canned apple pie mix - I used one shredded apple. I used two eggs instead of one and half the amount of oil that they called for. These keep in an airtight container for at least a day or two.
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup lentil puree (see below)
1 apple, peeled and grated (I've also made these using a grated pear- delicious.)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and lentil puree.
In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry mixtures, then stir in the grated apple.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan (lined with papers or greased) and bake for 15-17 minutes.
To make the lentil puree: rinse and drain 3/4 cup of dry lentils. (I used red.) Bring the lentils to a boil in 2 cups of water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. The longer they cook, the softer they become. Cool and do not drain. Puree in a blender or food processor until the consistency of canned pumpkin. Add water to thin if needed. This renders 2 cups of pureed lentils. You can freeze half for future use.