Flourless chocolate chip cookies (psst… they’re made with lentils)
I was going to start off this post by telling you how amazing these cookies are, but I’m sure you’ve heard other cookie recipes make similar promises, right?
Like me, you probably consider chocolate chip cookies to be a bit of an indulgence, meant only for those times when you deserve them. But some days you just need a cookie without the guilt or judgment. If today is one of those days, I’m here to offer you a solution: try these cookies! For this recipe I swapped out all the traditional ingredients (flour, butter, eggs, sugar) for good stuff like lentils and cashews and I’m thrilled by the results—they’re thin and crispy around the edges yet soft and chewy on the inside and studded with just the right number of chocolate chips.
This is the story of a girl who has become a little obsessed with flourless, legume-based baking. I’ve shared a few other recipes like this before:
- Flourless plant-powered protein brownies
- Chickpea cookie dough balls
- Dark chocolate, sweet potato and black bean brownies
- Flourless mocha bean cookies
- Adzuki pudding tarts
But this time, oh boy. The results were incredible. I literally danced around my kitchen in pure joy and praised the baking gods for gifting me with such a cookie. In fact, I was in such disbelief that I retested them too many times to count, you know, just to make sure.
Seriously, lentils can do that?
And, indeed, this recipe is going to change your life much like it did mine. Because I’m here to share my secrets with you.
First, let’s talk about how awesome lentils are. Not only are they an easy and cheap source of protein, but they are also fat free, high in fibre and rich in a number of essential nutrients like iron and folate. They are also super versatile: you can add them to salads, stir them into pasta sauce or cook up a mean Indian dhal. Unfortunately, it seems lentils have needlessly taken the back burner in many vegans’ kitchens ever since the aquafaba craze started not long ago, which is why I wanted to highlight them in this recipe. The best part is that dry red lentils cook up super quick (8 to 10 minutes) and then, when processed together with some cashews, they take on a lovely smooth texture. I’ve become infatuated with this discovery!
I added only a wee bit of coconut sugar to sweeten them up, a tablespoon of coconut oil to help give them a spreadable texture and crispy edges, and a good doze of vanilla (extract and powder) for flavour. The vanilla bean powder, in particular, gives these cookies that extra oomph in the flavour department. If you don’t have any vanilla bean powder on hand, fear not! You can just make them without it.
Even though this recipe is actually quite easy, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way, so here are some helpful notes:
- The consistency of your cooked lentils is important to getting smooth and consistent results. Be sure to cook the lentils until very soft. Run your spoon across the bottom of the pan to determine whether all the water is absorbed. The consistency should be thick and soft, kind of like mushy porridge, and might start to stick to the bottom of your pan when done.
- The dough should be much thinner than regular cookie dough, more like cake batter. When you scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet, it should spread out fairly easily. Whatever shape you make them will be the shape of the final cookie, so use your finger to shape and smooth them into thin, circular shapes.
- Processing the cashews and lentils might cause your dough to warm up, and consequently melt your chocolate chips once added. To avoid this, just sprinkle on the chocolate chips after you’ve scooped the batter onto your cookie sheet. I learned this after shooting these photos, so just imagine plump chocolate chips on top.
- I highly recommend eating one or two after they’ve baked and cooled for about half an hour. They are soooo good when eaten freshly made. Plus, someone needs to do the taste-testing, right?
Flourless chocolate chip cookies
Yield: 8 to 10 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (optional but recommended)
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons dairy-free chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan, combine the water and red lentils and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the lentils are very soft and the water has absorbed. Watch carefully as the water can boil over easily. Once soft, remove from heat and drain through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cool water and use the back of a spoon or spatula to press out any excess water. The lentils might start turning mushy, but that's okay!
- Using a food processor, process the cashews until they start to turn into a paste. Stop and scrape down the sides of the processor container as needed. Add the coconut oil and process again until smooth.
- Measure out 3/4 cup of the cooked lentils (if you have some left over, save them for supper). Add them to the food processor along with the coconut sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder and vanilla powder. Process until smooth. It should be a fairly wet dough, more like cake batter than a typical cookie dough.
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, about 2 tablespoons each. The dough should spread out fairly easily. Use a clean finger to shape them into circles about 1/4 inch thick and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely. They tend to soften slightly once stored. Recrisp them by baking at 300F for about five minutes.