Add these nutrient-dense pulses to your dessert for a healthier take on brownies.

lentil brownie
Photo: Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

There's a secret ingredient creeping into the dessert world that not only adds protein to your favorite treats, but also packs a nutritional punch and extra fiber without any noticeable difference in taste. Lentils are the newest secret superfood to wind up in baked goods, and the argument for adding in these pulses is strong. (Maybe you've already experimented with avocado desserts or want to try these 11 crazy delicious desserts with hidden healthy foods.) With 9 grams of protein in half a cup of cooked lentils-plus loads of iron, folate, and fiber-they are a nutritional powerhouse that can be an easy swap for the fat in traditional recipes. Swap out your dense high-calorie protein bar for a protein- and fiber-filled brownie midmorning to keep you going until lunchtime.

High-Protein Lentil Brownies

Makes 8 brownies


  • 1/2 cup cooked red lentils
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Add cooked lentils to a food processor and process until creamy. Add a splash of water to thin the mixture if needed.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vegetable oil. Whisk well.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in chopped walnuts, if using.
  6. Pour brownie mixture into a well-greased baking pan. Place in oven for 16 to 18 minutes. To see if they're cooked, insert a knife into middle of pan. They should be moist but not stick to the knife.