Sprouting Lentils

by Meg Cotner on February 26, 2010

I love sprouting lentils.  It’s easy to do, fun to watch the lentils grow their little sprout tails, and by doing this their nutritional value gets a big boost.  Sprouting also makes them easier to digest by neutralizing the phytic acid, which is found in all grains and seeds.  Additionally, sprouted lentils provide two amino acids – methionine and cystine – that unsprouted lentils do not.

Throughout history, sprouting has been a traditional treatment of seeds and grains prior to eating.  The Chinese knew about the benefits of sprouting centuries ago, sprouting mung beans in order to prevent scurvy (germinated seeds contain vitamin C ).  In the West, myriad beers were made from sprouted grains.

lentils under water

lentils after first soaking

Your lentils must be organic; conventionally grown lentils will not sprout.  Sprouting should only take a couple of days from start to finish.  I like to use a colander as the vessel for my lentil sprouting.  Here is a reasonable timeline:

  • In the evening put the lentils in a bowl and cover with water.
  • The next morning, rinse the lentils in a colander, and shake out as much water as you can.  Leave the lentils in the colander, and place it on a plate covered with a towel.  Cover the lentils with another towel and set someplace where the lentils will be undisturbed.
  • That evening, repeat the process.  The next morning, repeat the process.
  • That evening, your lentils should have little sprouts coming out of them!

You can repeat this for a couple more days, depending on how long you want the sprouts to be.  For lentils, it’s best for the sprouts to be no longer than a quarter inch.

rinsed lentils

baby sprouts

So, how do they taste?  As delicious as unsprouted lentils.  Just like with any legume, it’s best to not eat them raw.  They are great lightly steamed, or used in my favorite way, in delicious sprouted lentil soup.

Happy sprouting!

sprouts up close

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