Any plant-based diet requires the consumption of high protein plant-based foods. Beans or legumes are an excellent way to fill that need! I recently chose to add a greater amount of lentils into my diet as they are easily one of my favorites, easy to store and prepare, and are a very inexpensive plant-based protein source.
Lentils have been eaten for generations all over the world as a side dish as well as main courses and soups. They do, however, contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which can make them hard to digest; that’s easily avoided, however, as sprouting them can neutralize these naturally occurring properties and make them a safe part of your diet. Sprouted beans are great addition to any diet and can make for a fun in-home experiment.
How to Sprout Lentils:
- To get started, decide how long you want to continue the sprouting process. For use in cooked recipes, go with a shorter sprout. If you are using the sprouts in a raw recipe like sandwiches or in salads, you will want a longer sprout.
- Choose your sprouting vessel! A jar with a screened lid works nicely or you can use a covered colander or a bowl with cheese cloth over it. The beans just need to breathe without any bugs getting in.
- Measure out your lentils. Short sprouts (3 days) can be placed in a mason jar as they do not need much room to grow. The longer sprout (5 days) will take a lot of room so be sure to use a large one gallon glass jar or bowl for two cups of lentils.
- Next, rinse and sort through the beans, picking out any ones that don’t look right. Then soak the lentils overnight in filtered water. This will start the sprouting process by rehydrating them.
- In the morning drain the water from the lentils with a colander and rinse them again thoroughly.
- Later in the day you will want to rinse and drain the lentils again. Two to three times per day is optimal, always rinsing more frequently in warmer weather.
- Repeat this rinsing and draining process at least three times a day until the lentils have sprouted to the length you desire.
- Once your lentils are good and sprouted, rinse them one last time and drain them until mostly dry. Store them in the refrigerator for around a week or until you are ready to use them.
Sprouted Lentil Salad with Honey Almond Dressing
- 1/4 cup really good olive oil
- 4 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- 2–4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw local honey or vegan sweetener
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch organic red kale: washed, deveined, and chopped
- 2 cups sprouted lentils
- 1 small bunch green onions, washed and chopped
Make your dressing by combining the olive oil, 3 tablespoons of toasted almonds, apple cider vinegar, sweetener, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth.
Combine your kale and sprouted lentils in a bowl and pour the dressing over. Toss to coat all ingredients with the dressing. Sprinkle onions and remaining almond slivers on top and serve!
Store any leftovers in the fridge. The kale doesn’t wilt, so it makes a great second meal!