Updated: Sep 14, 2019
I am sure you have all heard many foodies and health crazed people out there talking about incorporating sprouted legumes into your diet, (some of these to name are kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans and black beans), and there is a good reason for this!
Not to worry, no need to frown, I am here to explain how simple it is to sprout your own legumes at home, and then what to do with them next!
“Health is the first form of wealth…..Invest in yourself”
There is a large gathering of evidence that shows that sprouting a seed/bean before consuming it increases the nutrient availability, and as legumes can be difficult to digest, sprouting them breaks down some of the starches, which increases the available nutrient percentage, including folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K (sprouted grains and regular grains contain the same nutrients, but just in different available quantities). The sprouting also contributes to enhancing the nutritional quality of protein (1).
Once sprouted they are easier to digest and great for your digestive system, because of the soluble fibre content. Some examples of legumes which can be more difficult to digest are lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans cannellini, and pinto beans. An example from in one study found that grains which were allowed to sprout for five days contained up to 133% more fiber than un-sprouted grains, aiding in improving digestion. (2)
There are many ready to buy products out there which have used sprouted grains, this is a great way to incorporate more sprouted foods into your daily diet, but keep an eye out, don’t simply assume that all sprouted products are made of 100% sprouted grains, as some of them might only contain a small percentage, so be sure to check the labels.
So anyway, enough educational information and learn how to sprout! For these instructions I have focused on sprouting lentils, but have also tried a few other legumes (you can see the images at the end o the article)
What you will need:
Legume of your choice
A medium sized glass bowl
A free warm corner in your kitchen/house
Rinse the raw lentils and place in the dry glass bowl,
Fill the bowl with water, just enough to cover the lentils, place a thin kitchen towel over the top, or use sprouting mesh if you have some and leave to soak overnight,
The next day, drain the lentils and rinse thoroughly, clean out the bowl, dry it and add the lentils back to the bowl,
Cover with the thin cloth and leave to sit in a warm corner of the kitchen to start the sprouting process,
Repeat the drain and rinse steps in the morning and evening for 3 days (sometimes I have forgotten to do this twice a day, but you must do it at least once a day, or they will start to go off),
You will see tails starting to form, for me 3 days is enough time for them to grow long tails, you can experiment with the process and leave them for more days depending on your location of temperature levels of your house, and the longer the tails grow the more the flavour changes, so experiment with different sprouting times, to find what you prefer,
When you are finished your sprouting process, ensure they are properly washed and drained and before cooking,
Simply boil in water in a pot on the stove for about 15 minutes until soft, then serve with your choice of ingredients with your preferred meal. (As explained by Kristina Secinaro (a registered dietician) the sprouting process requires them to be soaked and then to sit in a moist environment, this can promote bacterial growth, so make sure to cook your sprouted grain of choice, once you have finished the sprouting process. (3)
Make sure to refrigerate cooked sprouts and sprouted-grain baked goods.
A simple idea of how I like to use these lentils is mixed in a salad with a few vegetables for lunch, but a few other ideas you might like to try are:
Mash them into a paste for use in baked goods, or for adding to soups cook
Cook in a pot and mix with vegetable dishes, salads or stews
Sprouts are also easy to add to warm meals such as rice dishes, stir-fries, omelettes, soups or freshly made burger patties.
Below are two other successful sprouting experiments: mung beans (left) and kidney beans (right)
As I love experimenting with a range of legumes in my recipes, I started to consider if I was receiving all the best nutrients from them that I could, and as it seems, through the sprouting process, my body would have better access to more wonderful nutrients. I love including sprouted legumes into my diet and plan on experimenting with a few more varieties, keep an eye out for more interesting food and health posts!