The Seed You Should Be Eating

July 20, 2012   34 Comments

Have I confused you with the photo of the chocolate cake? Where are the seeds?

Chocolate Lentil Cake Recipe

They are in the cake. No, I am not kidding (see recipe below). This cake is made with lentils, which are seeds. I was introduced to Chocolate Lentil Cake by a group of Canadian lentil farmers. And, no, I’m not kidding.

Seems that Canada (Saskatchewan to be specific) ships lentils to India! They produce almost 900 million dollars worth of lentils - that’s a lot of beans. he he

I was contacted by Canadian Lentils and they asked if I would like to visit Saskatoon to learn about lentils. How could I say no?

My trip consisted of visiting lentil fields:

Meeting super friendly lentil farmers:

And wearing funny hats:

This is my new look for fall :)

What did I learn? I came away with a deep respect for this crop and for the food the world’s farmers produce. It takes an incredible amount of sweat, planning, energy, and just plain guts to be in farming.

I also learned about lentils. Here are some of the highlights:

  • One cup of cooked lentils has 62% of your daily value of fiber, 37% of your daily value of Iron, and 18 grams of protein. Wow!
  • Split red or green lentils DO NOT need to be soaked like other beans before you cook them.
  • The cooking time for split red lentils that I simmered for a cooking competition (I lost) was only 10 minutes! This could be your new fast food (don’t order fries with that).
  • You feel full after eating lentils. I ate A LOT of lentils on this trip.

I have included the Chocolate Lentil Cake recipe because it is so rare to see a cake that packs 39% of your daily value of iron in one slice. While not particularly low in calorie, you sneak in a big nutritional upside when you add lentils.

For other great lentil recipes see: Canadian Lentils.

I plan to do more lentil recipes here on Snack Girl so stay tuned.

What is your favorite way to prepare lentils?

Canadian Lentils paid for my trip to Canada. No other compensation was provided.

Chocolate Lentil Cake Recipe

1.6 from 15 reviews

(makes 25 servings)

reprinted with permission from Canadian Lentils

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½ cup dry split red lentils, rinsed
1½ cup water
¾ cup quick-cooking oatmeal
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3.9 oz packaged instant chocolate pudding
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp almond extract
1 2/3 cups boiling water


In a small saucepan, combine lentils and water and heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are falling apart, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, mixing well.

In a medium bowl beat together eggs, oil, and almond extract. Stir in lentils.

Add lentil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Add boiling water and mix thoroughly.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Nutrition Facts

One slice is 299 calories, 15.1 g fat, 35.4 g carbohydrates, 13.7 g sugar, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, 270 mg sodium, 11 Freestyle SmartPts

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Love your new look for fall! Lol.

I like lentils cooked in broth with onions and garam masala. Delicious.

I have just learned that you can use beans to substitute for oil or eggs in baked goods--I did it with zucchini bread, and it was amazingly satisfying. I wonder if you could do that with lentils too--cook them in water, then puree with a bit of water to make the texture liquidy and measure like oil.


I have never had lentils! Great way to try them out but in a cake. Yum!!

I LOVE lentils - they are such a great source of protein, fiber & iron and they are easy to prepare. I've got a lot of favorites on my blog: - the most recent is a light summery salad, perfect for hot days. I've never made sweets with lentils - going to bookmark this to make for unsuspecting family!

When you think about cake, you don't often think about getting much protein, or oats for that matter...Really interesting recipe.

And I never would have guessed that there was that much lentil production in Canada.

@Stan Starsky - "And I never would have guessed that there was that much lentil production in Canada."

Me, neither! Thanks for the education, Snack Girl! (I'll pass on the lentil cake, though. Too much sugar for me.)

I make lentils in our rice cooker (motto: Not just for rice!) every few days and we keep a Tupperware of it in the fridge instead of the always-keep-a-can-of-black-beans-handy prescription mentioned in your post.

We have a huge farmer's market nearby and they carry very inexpensive lentils in a rainbow of colors. Every one I've tried has been great for cooking and about half, I've found, are great for sprouting.

My favorite is lentil salad. A can of lentils and a can of chickpeas (rinsed to remove the excess salt), mixed with diced veggies (I use tomato, cucumber, red pepper, green onion and black olives), a dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Yummy.

Or, remove the feta, add avacado and a jalapeño pepper, and you have a lentil salsa.

Thank you, SG, for reminding me of lentils! The site you gave has some great recipes. I'm going to try to tweak this great-looking healthy cake a bit, we don't care for traditional sweetness in our family so it won't be hard; anyhoo my macrobiotic daughter will love this for her August birthday cake! I make my own pudding/glossy frosting: 1oz organic cocoa mixed w/1.5 Tbs. corn-starch, 1/2c cane sugar, 1/2c boiling water; cook n stir about 5 mins til thick, then add 1 tsp. vanilla and Tbs Smart Balance and voila! creamy healthy pudding! [or enough frosting for a sm. cake] I think if I replace the instant pudding with this and reduce the water, oil and flavoring it should work. I'm excited by several other recipes on the site, esp. the sprouts! the mushrooms, the porridge! All so healthy looking and sounding. Thank you again for interesting inspiring posts:)

I grew up in a big Italian family and foods like lentils were always on the menu. I've not eaten them for many years (got tired of them) but I will buy them to try this cake. I make a lot of your recipes for my lunch buddies and several people in my engineering group. I call them my "guinea pigs" because if I don't get good reviews on a recipe I never make it again. I'm going to try the canning next.

Just gotta share one more tidbit. Andy had me looking back at your college tips post and I now remember where I got my turkish breakfast idea from! Snack Girl! I've enjoyed that breakfast of cuke/tom/feta twice this week with basil! Maybe I'll add a scoop of cooked lentils to that as well :)

I love being confused by chocolate cake. :) This recipe sounds great! Thanks!

Very easy and fast to sprout. Add crunch to sandwiches and salads.

@Jan F - I recently made a neat little lentil-potato snack:

- wrap a medium white potato in a damp paper towel and wrap that in a dishtowel, oven mitt, potato bag, whatever is safe to microwave

- microwave it for a few minutes (I find 4 minutes works for one potato)

- remove from microwave (careful, will be steaming hot!)

- cut up and mash

- add sprouted lentils (the black lentils taste a little "peppery" to me and I like that)

- season to taste (e.g., salt & pepper, Trader Joe's African Smoke spice, Tabasco sauce)

- mix it all together

(I was running late for a meeting yesterday and I popped this into a Solo cup and ate it with a spoon on the way!)

I make a hearty vegetable soup and add lentils to that, it is very good!

I never really eat lentils because I haven't found the right flavor profile that makes me *love* them yet. I need to check out those recipes so that I can benefit from their nutritional value!

Wow, this is unique recipe. Never thought of lentils in cake. Thanks for sharing it.

I made a traditional Indian dish, Dahl. When I made the recipe I found in Johnny Bowden's Healthy Recipe book it came out thick and pasty. My friend's mother is here visiting from Bombay and made authentic dahl which is supposed to be more of a rue or soup and delicious with garam masala to season.

Love that. It may not be super low in calories, but it is undoubtedly very filling. I have a chocolate cake bundt cake made with beets and zucchini that reminds me of this...a nourishing treat!

As for lentils, for a super quick lunch, I buy the vacuum sealed lentila sold in the refrigerated section of Trader Joes (surprisingly tasty), add diced raw veggies, a squeeze of lemon juice, squeeze of olive oil, salt and pepper. It's a speedy, mega nourishing salad.

How does the cake taste? Can you tell it has lentils in it or does it taste like a "normal" chocolate cake?

My favorite way to eat lentils is in dahl, topped with onions that have carmelized a bit.

I love lentils! I include them in lots of soups, and this is my favorite:….

i Love love love varied indian dal dishes, so amazing! However, I do have a lentil stew that I learned from some veggie friends:

1 bag dried lentils

2-3 cups veggie stock (I use chicken stock)

finely diced onion and garlic to taste (I use a whole medium onion and likely 5-6 cloves of garlic - I'm italian after all!)

a couple potatoes an sweet potatoes in medium cubes

Parsnip, sliced

Carrots, sliced

season to taste (I like black pepper, cayenne pepper, a bit of siracha)

I've added chicken to it and love it

I also vary the veggies and will add some peas when it's just about ready - I need some green!

I saute the onion and garlic first, then add all cut veggies together to mingle the flavors, then I add the lentils followed by the stock. within 45-60 mins it's ready to go (depends on the size of your veggies, especially the potatoes)

You can make it more a soup with more broth too.


Lentils are great! I cook with them frequently, but I've never seen a lentil cake recipe. I'll definitely be giving this one a try!

My favorite way to use lentils is in a soup I found in my Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine years ago. I added more veggies to it - sliced mushrooms (added with all the other ingredients) and chopped fresh spinach (at the end, just put on top and allowed to wilt, then mixed in). I'm sure there are other veggies that would be good with this too, but that's all I've tried so far. I leave the croutons off though. It's delicious!!…

I printed out the recipe, "old school gal here"

for my "Old Cookbook" and would like to make it!

I would recalculate it, using "lower fat, or some substitutions, ie wheat flour, eggbeater whites," to see if I can adjust some of it! But it sounds great!

I've never cooked lentils before...but I now have vegan lentil sloppy joes on my mind :-)

Can't wait to try it! You photo shows a bundt-style cake, but the recipe says to use a 13 x 9 pan. How long did you bake it in the bundt pan -- it looks prettier! :)

That's so cool that you were here. Despite all the lentils produced in SK, we don't consume that much. I'm going to explore nutritious lentil recipes and eat local while I'm at it :)

My favourite go-to lentil recipe is French lentil soup with red lentils. Delish!

My uncle and two cousins farm up in SK. 30 years ago, they pretty much only grew wheat, barley and some flax. Now they grow 18+ crops, including chickpeas and lentils. Love the idea of using them in cake!

my kids love this cake and imad cup cakes i think ill try it with stevie next time for less points the cake was the bomb

would like this recipe with less sugar as I am watching my sugar intake

I found that if you think it to sweet just use sugar substuite for half of the sugar, and know one will can tell it.

I grew up in Saskatchewan and now live in Alberta and I didn't know that Canada is the top lentil producer. They are awesome to add into soups, chili's and yes baking. Love lentils and thank you for the cake recipe, gonna have to try it back home this spring during seeding to see how my farming relatives enjoy it!

Popped lentils are amazing! Saute cooked lentils in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It becomes a dry finger food. Oh, yum!

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