Sprouted lentils are tasty and great for sandwiches, salads, wraps and Buddha bowls. If you’ve ever wondered how to sprout lentils at home, let me tell you that it’s easy and totally worth it. Cheaper than buying sprouts at the supermarket, home sprouted lentils are versatile and packed with flavour and nutrition!
Roll out your shag carpets, it’s sprouting time! Over the last few months I’ve totally gotten into “hippie” things like fermenting and sprouting. My kitchen is filled with big jars of sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented beets and various flours attempting to capture wild yeast for breads.
Sprouting is my new favourite thing because it’s so easy and cheap! It’s really hard to find any kind of sprouts where I live, the only place I know that sells them is an organic market that charges almost four euros for a small package. Four euros!!! I can get a whole kilo of lentils for 1.49 and since sprouted lentils triple or quadruple in volume, that’ll make a whole lot of sprouts!
Benefits of Sprouted Lentils
Firstly, they taste good! They’ve got an earthy, slightly peppery taste that combines well with fresh greens, tomatoes and herbs. You can eat them raw, which adds a nice crunch to your dish, or blanch them for a minute to soften them both in texture and in taste.
When you sprout lentils or other legumes you make them easier to digest and you also increase their nutritional content, especially vitamins B and C. As all vegans on a budget know, dried beans and lentils are some of the cheapest staples in your kitchen and should form the backbone of your diet. They’re packed with fibre and fill you up quickly.
How to Sprout Lentils
Ok, now on to the fun part: how to sprout lentils! Sprouting lentils is super duper easy and if you’re like me and kill every houseplant that comes through your door, you’ll feel really accomplished to have managed to grow something!
You simply need to soak your desired quantity of lentils in water overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse them and leave them in a jar to sprout. You can use regular supermarket lentils or if you're worried about how they are produced, you can seek out organic lentils.
There are several techniques for the sprouting phase, what’s important is that you don’t want them sitting in water and they should have good air circulation. As you can see in my photo, I covered the lid of the jar with a mesh cloth and propped it upside down on top of some chopsticks to drain. You can also just lay the jar down on its side (be careful that it doesn’t roll off the counter!).
Some websites will tell you to put your jar in a sunny spot. In fact seeds don’t need sun to germinate since they’re under the ground anyway. I keep my jar in my windowless kitchen and the lentils sprout as they should, so don’t worry too much about whether or not they need to be in the sun.
Come back to your jar a couple times a day, give your lentils a rinse and return the drained lentils to the jar. After as soon as 24 hours you may see some little tails starting to form. After about two days the lentils will have nice tails and will have approximately tripled in volume. Leave them another day and you’ll have approximately quadruple the volume of lentils that you started with.
You can eat your sprouted lentils at any time, taste them as they grow and use them at the time you prefer their taste and texture. For me, I eat them after 2 – 3 days of sprouting. Once they’re reached they’re desired size, keep them in the fridge for up to a week (if they’ll last that long without you eating them!).
Try these recipes with sprouted lentils:
How to Sprout Lentils
- Dried lentils
- A jar
- You can use regular supermarket lentils or seek out organic lentils if you prefer. Place your desired quantity of dried lentils in a jar and cover with water. Sprouted lentils will triple or quadruple in volume so decide how many cups of sprouts you want to end up with. Leave to soak overnight.
- The next morning, drain and rinse your lentils. Return them to the jar without water and either cover the jar with fabric or poke holes in it's metal lid. Turn the jar upside down, propped up on chopstick for drainage and air circulation, or lay the jar on it's side.
- Come back to your lentils twice a day and give them a rinse and drain. After 24 hours you may start to see little tails forming.
- After 2 - 3 days your sprouted lentils are ready to eat. Taste them as they sprout and eat them when you like the taste. Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to a week.
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