Friday, November 16, 2012

Orange-Lentil Granola

Orange-Lentil Granola
Regular readers, you might have noticed I was absent for a while. A fairly long while, compared to this spring. I was in the middle of another move, and now that I'm settled I hope (plan) to start posting more regularly again. I appreciate your patience and the handful of kind notes I got asking where I'd been.

Shortly after moving to my new place, I discovered a lack of (affordable) stick-with-you / nutrient-dense gluten-free cereals. I'd been spoiled by having a CSA share (sauteed veggies for breakfast most days) and access to cheap(er) cereals over the past year. To compensate, since I'm trying to survive on a really small budget, I started making granola again, and now make it a couple times a week. That much granola can be, well, a little boring.

That's what inspired this vegan, gluten-free granola, which has just a slight hint of orange. I don't like my granola particularly sweet, but if you do, add a little more brown sugar or a hit of agave to it. You might also experiment with the amount of orange you add. I use pure orange oil, so a 1/4 teaspoon works well. One of my testers though, used an orange extract and suggested that 1/2 teaspoon would be more appropriate. It's absolutely fine to taste it before you stick it in the oven, and add more orange flavoring, if you like.

The lentils in this granola add a lovely splash of color and a hint of protein. Soaking the lentils, as I suggest in the recipe (or boiling them for about 5 minutes, and then draining them) is essential. You'll (probably) get really gassy otherwise and they'll definitely crunch a lot when you bite into them. Be sure you use split red lentils.

This would be perfect to make a few days in advance of Thanksgiving, so you don't have to think about it on Black Friday morning, when everyone is feeling possibly-still-a-little-gross from the day before -- or something that you can make a lot of and put in mason jars as gifts for the winter holidays!

If you do decide to make this recipe in larger quantities, I find about 3 cups of oats per baking sheet works pretty well.

Orange-Lentil Granola
1/3 cup red lentils3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water (near boiling)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon pure orange oil

Mix all the dry ingredients ingredients together. Add the hot water and the oils, and mix thoroughly. Allow to rest 30 minutes to an hour (this will start to soften the lentils). Spread the granola mixture on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the oats have turned golden and most are crispy.* Store in an airtight container.

*If some aren't crispy, they'll continue to harden as they dry. As long as the majority of your oats have begun to crisp, and you don't have any huge lumps of granola-cluster, you should be fine.
Orange-Lentil Granola, with dried cranberries

The pictures in this post are courtesy of Nick Clift.

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