Explore Various Sugars with Lentils This Summer

Gloria Tsang newWritten by Canadian Lentils Dietitian Gloria Tsang, RD

Have you ever noticed that there’s a new product every time you shop for sugar at the grocery store? With kids out of school and summer time days off, many of us are cooking and baking more at home. Why not explore various sugar this summer with some of my favorite lentil recipes?

4 Sugar Alternatives To Try This August

Raw Sugar

Raw sugar is minimally processed. Simply explained, raw sugar is the the result of the first stage of the cane sugar refining process. Therefore, it’s not bleached and retains reasonable cane sugar flavor. I indeed use this sugar at home! I’d recommend using raw sugar in this classic Indian recipe by Chef Michael Smith.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is the sap of maple trees filtered and boiled until it reaches the desired consistency. Because of its distinctive taste, keep in mind that maple syrup will affect the flavour of the finished product more than white sugar. If you are trying substitute with maple syrup, try to use 25% to 30% less than the amount of sugar in the recipe, and you also need to reduce the amount of liquid by a couple of tablespoons. This summer, I’d recommend you to try this Baked Oatmeal with Berries & Lentils recipe. Once you have had it, you will want to make it a regular when the school year starts in September.


Probably the alternative most familiar to many of us, honey is made by bees using nectar from flowers. From a throat-soothing agent to an antibacterial miracle, honey has a long-standing history of being used in folk medicine. Because it tastes sweeter than sugar, use 25% to 30% less than the amount of sugar in the recipe. Baking made with honey will also tend to brown sooner, so reduce the oven temperature by 25F and watch the baking time, as you may have to take the goodies out earlier. To witness the best outcome while baking with honey, I suggest you try this Saskatoon Berry Lentil Muffins recipe. If no Saskatoon berries are available at your grocery store, simply use blueberries instead.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar isn’t as natural as we think. It is indeed white sugar with added molasses. In other words, it’s been fully refined and bleached, and then molasses is added back. I include brown sugar on this list, simply because many of us may have extra brown sugar sitting at home all the time. Instead of letting it harden, why not use it all this summer? Tart raspberries are in full season right now, so I’m choosing this Peach & Raspberry Crumble to take full advantage of brown sugar’s molasses flavour.