I spend a lot of time thinking about food. It’s a consequence of having an autistic daughter with multiple food allergies, intolerances, and self-restricted eating. At the moment beige and crunchy is popular; meat of any kind is not and calcium is also problematic. I decided that sardine cookies would probably not go down well and decided to turn my attention to lentils instead. Lentils contain a wide range of nutrients and are made up of over 25% protein.
I wanted to make something that tasted decadently chocolatey but without a lot of added sugar and minimizing ingredients that are common allergies. It can easily be adjusted to make it suitable for any food restrictions in the family, daycare, or school.
Healthy heart Chocolate Fudge Brownies
- 2 x 400g tin lentils (approx. 2 cups of drained lentils)
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup rice bran oil
- 1/2 cup almond meal + 1/2 cup fine rice flour
- (or substitute 1 cup plain flour)
- 1 cup dutch cocoa
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- Optional: 90g pureed green vegetables (spinach, peas, courgette)
Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, soy free, peanut free.
What type of lentils to use?
There are many types of lentils and many online recipes suggest using red lentils. This is probably because they are split, skinless, and can have a sweet nutty flavour. To be honest, I went with what what was affordable and convenient – tins of brown lentils!
How can I replace egg?
I used egg as I wanted the protein but for an egg free alternative, you could pre-soak the chia seeds in 6 Tbsp boiling water for 15-20 minutes or use something like Orgran’s Egg Replacer.
- Put oven on to pre-heat to 180’C / 375’F. Grease your brownie tray (I use rice bran oil).
- Rinse lentils thoroughly. The lentils will need to be cooked and their cooking time is going to depend on what form you’re using (i.e. dried lentils will need to be simmered for 15-20 minutes).
- Put the kettle on to boil while you chop up the dates (the measurement of 1 cup is after they’ve been cut up).
- The dates need to be soaked in boiling water until soft. Personally, I took a big pyrex dish, put in my (rinsed) soft brown tinned lentils + my roughly chopped dates + a small amount of water. I then put it in the microwave on High for 2 minutes, stirred, and then put back in the microwave for another 2 minutes.
- Pour the hot date / lentil mix into a food processor and blend till smooth.
- A metal blade is ideal for smoothness but then you’ll need to change to a plastic blade (or wooden spoon) for combining the rest; if you’re not worried about a perfect puree then you can just use a plastic blade throughout.
- Mix in sugar and maple syrup. Taste test for sweetness.
- Note: instead of sugar, you could just use 1/3 cup maple syrup. The dates will also add natural sweetness.
- Mix in egg and oil.
- Mix in almond meal, rice flour, dutch cocoa, salt, baking powder, chia seeds, and any optional ingredients. (I went for green veggies, someone else might go for chopped walnuts).
- Bake for 30-35 mins.
The gluten free version comes out as a soft, fudgey, chocolate slice; with normal flour it will probably be higher and a bit firmer. Blind taste testing by neighbour was successful both for approval rating and not guessing the lentils.
Recommended topping: a spoonful of Nature’s Charm Coconut Chocolate Fudge Sauce. It tastes amazing while also being vegan, dairy free, and soy free.