Crunchy, seasoned, roasted lentils are an addictive snack! Season them with nutritional yeast and some basic seasonings, pop them in the oven, and in no time you’ve got crunchy roasted lentils you can’t stop eating. Best of all, they’re virtually fat free. If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama I know that makes you happy! UPDATE: works with regular lentils, too!
I was at TJ Maxx one day, scoping out their fancy gourmet food section (I find awesome stuff there frequently) and came across some “crunchy roasted lentils.” Intrigued, I purchased them.
While they’re a crunchy, low-fat snack packed with protein and fiber, I found them almost stale-tasting and rather thirst provoking. However, they were great tossed onto a salad for some crunch.
Of course, I thought “I wonder if I can make them better myself…”
The purchased crunchy roasted lentils were either green or brown lentils. But, being a huge fan of red lentils, I decided I must experiment with those.
What Do I Need For This Recipe?
Of course, you can season them any way you like. But, here’s my simple, tasty seasoning for these yummy crunchy roasted lentils.
- Soaked red lentils
- Olive oil, avocado oil or other healthy oil of choice
- Nutritional yeast
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Pink Himalayan salt or other high-mineral salt
- Turmeric optional
- Black pepper
Feel free to add some spicy pepper if you want something spicy. Or, add other seasonings or herbs as desired.
Why Soaked Red Lentils and Not Cooked?
Red lentils don’t hold their shape when cooked like other varieties of lentils. They pretty much explode when you cook them, which makes roasting them in the oven a bit difficult.
So, soaking dry lentils overnight is key. It also helps neutralize phytic acid, making them easier to digest and more nutritious.
Simply put your lentils into a bowl and cover with an inch or two of cold water. Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours for maximum nutrition benefits. 1 scant cup of dry lentils should give you 2 cups soaked.
After the soaking period, drain and rinse them and allow them to drain a bit.
I also like to spread them out on a kitchen towel and use another towel on top to dry them as much as possible.
Can I Use Other Lentils?
Yes, you can! I experimented with regular brown lentils, both soaked and cooked. There’s virtually no difference between them in flavor or texture.
I do think the regular lentils seem more light when roasted, as compared to red lentils. They are very crunchy and almost more crispy than crunchy.
Soaked VS Cooked.
If you prefer your lentils soaked, then soak them and skip the cooking step. If you don’t remember to soak them or don’t care if they are soaked or not, cook your lentils until just soft.
My soaked lentils took 5 minutes to reach that tenderness after coming to a slight boil. Unsoaked lentils may take a bit longer. You just don’t want them mushy, of course.
Either way, drain soaked or cooked lentils well before seasoning. Then divide lentils between 2 parchment paper lined baking sheets and spread evenly.
Roast in a 400 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. In my oven, it took 15 minutes for both the soaked only and cooked lentils.
Since ovens may vary, watch closely after 10 minutes.
Also, don’t put both sheets on the same oven rack and then help your son with a homeschool assignment. That may result in…um…some very, very dark lentils!
How To Make Crunchy Roasted Red Lentils.
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Next, mix the oil into the lentils well. I’ve made these with both 1 and 2 teaspoons of oil and find 1 teaspoon sufficient. However, feel free to use more oil if you like.
If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama Plan follower, I recommend using just 1 teaspoon of oil. This gives each 1/4 cup serving just 0.6 ADDED fat (the lentils naturally have 1g of fat per 1/4 cup dry which we don’t count toward our allowable fat grams for a THM E).
Then, add in all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Evenly spread half the mixture on each of the prepared baking sheets. Try to spread it as evenly as possible.
Pop the baking sheets into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes. Be sure to stir the lentils every 5 minutes or so. You might also want to swap the cookie sheets around as well.
In my oven, 20 minutes is just right. Since ovens vary yours may take more or less time.
At around 10 to 15 minutes, take out a few, blow on them to cool them off, then taste. You should be able to tell if they’re going to be crunchy or need more time in the oven.
How To Store Your Roasted Lentils.
As long as you’ve baked them thoroughly and cooled them completely, they keep very well in an airtight container or zipper bag.
They should keep well for several weeks. In fact, I found some in the bottom of a bag that had been there for quite some time and they were not spoiled at all. They were still tasty, too!
How To Fit These Addictive Crunchy Roasted Red Lentils Into Your THM Meal Plan.
I love to just munch on these things! Since they’re an E we need to keep our added fat grams low.
My favorite way to eat them, aside from just popping a handful in my mouth, is to sprinkle on a salad. They give a delightful crunch and hold up well with dressing.
Veggie Packed Grain Bowl – THM E
Sprinkle on any salad topped with a THM FP dressing! Here’s some of my favorites:
NEW! Creamy Garlic Lemon Salad Dressing – THM FP (dairy free)
Asian Sweet & Tangy Salad Dressing – THM FP
Creamy Cajun Ranch Dressing – THM FP
Easy Ranch Dressing – THM FP
Pickle Juice Ranch – Northern Nester
Slim Belly Vinaigrette – Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, page 474
Thousand Island Trimmy Dressing – Trim Healthy Table, page 529
Italian Trimmy Dressing – Trim Healthy Table, page 531
Orange Sesame Dressing – Trim Healthy Future, page 360
Raspberry Vinaigrette – Trim Healthy Future, page 363
Another favorite way to use them is making a savory trail mix. In this case, I use just a small amount of crunchy lentils and mix in pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Since we can have up to 1/4 cup of lentils or other cooked, dry beans in an S setting this works.
How about sprinkling on a soup? A few work fine for a THM S or FP soup, you can be more generous with a THM E soup.
Dairy Free “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup – THM FP
Garlic and Rosemary Tomato Soup – THM S or FP
Creamy Turkey and Rice Soup – THM E
Homestyle Vegetable Soup – THM E
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- Plan ahead! Cover your lentils with about 2 inches of water and let stand overnight (or 8 hours) on your counter. Strain the lentils and give them a good rinse and let drain. I also spread the soaked and drained lentils out on a kitchen towel and press another towel on top to dry the lentils as well as possible.
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the lentils into a mixing bowl and add oil, stirring well until all the lentils are coated with oil.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Spread half of the lentils onto each baking sheet, making sure to spread as evenly as possible.
- Put both baking sheets into your oven (or do one at a time if that works better for your oven) and stir the lentils every 5 minutes or so for about 20 minutes.
- If you put both baking sheets in at once, you might want to swap them around halfway through the baking time.
- After 20 minutes (or sooner if they look like they're done) pull out a few lentils, blow on them to cool, and check for crunchiness. They will crunch up more as they cool but you should be able to tell if they need more time or not.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- These should last for several weeks if baked and stored correctly.
You can use any healthy oil, and I find 1 teaspoon sufficient. The nutrition information is calculated for using 1 teaspoon so if you choose to use more it will increase the fat amounts a bit.
Nutrition Info Notes
The lentils naturally have some fat, but we only count the ADDED fats in our THM E meals and snacks. One serving of these crunchy roasted red lentils shows below 1.6 grams of fat. However, only 0.6 grams of that is ADDED fat.
Using Brown Lentils.
Brown lentils are most common in grocery stores and they work very well in this recipe. I've tried using soaked only and cooked (cook just until tender, don't overcook!) and there is virtually no difference in taste or texture.
Use 2 cups of either soaked or cooked, season, spread on baking sheets and bake.
These tend to roast a little more quickly, so check at 10 minutes then watch carefully so they don't burn.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 5.5 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 96.2Total Fat: 1.6gSaturated Fat: 0.1gUnsaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 65.8mgCarbohydrates: 17.6gNet Carbohydrates: 14.3gFiber: 3.2gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 6.6g