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. Lentils contain a wide range of nutrients and are made up of over 25% protein!
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
1/2 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)
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.
What to call these? They have no sweetening, no flaky butter, and no cheesy flavour (as the mozzarella acts as a binder) so they’re a small quick bread which slices beautifully to top with salted butter, colby cheese, and Culley’s South Carolina Mustard. You can also quite happily top them with a few thinly sliced berries, or chia seed jam (depending on your dietary preferences). So it’s a bit like a UK scone, a bit like an English muffin, and a bit like a USA biscuit; and of course you don’t have to cook them in a muffin pan! For those on Keto – they are also only 4.1g carbs per serve 🙂
100g almond flour
50g coconut flour
2 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
125g sour cream
50g grated mozzarella
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Optional: 2 Tbsp – 1/4c water
Pre-heat oven to 200’C / 390’F and grease muffin trays.
Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, and baking powder in a bowl.
Mix in the eggs, sour cream, and mozzarella.
Add a little water to moisten (this will also impact how moist / dry these are once cooked and cooled).
Allow to sit for 10 – 20 minutes so that the gluten free flours can absorb the moisture.
Add baking soda and vinegar – enjoy the fizz!
Quickly combine and spoon into muffin trays.
Pop into pre-warmed oven. I like to do mine a bit like scones – intense heat at first for the initial rise and then drop the heat for the rest of the cooking; 200’C / 390’F for about 10 mins and then 170’C / 340’F for about 10-15 mins. Use a toothpick to test (it will come out clean once cooked).
Lovely warm. I’ve been pleased with how mine store in both fridge and freezer.
Based on 6 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:
Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, soy free. (can be made nut free by using only flaxseed).
Prepare your coconut oil. It needs to be very soft / liquid BUT you don’t want it to be hot and cook the eggs. Depending on climate, either let it liquify on the bench or warm it in the microwave (then wait for it too cool).
Ideally, beat and froth the eggs / coconut oil first but this will work if you simply combine everything and mix vigorously. You can also choose to fold additional ingredients into the base (i.e. rosemary, pizza thyme, sundried tomatoes, olives).
Allow the mixture to rest. I like to put it in the fridge for 30 minutes but even 5-10 minutes on the bench will see the mixture thicken.
Shape and bake (and decorate!). I like to cook mine in the air fryer (lined with baking paper). I split my dough and shape into two flat breads. If I’m making focaccia, I rub a little olive oil on the top, sprinkle cracked salt over it, and add fresh rosemary from the garden. I bake each one at 200’C (392’F) for 12-14 mins. Once cooked, I allow them to cool and then cut to serve. You could also make one large focaccia bread and bake in the oven.
Based on 4 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:
Whizz the eggs, cream cheese, sugar free syrup, coconut flour, almond flour, and baking powder together until smooth.
In a non-stick frying pan / skillet, melt a small amount of butter over a medium heat. Pour in some of the mixture and watch until it starts to bubble. Flip and cook on the other side (approx. 30 seconds).
Transfer to a plate and repeat!
Tip: If you have the time, you can whizz the pancake ingredients (apart from the baking powder) and let the mixture sit in the fridge for 30-60 mins to thicken; then mix in the baking powder just before cooking.
Based on 3 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:
Serving Size: 1 Serving
Average Quantity per Serving
1018.9 kJ (243 kcal)
Tip: The stated butter is included in the nutritional information; you can of course use more but I find small / medium pancakes cook and flip more easily (whereas excess butter will brown in the pan).
Tip: Although nutritional information is for 3 servings, the recipe makes either 3 medium pancakes or 6 small ones.
Makes two servings @ 10.2 carbs each; if cooking for the family simply scale up the recipe. For keto eaters, this is great served with konjac noodles and green above ground veggies; for gluten free families consider serving with brown basmati rice or wholegrain gf corn chips.
Note: Those on keto can reduce carbs further by making their own spice mix; calculations for this recipe are based on Farrahs Taco Spice Mix.
Note: Bacon seems to mean different things in different countries, in New Zealand bacon has a wide selection so feel free to use whatever you prefer.
Allergies: free from gluten and soy.
Start a small pot of water boiling. Using a spoon, carefully slide in the eggs. Reduce heat to a simmer and set timer. The BBC have a helpful guide on timings; I tend to remove after 6 minutes. Tip: Keep in mind that the yolk will keep setting the hot shell until you peel it.
Start the bacon cooking. If you’re using a frying pan / skillet and on keto than you may wish to use the bacon grease to saute the green beans. I prefer to cook bacon in the air fryer.
Cook your green beans while the bacon is cooking; if you want to boil them (after removing the eggs) they will only take 2-3 mins.
Layer your salad with lettuce, green beans, and tomato. Peel the hardboiled eggs and chop in half. Cut the cooked bacon into strips (or even better, use kitchen scissors and snip it directly onto the salad). Sprinkle over the grated cheese. Drizzle the dressing.
Note: These muffins are sugar free and naturally sweetened by the cream cheese and blueberries. If you prefer them sweeter you could add a little Maple Syrup (either natural, or an alternative like ‘Queen Maple Syrup Flavoured Sugar Free’ to maintain the low carbs).
Tip: For a finer consistency, consider ordering finely milled almond flour online.
Line or grease a 6-serving muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F.
Melt the butter (I use a large pyrex jug in microwave).
Stir in the almond meal. Let it stand for 5-10 mins so that it thickens a little.
Stir in the baking powder, eggs, and cream cheese.
Gently fold in the fresh blueberries and lemon peel.
Spoon into the muffin tin. Bake for 18-22 mins (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Based on 6 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:
Arepa are one of the most popular foods in Colombia. They are often eaten every day and so versatile that they can be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They might be served with rich Colombian hot chocolate; with soft fresh cheese; with guacamole or fresh tomato salsa; with prawns; the possibilities are endless!
There are many recipes for arepas and this is one variant 🙂
An important note for this recipe is that in Colombia they use a special arepa flour (masarepa) which is a precooked fine cornmeal. It can be sourced in New Zealand but it is a speciality item.
If you don’t have access to masarepa, you can use a gluten free substitute; you will need a larger quantity as it will not absorb the liquid in the same way. For instance, 1.5 cups Cornmeal Flour (not to be confused with NZ cornflour) and 1/2 cup gluten free baking flour.
Warm the milk and butter (either in a pot or in a microwave).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk (with dissolved butter) + cornmeal flour + salt + frozen corn + mozzarella. Mix until you have a dough-like batter.
Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into balls and then flatten.
You can choose to: deep fry or lightly fry on a skillet / frying pan; give them a very light coating of oil and cook them in the air fryer (which I did); or even cook them in a panini press. The aim is to be golden crisp on the outside and cooked through. They are best served warm and are delicious eaten straight away.
Line or grease a large spring-form cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F.
I like to keep things simple. Put everything in a big bowl in the order listed EXCEPT the water. Tip: a flour sieve is great for keeping out the lemon pips!
Add 1/4 cup liquid and mix with an electric beater. Slowly keep adding water and mixing until you have a good cake batter consistency.
Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, smooth, and bake for 30-35 mins (or until a toothpick / sharp knife comes out clean).
Sprinkle with a little icing sugar, or whip up a lemon icing for a more lemony flavour.
Tip: I like to eat it warm from the oven and then freeze the rest to pull out as needed.
Tip: For a more lemony flavour, pierce many times with a toothpick when the cake is half cooked. Cover the top of the cake in a thin layer of sugar and squeeze a fresh lemon over the top; then place back in the oven. The lemon syrup will soak into the cake while it continues baking.