The other day I was buying my sprouts at the farmer’s market from my sprout/salt lady, Jennifer, and I noticed she was selling bags of a mixture of dry lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans. For over a year I have bought a jar of her sprouted lentils and beans once a week and we eat them on our nightly salad. “Are you selling these so we can sprout at home?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered. “It’s easy.”
To make sprouted lentils, start with dried beans that are fresh, preferably organic. You can make your own mix from either packaged or bulk lentils and combine several types of lentils together…brown, green, and French…and add some mung beans and adzuki beans if you would like. You can get a ready made mixture from Sun Organics. Many places sell “sprouting jars” that have a screen on the top for easy draining, but you don’t need these…you can sprout in regular canning jars or simply in a bowl. Remember, the beans/lentils will grow to about three times their size when sprouted, so make sure you allow for that when you put the lentils in the jar or bowl. If you use canning jars, you can take out the lid insert and replace with a piece of clean muslin during the sprouting process so the lentils can breathe.
1. If sprouting in jars, add lentils to about a third way up the jar and then fill the jar with fresh filtered water.
If sprouting in a bowl, add lots of water and cover with a paper towel so dirt and bugs can’t get in.
4. Drain and rinse lentils, and drain again. Lentils should still be wet but not standing in water. Cover with muslin or paper towel. If sprouting in a jar, lay jar on its side. Make sure that the canning jar lid insert is replaced by cloth or a screen.
• The phytic acid present in beans is neutralized so more magnesium, calcium, and iron can be metabolized in our bodies
• B vitamins and carotene are increased and Vitamin C is created in the sprouting process
• Complex sugars, which contribute to the gassiness of beans, are broken down
• Enzymes are created in the sprouting process that aid in digestion
Cooking with sprouted lentils/beans: Once your lentils/beans are sprouted, they don’t need much cooking. You can use them in any lentil/bean recipe, but your cooking time will be much shorter. Steam them for about 5 minutes and add to any dish. Add them to rice or quinoa during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Or toss with olive oil and garlic for an easy side dish. Once steamed, grind them in the food processor and use for a pate spread or lentil hummus (add salt, garlic, tahini, lemon, herbs).