I used to sprout lentils a lot when my kids were younger but stopped for a while as some of the cooking patterns changed at our home. Recently, I started sprouting beans and lentils again and am enjoying using them in any recipe that call for lentils or beans. Basically, you can use the same lentil or bean as mentioned in the recipe, but just sprout them a few days ahead of time.
Benefits of eating lentils
- They are a great source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and antioxidants. Great for your heart, fight against cancer and anti-aging in general.
- One cup of lentils can provide close to 18 grams of protein, and the best part, one cup of lentils has less than one gram of fat.
- They are extremely economical, a pack costs less than $7.00 and can provide up to 7 meals.
.There are many added benefits to sprouting
- Sprouting helps with digesting lentils as the process breaks down some of the sugars that produce intestinal gas.
- Sprouting increases the amounts of certain vitamins, especially Vitamin B and C and other elements, especially increases antioxidants.
How to sprout
You can use a jar or a colander to sprout.
You will also need a cheese cloth or a clean kitchen towel.
Wash the lentils by placing them in a colander or bowl and rinse well. (The process is similar to that of washing and rinsing rice)
Drain excess water. (This is why the colander works well.)
Cover the top with a cheese cloth or a thin kitchen towel
Sprout in a cool area in the kitchen
Rinse the lentils every 12 hours or twice a day. If using a colander, you just need to run water and rinse them.
It may take 2-4 days to see the sprouts.
To get the most benefits from them, eat them raw. Add them in salads or as toppings in soups and stews. By not cooking them you will get the most of the vitamins and certain antioxidants. However, cooking them lightly makes it easier to digest them and you will indeed still get many of the nutritional benefits.
I have listed a few recipes for you to try, but be creative and use them in many other ways, and please share your ideas with us.
Sprouted Toasted Lentils
2 cups of dry French lentils (small, green and somewhat flat)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Wash and sprout the lentils (takes 1-2 days, wash every 12 hours).
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Use 1 tablespoon olive oil spread over 2 large cookie sheets. You can make it without oil but some amount of olive oil helps with the taste.
- Toss the lentils onto the 2 trays.
- Bake for 5 minutes, rotate and change positions of the trays if needed to get good even heating. Continue baking for 5 more minutes.
- Now sprinkle salt. You don’t need much, anywhere from ¼ to ½ a teaspoon both sheets combined.
They are done when they are still mainly green in color, slightly browning them is OK but be careful at this point as they can easily get overcooked and burnt. I start watching over them carefully after a total of 8 minutes in the oven and stir them as needed. Even if underdone they are very tasty and good to eat, but if done correctly they can be stored for about a week and eaten later as a snack.
- Remove from oven and cool. They get crispier as they reach room temperature.
- Now add freshly ground black pepper, about ½ to 1 teaspoons for both sheets. (Adding pepper towards the end helps reduce some of the bitter taste of black pepper.)
- For storage a glass jar works the best, once at room temperature you can transfer them into a jar and cover them.
Sprouted Lentil Salad
This is to be made as a cold or a warm salad. I prefer it cold, it just makes a great cool salad for summer days.
2 cups of sprouted lentils, can use French lentils but black or brown lentils also work very well.
1 cup vegetable stock or water.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp pepper
Brown sugar, a small pinch
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons, can also substitute with limes
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped dill
1 cup diced cucumber
1 clove garlic minced
- Heat a stock pot or a sauce panon medium to high. After about 45 seconds to 1 minute add one tablespoon of olive oil and immediately add the sprouted lentils. Cook on high for a minute with constant stirring
- Add one cup of vegetable stock or water. Decrease heat to medium, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed by the lentils. Then allow them cool down to room temperature.
- Add the chopped onions, parsley, dill, minced garlic, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well
- You can also add a pinch of brown sugar. This adds to the flavor and helps the salt, pepper and lemon or lime stand out.
Serve warm or refrigerate for later use. Good for up to 2 days.