We’ve decided to give sprouting our beans and lentils a try instead of just soaking them. There are a few added benefits to sprouting versus simply soaking your beans or lentils. First off you are changing the little bean from just a bean to a tiny live plant, unlocking the anti-nutrients (Phytic Acid and enzyme inhibitors) that keep you from absorbing all the wonderful goodies that are contained in each seed. Phytic acid binds with the calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc, making it difficult or impossible for you to absorb these nutrients. Simply put, sprouting neutralizes the Phytic Acid increasing digestibility of these nutrients.
According to Sprout People, sprouted lentils (since that is what we are sprouting today) is loaded with extra A, B, C, and E vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, phosphorus and a good source of protein. You can see their Sprout Nutrition Document page to see a list of more of what nutrients can be found in lentils as well as many other bean/seed sprouts.
Sprouting also improves digestibility even more than just soaking. Wendy Rudell of Raw Transformation says: “Soaking will also help to diminish some of the fat content and will help convert the dense vegetable protein to simpler amino acids for easier digestion. The more complex carbohydrates in the foods will also start to break down into the simpler glucose molecules”.
And according to Sally Fallon from the Weston A. Price Foundation: “Sprouting inactivates aflatoxins, a potent carcinogens found in grains”. Nourishing Traditions, pg 112.
The process of sprouting beans is not really any more difficult than soaking them. Though some beans can take up to 2 or 3 days to sprout, we found that was not the case with our lentils.
First, simply place your beans/lentils in a pot and cover with water, just as you would normally, and let sit over-night. In the morning drain and rinse them and put them onto a cookie sheet or baking dish to dry. We sat ours on the bar where the rotating fan would blow over them some to help the drying process.
Since the lentils were sprouted by the morning, they are ready for cooking. But most beans aren’t going to sprout that quickly. You need to rinse them at least twice a day; rinse, dry, rinse dry, for 2 to 3 days or until you see they have sprouted. This is when they are ready to cook.
Water or bone broth
1. Measure out the amount of lentils you want to cook. 1 cup of dried lentils equals about 2 cups when cooked.
2. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Just like cooking rice, use a 2 to 1 water ratio. If you’re using 1 cup of dried/sprouted lentils then use 2 cups of water.
3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
4. Cook until you’ve reached the desired tenderness. Can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
5. Season as desired and enjoy.
Next I think we will sprout some pinto beans to use for making re-fried beans.