Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lentil Apple Muffins

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 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.

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These muffins were a huge hit.  Roman ate four of them in the course of a day.  Maybe it was the allure of the cupcake liners and he thought he was actually eating cake.  (I told him nothing of the sort!) Of course I always feel good giving him a fortified homemade snack like these.  The lentil flavor goes unnoticed - these are just moist, barely sweet muffins with a hint a few nice spices.

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.

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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.  

Lentil Apple Muffins
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.
Makes 12.

2 eggs
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.


12 comments:

  1. Lentils and apples?!?! Wonderful combination!

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  2. I am BIG on pulses, being of ancient Roman decent... and lentils are one of my favorites, because they are so delicate. I wish I would have attended the IACP: I am sure it was wonderful.

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  3. I'm always a proponent of letting cake be cake also....but I have to say that avocado frosting is really tasty! I've also been super intrigued by this idea of putting pulses in baked goods. These muffins sounds like a fabulous place to start!!

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  4. Love the idea of using lentils in this way. Very clever.

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  5. Well, what I wrote about you is spot on. Curious? Come on over to my place and see. Happy Easter!

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  6. Now this is a totally different recipe. A nice way to make a muffin healthier.

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  7. I had heard of the bean brownie trend, but never thought of using lentils in muffins. I trust your opinion so I will be experimenting with this recipe too.

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  8. great way to introduce more protein into the muffin.
    I usually resist "out of the ordinary" ingredients in baking,
    although a friend swears to me that her chocolate-avocado pie is crazy good.

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  9. Hi Nicole. I came by cause I haven't "heard" from you in a while. I hope you're well and everything is okay!
    xoxo

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  10. I just pulled my first attempt out of the oven and they are the best muffins I have ever tasted!Luckily I have a lot of lentils and a lot of apples to use up :D

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  11. Is it possible to substitute agave syrup for the sugar? Thanks!

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