At this time of the year, the idea of doing something with lots of seeds always comes to mind. The potential within as a new cycle begins is one of the themes of Imbolc. A quick search around the house revealed, Brown Mustard , Black Sesame, Caraway, and Celery seeds along with the ones already in the recipe below. To celebrate Imbolc, I gathered a teaspoon of each and added them to the mix. Take a look around your kitchen. You might be surprised by the number of seeds you already have on hand.
That said, this is a very versatile recipe which allows for wide variety of substitutions and additions.
Lentils (also technically a seed) are a nutritionally dense legume, low in sodium and saturated fat, while high in potassium, fiber, folate, and polyphenols. Canada is the largest producer of lentils and it may be best to consider choosing the organic option as we also allow a high residue level of the pesticide, glyphosate.
I have been playing with red lentils for a couple of weeks, looking for an alternative for all-purpose flour. Not a “for all things” substitute but a way to get more nutrition into daily living. The recipe below is based on several Turkish recipes as lentils are popular around the Mediterranean. This recipe was baked in a square pan but I also tried the recipe as muffins. More on that adventure also below.
The one thing needed when thinking about baking with red lentils is to plan ahead and soak them in water overnight or start first thing in the morning when baking is scheduled for late afternoon.
3/4 cup red lentils
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 -4 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1/2 – 1 tsp. finely chopped dill (optional)
1/2 tsp. chai seeds
1/2 tsp. flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
smoked paprika (optional)
With appreciation for the returning spring, start by washing your hands. Stop for a moment and create a change of space. While warm, soapy, water flows off your fingers and down the spout, let the bubbles carry your bothers away. Come into the present moment and hold a place of gratitude for the bounty available to you. Begin.
Brush a square 8×8 or 9×9 inches glass baking form with olive oil. Leave the brush with the pan as the oil will flow to the bottom and a swirl around again before adding the batter will help the finished “bread” come away from the pan.
Drain the lentils and rinse under clear water until the water leaving the sieve looses that milky quality.
Place the lentils in a blender and pulse several times before opening the container and scraping down the sides. Repeat as many times as needed until the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the bowl about half the mixture and place it in a mixing bowl large enough to contain all the ingredients in the recipe.
Into the remaining lentils add the olive oil, eggs, yoghurt and feta cheese, seeds and salt. Pulse to mix well. Remember to add any of the extra additional options you happen to have on hand.
The original Turkish version includes fresh parsley and dill. If you would like small pieces add the herbs now and pulse again.
Option two is to wait until everything is combined and then add the herbs if you would prefer larger pieces.
The mixture in the food processor will be lighter and liquidy (yup, we will call it a word). Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the original lentils and combine with a spatula. The mixture will thicken a little as the two portions are combined.
Add the washed and chopped herbs if not already done and sprinkle the baking powder over the top before mixing everything together by hand.
Make sure there are no baking powder lumps in the mix. The baking powder will activate fairly quickly.
Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), white sesame seeds and any other seeds you would like. For this Imbolc version, I like to use seeds that will show up once baked, ones that are a little darker.
Bake for 30 minutes, test with a knitting needle or toothpick and bake an extra five minutes if needed. Remove to a cooling rack until cool.
There is a tendency in non wheat flour baking, with ingredients like almond flour and lentils, for crumbling. For that reason cooling is important to build stability.
The red lentils and egg do not combine the same way that flour and eggs will so you may find you are more aware of the eggs as you bite into your first slice but I find that that awareness goes away as it cools.
My other observation is that clean up takes a little extra attention as the batter tends to stick to things.
Half this recipe makes 9 muffins that will need about 18 minutes of baking time.
As mentioned, the baking powder is active, so be ready with sprinkles and get them into the oven as quickly as possible. I have make them with paper cups and oiled forms.
The oiled muffins released with a knife around the edges when cool.
The one option that did not work were silicone cups both with and without oil. I would suggest keeping them in the cupboard for other adventures.
Store any leftovers in the fridge and take them out at least 15 minutes before serving. They will be firm and the time will allow the pieces to warm up and soften. Frozen sections have thawed nicely and still been moist.
I have also baked this batter in ramekins and used the buns for turkey burgers.