Sprouting – cheap, easy, and healthy

Posted by on Jan 5, 2011 in Nutrition | 1 comment

Sprouted Lentils

It’s entirely possible that your sole exposure to sprouts, thus far, has been alfalfa sprouts at salad bars and slightly slimy bean sprouts at the grocery store. You may not realize that you can make your own sprouts at home, with very little effort. What better way to enjoy fresh vegetables every day, for pennies a serving?

Why sprout?

Sprouts contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and enzymes, all necessary for the body to function optimally. Beyond that, sprouts deliver these nutrients in a form that is easily digested. Sprouts are also inexpensive, and deliciously fresh and colourful!

Having experimented with sprouting various types of beans, I have settled on lentils as the ultimate ‘starter’ sprout. Note that the same instructions can also be used for other types of beans (mung beans, for example), but that they may take somewhat longer to sprout.

What you need:
– 1/2 c dried green lentils (cost ~50cents, possibly less)
– glass jar (capacity ~4cups)
– 2 sheets paper towel
– water

What to do:
– place the lentils in the jar
– half-fill with water
– rinse several times
– fill jar containing rinsed lentils with water
– 12hours later, drain, rinse, and re-fill with water
– 12hours later, repeat
– at this point, your lentils may have started sprouting – if not, repeat one more time
– pour lentils into doubled paper-towel (in a bowl)
– strain, and pour water out
– use a clothes-pin to keep the damp paper-towel closed around the lentils
– twice a day, pour water over paper towel/lentils

What do I do with them once they’re sprouted?
– once the lentils have 1/4 inch sprouts, they can be put in a fresh, damp paper towel, in a plastic bag, and stored in your refrigerator
– they will keep growing pretty much forever, but once you have leaves coming out of your lentils you may no longer want to eat them. I recommend using them in salads within about a week.

Main Course (Taco) Salad Recipe (serves 1 very large main course serving, or 2 large side-servings)

– 4c romaine lettuce, chopped
– 1/2 c snap peas, chopped
– 1 red pepper, chopped
– 1 c sprouted lentils

=> mix together

– add 2tbsp lemon juice
– add 1/4 c salsa
– add 1c chopped fresh cilantro

=> toss

– add 1 chopped avocado

=> toss again, and serve!

Nutritional breakdown (for 1 very large main course serving) [nutritiondata.com]

This food is very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate.

Calories – 445
Fiber – 20g
Protein – 16g
Fat – 23g (high in mono-unsaturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids)

Vitamin A 490% DV (recommended daily value)
Vitamin C 542% DV
Vitamin E 32% DV
Vitamin K 410% DV
Thiamin 42% DV
Riboflavin 39% DV
Niacin 35% DV
Vitamin B6 68% DV
Folate 145% DV

Calcium 16% DV
Iron 48% DV
Magnesium 36% DV
Phosphorus 36% DV
Potassium 62% DV
Zinc 22% DV
copper 39% DV
Manganese 66% DV

One Comment

  1. I picked up a bag of “mumm’s sprouting seeds – spicy lentil crunch” a few weeks back. I sprouted some (VERY quick and easy!) and loved them so much (in salads, sandwiches, and even on their own) that I’ve sprouted them several more times since. It takes about 3 days beginning to end, so when you finish one batch, you can start off the next one – that way you’ll ALWAYS have fresh sprouts.

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