When I was eating strictly raw, one of the things I missed most were lentils. I love lentils, whether it be curried lentil salad, lentils atop of arugula, or lentils mixed with a vinaigrette and feta. My solution – sprouted lentils. With sprouting, there are so many possibilities… beans, nuts, seeds (think chickpeas, alfalfa, sunflower, quinoa, mung bean, clover)… and it is super easy. I will say that the taste will never be the same as if you had cooked the lentils or beans. The sprouted lentils will not absorb the flavor like cooked lentils. However, you will get a nice texture and flavor that is all its own. It may take some time to adjust and figure out how to reimagine the food into something new, but you’ll get there. You might be wondering why sprouting is beneficial – sprouts are higher in vitamins and protein and a good source of calcium, zinc, iron – the list goes on and on. You can buy sprouting seeds or kits at a local natural grocery store. However, I think it is easier just to buy the seeds or beans in bulk and go from there.
As winter will be here soon enough, and fresh produce will be limited, sprouts are a great way to continue eating fresh and raw all winter long.
Basic steps to sprouting:
- mason jar
- rubber band
- fresh water
- 1 cup organic lentils (or whatever you would like to sprout)
- large bowl (to prop jar)
- Begin with rinsing your lentils in a fine strainer under running water.
- Add the lentils to the mason jar and cover with cheesecloth and secure with rubber band. Soak lentils by adding around 2 cups of fresh water (or 2-3 times the amount of seeds or beans you are sprouting) to the jar and allow to sit at room temperature for around 8 (or overnight). Set sprouts in a bright place, but out of direct sunlight.
- Drain off the soaking water. Rinse the lentils by refilling the jar with cool water, swirling, and then draining. Turn the jar upside down at a 45 degree angle on a rack or in a bowl to allow the air to circulate and any remaining water or moisture to drain completely. Continue to drain and rinse twice a day or every 4 hours. (And no worries about draining and rinsing when you are sleeping – they are fine overnight.)
- The sprouts will be ready in a couple of days (up to 6 days depending on what you are sprouting) when the tail is as long as the seed. If you want green leaves, continue to sprout until they are about double the length of the seeds.
- Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator (you can use the mason jar they have been sprouting in). Use within the week.
*Always rinse the sprouts before using.