Sprouted foods – whole grains, nuts, and legumes – are healthy. While sprouting is rather a simple process, I failed miserably trying to sprout chickpeas, but have a lot of success with lentils. I have not tried yet with whole grains like quinoa, rice, or amaranth, or with the other legumes that can be sprout safely (garden peas, sugar snap, adzuki beans, and mung beans), but I’m planning to!
To sprout lentils, you need:
- Some green, brown, or French lentils (I use 2-3 tablespoons of dry lentils)
- Filtered water
- A glass jar (the one I use has a 2-cup capacity), washed
- A piece of tulle (I washed it before use) or cheesecloth
- 1 elastic band
- An empty egg carton
- Using a colander, rinse the lentils under cold running water until the water runs clear. Transfer them into the clean glass jar, cover with some filtered water plus 3 cm or so, throw away any floating seeds and debris, and soak the lentils overnight for 10 hours (picture 1).
2. After soaking, cover the mouse of the jar with the piece of tulle/cheesecloth, keeping it in place with a rubber band. (Using the fabric allows to easily rinse and drain the lentils during the germination phase. There is no need to remove the fabric until the lentils are fully sprouted.) Drain the water out through the tulle/cheesecloth, and rinse the lentils three times, shaking to rinse thoroughly, with fresh water at room temperature.
Place the jar down at a 45 degrees angle on the egg carton (I had to cut a bit of the rising part) as this will allow the remaining water to drain out and the air to circulate. (Drainage is important. The lentils should be humid, but not soak in water, otherwise they will get moldy, and become unsuitable for consumption.) Place the jar/egg carton in a clear location, but not in the direct sunlight. (picture 2)
3. Continue to rinse and drain the lentils two times a day (three times if the weather is hot) until the lentils are done sprouting. After each rinse, gently shake the jar to spread the lentils along its full length, and replace the jar on the egg carton.
Lentils usually take about three days to be sprouted. At 4-5 days of sprouting they would have young green leaves (picture 3), and this is when we prefer to eat them. When the sprouting is finished, rinse the lentils, and spread them on a towel paper to dry a bit. Then store them in a food container in the fridge, and eat them within a week (rinse before eating). Sprouted lentils can be eaten raw (when fully sprouted), or lightly cooked.
Green salad with sprouted lentils
This is the simple green salad I made with raw 4-day sprouted lentils (I started with 1 large tablespoon of dry lentils), lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon, and a bit of Himalayan salt.