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Red Lentil Cinnamon Rolls

Red split lentils blend seamlessly into this cinnamon roll dough while adding moisture, fibre and protein!



  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked red split lentils (see tips)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) 1% milk, or preferred milk
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 whole large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 packet (8 g) quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
  • canola oil for greasing the bowl
  • Cranberry & Toasted Pumpkin Seed Filling

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL or a pinch) nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
  • Frosting (optional)

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt


To make the dough:

  • Combine milk and cooked lentils in blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and heat until warm to the touch, around 110°F (43°C), while stirring.
  • Transfer warm lentil/milk mixture to a large bowl and add in sugar, eggs, melted butter and combine well.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt and then add to the lentil/milk mixture and mix with a spoon until the dough begins to form a ball.
  • Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 6-7 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky; if too sticky add a little more flour, a little at a time and work it in.
  • Transfer dough to a bowl that has been drizzled with canola oil, turn dough over to coat with oil then cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Keep in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Rise time may vary.
  • Once dough has risen, transfer to a floured work surface and roll out into a large, even rectangle, about 16-inches x 12-inches (40 cm x 30 cm).

For the filling:

  • Spread softened butter evenly over top of prepared dough.
  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Sprinkle the mixture over the buttered section of the prepared dough and press the sugar mixture into the butter.

Assembly & Baking:

  • Roll the dough firmly starting from the shorter end. Gently press the seam into the dough to create a seal. Cut off about 1/2-inch (1 cm) from each end to remove excess dough.
  • Cut into 10 even rolls and place cut side up into a 10-inch x 13 ½-inch (25 cm x 34 cm or similar) baking pan lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until the rolls have doubled in size. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Bake the rolls in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Make frosting while cinnamon rolls are baking.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then spread the frosting evenly on top and enjoy!

For the Frosting: Cream the softened cream cheese together with butter, icing sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Spread on slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.


To make 1 cup (250 mL) cooked red split lentils: In a medium pot, bring  7 Tbsp (105 mL) dry red split lentils with 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes or until lentils soft and cooked through, adding more water as needed. Drain and rinse. You can make the lentils up to 3 days ahead of time or double the recipe and freeze extra cooked lentils to use when you make this recipe again!

Cooked red split lentils can be substituted with cooked pinto beans, chickpeas or white beans.

Active dry yeast and quick rise or instant yeast both leaven and help create a light texture, but they operate a little differently. Active dry yeast is typically dissolved in liquid before using, while instant yeast or quick rise can be mixed right into dry ingredients.

Dried cranberries can be substituted with other dried fruit like raisins, blueberries or mango. Explore other favourite nuts and seeds if you would like to substitute the pumpkin seeds.

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