Amy Lippert, NTP
How to Sprout Lentils
Sprouting lentils is a great way to increase their nutritional density and digestibility, plus with their fresh nutty crunch, they are delicious in and on so many dishes. In this post I will share with you a super easy method that only requires a large mesh strainer and a little patience. In less than 36 hours you will have fresh sprouted lentils any time of year for all your recipes or as a topping for a crisp salad or sandwich!
Why Sprouted Lentils are So Good For You!
Sprouting lentils is not intended to make things harder or to add another step to a recipe. Sprouting your lentils, beans, whole grains, and seeds actually has a nutritional and dietary purpose!
When you sprout foods like lentils, beans, and seeds, you increase the bioavailability of the nutrients within them by reducing the levels of phytates that exist in the seed. Phytates, also known as phytic acid is actually an antioxidant, but has a negative impact on the absorption of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It does this by binding to these minerals and hindering their absorption in your small intestine .
By sprouting your lentils before eating, you reduce the amount of phytates in the seed, therefore increasing the absorption of minerals from your meal. Sprouting also increases the nutrient content of the seeds as well as the fiber and protein content, in one study, sprouting cowpeas yielded more vitamin B, vitamin C and protein in the bean !
So grab some lentils and let's to sprouting!
Sprouted Lentils Ingredients
Yeilds 2-2.5 cups sprouted
1 cup of Dry Lentils
2 cups of Cool Filtered Water
1 Medium Bowl or a 32oz jar with a lid
1 Colander + cheesecloth to line
Sprouted Lentils Instructions
1. Transfer the dry lentils to your bowl or jar. Here I used a combination of red lentils, French green lentils, and green lentils.
2. Fill the bowl or jar with cool filtered water and stir the lentils around to rinse them, drain the water. Repeat 1-2 more times.
3. Fill the bowl or jar with two cups of fresh filtered water. You can cover if you like, but it isn't necessary, I do like to put the lid on my jar to make sure it doesn't spill.
4. Leave out on the counter overnight.
5. The next morning, drain the lentils into a large mesh colander or a cheesecloth (dampen first) lined colander and rinse under cool water.
a. If using the mesh strainer, set it over a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth, leave it on the counter. Rinse and recover (moisten the cloth if necessary) the lentils every 4-6 hours until evening, repeat before bed and let the lentils sit out on the counter overnight.
b. If using a colander and cheesecloth, set the colander into a large bowl and cover the lentils with the excess cheesecloth. Uncover and rinse the lentils every 4-6 hours, recovering after ever rinse, repeating until bed and let the lentils sit out on the counter overnight.
c. The next morning you should start to see some sprouts, and at this point they are ready to eat! If you want longer more sprouted lentils for salads, curries and sandwiches rinse and repeat until the lentil sprouts are at the desired length. Once your sprouts are to your desired length, store in the refrigerator to slow their growth (instructions below!)
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Q: Why are my lentils not sprouting?
A: Your lentils may be cold and need a warmer place to sprout. Try placing them in the oven with the light on for about an hour and keep them in there during sprouting.
Q: Why are only some of my lentils sprouting?
A: If you used a variety of lentils like I did, some of them don't sprout as quickly and they may not have a noticeable root yet.
Q: I have split lentils, will they still sprout?
A: Split lentils will not sprout, try getting some that haven't been split.
How to Store Your Sprouted Lentils
Now that you have germinated and made all these nutritious lentil sprouts you can store them for salads, sandwiches and more.
1. When your sprouts are at your desired length, transfer the lentils to a paper towel lined large baking pan or tray, you can even just set them on the counter!
2. Take some more paper towels and gently pat the lentil sprouts dry until most of the moisture has been absorbed.
3. Transfer the sprouted lentils to a clean container with a lid and store in the refrigerator up to 5-7 day.
How To Cook with Sprouted Lentils
Sprouted lentils can be incorporated into any recipe just like you would use dry lentils. There is one big difference, sprouted lentils will cook faster so keep that in mind when you are ready to use them! Enjoy your nutritious and delicious lentil sprouts!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy
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