These healthy lentil muffins are naturally sweetened with mashed banana and applesauce instead of refined sugar. Red lentil puree adds a boost of protein and fiber, making them a nutritious snack or breakfast. They’re great for baby led weaning and toddlers as well as older kids and adults!
I really am pleased with how this recipe turned out. I wanted to make a muffin that used mashed bananas and applesauce instead of granulated sugar or maple syrup as the sweetener. This is mainly because I wanted to create something for my daughter but also so that I could have some healthy snacks on hand for myself!
I also wanted to incorporate a legume into the muffin batter to boost the protein and fiber content. Since red lentils break down into a puree when they are cooked, I knew they’d be the perfect choice! And boy was I correct.
The final result has just the right amount of sweetness. Each muffin is filling and satisfying. Plus, the texture is perfectly moist. I know these will be on repeat in our house, and I hope they will be in yours too!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Red lentil puree/mash: Red lentils break down when they are cooked, so you don’t even need to whip out a blender to puree them. Just cook and mash gently with a fork. I imagine you could substitute another kind of lentil puree, such as green and brown lentils, but I have not personally tried it.
- Bananas: Use very ripe bananas for best results, since they will be sweeter than green or slightly ripe bananas.
- Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil: You can substitute melted butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil if needed.
- Egg: To make these vegan (or egg-free if you have someone with an egg allergy in your house), substitute a flax egg. Combine 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken up before adding to the batter.
- Vanilla extract
- Whole wheat flour: You can also make banana lentil muffins with all purpose flour, but whole wheat flour adds some extra nutrition.
- Baking soda and powder
- Ground cinnamon
For the full recipe card with ingredient quantities and cooking steps, scroll down to the bottom of the post.
Combine 1 cup of dry red lentils with 3 cups of water in a large saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to very low. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until the lentils start to break down and are cooked through. Drain excess water and measure out 1 cup of mashed lentils for the muffins. See How to Cook Red Lentils for more tips.
Combine the wet ingredients: lentils, mashed banana, applesauce, olive oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Add the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
Fill the cavities of a muffin tray about ¾ of the way each. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
I love using a silicone tray for baking muffins. It makes it so easy to pop them out, and you don’t have to use any liners!
Since they are made with banana, these lentil muffins have a moist texture and will keep better in the refrigerator than at room temperature. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
You can also freeze the muffins. Place them in a freezer bag, such as a Stasher bag, in a single layer and store on a flat surface in the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, you may want to wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
Serving Muffins to Babies
If you are serving banana lentil muffins to babies or toddlers, remember to cut them into the appropriate shape and size. Do not serve these muffins if your child has not started solids or if they have not already been introduced to the ingredients on their own, especially wheat and eggs (common allergens).
If your child has started solids with the approval of your pediatrician, is at least 6 months old, and is doing baby led weaning, cut the muffins into halves, quarters, or even strips. For older babies with a pincer grasp, around 9 months of age and older, you can cut muffins into bite-sized pieces. Lentil muffins are a great finger food for babies of this age, whether they started with baby led weaning or traditional purees.
More Muffin Recipes
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Banana Lentil Muffins
- 1 cup cooked red lentils
- 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas - usually 2 to 3 large bananas
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil - can sub avocado or coconut oil or melted butter
- 1 egg - beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1.25 cups whole wheat flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease a muffin tray. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin tray without liners (my preferred method).
- In large bowl, mash the cooked lentils if they are not already well-mashed after cooking. Add the mashed banana, applesauce, olive oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ones. Mix with a rubber spatula until combined.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tray, filling up each cavity about ¾ of the way.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool completely before serving.
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- The prep time does not include the time it takes to cook red lentils. If you do not have pre-cooked red lentils, combine 1 cup of dry red split lentils with 3 cups of water in a large saucepan or pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to very low. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the lentils are cooked through and start to break down. Drain any excess water. Measure out 1 cup of red lentils for the recipe.
- Store these muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
- If you are serving them to babies around 6 months of age for baby led weaning, slice them into halves, quarters, or strips. For babies around 9 months of age with the pincer grasp, cut them into bite-sized pieces. These muffins contain common allergens and should not be introduced until your child has had all of the ingredients separately. You should not give these to babies who have not started solids with the approval of a pediatrician.
- To make these vegan, sub a flax “egg” for the egg. Combine 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it thickens.
Happy muffin making! – Lizzie