Chocolate Muffins with Lentils

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Yes, you read correctly: muffins with lentils! But before I reveal more about this amazing idea for sneaking healthy proteins into your next sweet snack:

Welcome to the New Year! Wishing you all that is good and beautiful for 2015….. which very neatly brings me back to lentils: eating lentils at the beginning of the new year is an Italian custom that associates lentils with prosperity. And although I am in no way Italian, I enjoy symbolic traditions (and lentils). I was searching for a creative new way to prepare them when I stumbled across this recipe, which of course I could not resist. I will admit I was a little doubtful, but (trust me on this) it works!

These muffins are moist, not too sweet, full of flavour (and none of it ‘lentily’) and last but not least they are actually rather healthy: I made them using half whole wheat flour (I have not tried but am sure you can experiment increasing the whole wheat ratio). Also they are made with oil instead of butter. Granted, they contain sugar, but really…… who is going to be thinking about that when they are biting into a muffin that is studded with power packed lentils 😉

I split the batter in to batches to experiment with frozen cherries, blueberries and raspberries. It was a close call, but I slightly preferred the raspberries because of beautiful contrast between the tart fruit and the rich chocolate. Nonetheless I think I will take the same approach next time and making different batches as I liked the variation.  I am sure there are many more options for filling them: chocolate chips and walnuts, half a plum, a strawberry, poached pear…..By the way, I did make some without any fruit, but I found them a little dry and plain in comparison.

But whatever you add, do not leave out the lentils 🙂

(a hardly altered from the blog “Our Fresh Kitchen“)
12 muffins

75g (3/4 cup) green lentils
About 225ml (1 3/4 cup) water
1/2 tsp salt
60g (1/4 cup) all purpose flour
65g (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour
50-60g (1/2 cup) Demerara sugar (NL: donkere basterd suiker DE: dunkeler brauner Zucker)
30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
1 generous tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
125ml (1/2 cup) mild tasting olive oil
2 eggs (see “tips” for vegan alternative)
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g frozen fruit (either half blueberries half raspberries or all of one sort)


  1. Bring lentils, water and salt to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for about 45 min. Check half way through to ensure there is enough water. Cook until lentils are very soft and all the water is absorbed.
  2. When the lentils are done remove from heat and allow to cool slightly about 10 min.
  3. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
  4. Prepare your 12 hole muffin tin(s) (If using a silicon muffin tin no grease is needed otherwise you might want to grease your tin or line it with paper cups).
  5. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients – the two types of flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and – soda as well as the chili flakes.
  6. In a second bowl or measuring cup combine oil, egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  7. Stir the cooked lentils into the dry mix and combine. Then stir in the wet ingredients – the oil, egg and vanilla.
  8. Fold fruit into the batter (even if you are using both types of fruit you can easily use the one large bowl to fold blueberries under half the batter and raspberries under the other half)
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.
  10. Bake for about 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (do not over bake as the muffins will dry out).
  11. Remove the muffins from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  12. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Tips & Variations

  • For a vegan recipe replace the eggs with a mix of 2 tbsp chia seeds and 6 tbsp water that you allow to sit for 5 min until it forms a gel
  • Instead of the berries you can fold in chocolate chips and/or walnuts, half a plum, a strawberry, poached pear

I have linked this post to the novice gardener’s fabulous initiative of hosting fiesta Fridays

    • afracooking said:

      I am always amazed when a food does such a category jump… curious to see what other surprises are out there 

    • afracooking said:

      What amazed me most is that you cannot taste the lentils at all – they just add great texture (and nutrition)

      • That is pretty amazing. That would let that delicious chocolate shine through.

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you, darling x

    • afracooking said:

      I know!! Crazy, right?! But it works. And this experiment got me totally inspired to try some of the recipes for black bean brownies I have been eyeing with suspicion for a while.

  1. Hilda said:

    I really want to try these. Thanks for an original, tasty and nutritious muffin recipe. Can’t have too many of those.

    • afracooking said:

      Glad you like the idea so much! So curious to hear what you think of them – hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes said:

    I love to use legumes in baking too. These muffins look amazing!

    • afracooking said:

      I will have to admit that I was doubtful until now, but I have been converted  I will definitely check your blog for other legume recipes.

  3. I’ve certainly had black bean brownies before, so a lentil Choc muffin doesn’t stray too far from this. Love a raspberry & choc combo regardless. Happy & healthful eating for the new year!

    • afracooking said:

      A totally new world has opened up to me with this idea of adding legumes to my baked goods. Cannot wait to try black bean brownies – exciting!!!!

  4. Wow a lentil in a muffin! Now that’s impressive 🙂 that’s so funny I’m making a post about chocolate cupcakes right now as well! Great minds think alike

    • afracooking said:

      Must head straight over to check out your recipe. Knowing your cooking I am sure your cupcakes also contain some surprising magical ingredient that makes them healthy and tasty at the same time. Hihi: our cupcakes are sure to be like two peas in a pod 😉

  5. I have tried using lentils é chickpeas & white beans in my cakes! Sometimes it works & sometimes it does’t! I will try your tasty looking recipe soon! Promise! x

    • afracooking said:

      A new world is opening up to me here – what a crazy idea that this might work with other legumes as well. I am all excited to try. When you find them time to try these muffins, let me know -I am curious to hear what filling you chose. Enjoy! Hug!

      • I will & I will get back at you! Thanks! x

  6. Liz said:

    Chocolate and Lentils…totally new combination to me but I love the sound of less sugar and moist muffins and of course the addition of cocoa powder. I’ve taken to eating 85% chocolate and I just love it. This is more like adding sweet potatoes or other veggies. Isn’t it?
    Happy New Year. Mine is lazy and slow but I’m finally getting out of my shell, albeit slowly. Enjoy 2015 and looking forward to your posts!

    • afracooking said:

      Always lovely to hear from you. I adore the depth of high percentage chocolate. Mmm a piece of chocolate with a glass of wine – yum!
      I hope you have been enjoying your down-time. That really is what winters are for: a time for resting and restoring. Have to admit I am looking forward to you crawling out of your cocoon and spreading your culinary wings again 🙂 My best wishes for a beautiful and happy year to you as well.

  7. ciao! i say it again…i am inspired…thanks 🙂

    • afracooking said:

      You really are to sweet! Tanti cari saluti

  8. Such a great idea. I see so many people making black bean brownies– why not lentil chocolate muffins? would love to try

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