A Quick How-To: Sprouting Lentils

This is a really quick post to share a really quick way to add variety and texture to your daily meals. Like many plant foods, lentils offer different nutrients when they're raw as compared to when they are cooked. Cooked lentils are our main source of sustenance in this house, but we eat these raw sprouted lentils a few times a week, too. You can add them to salads, sandwiches, and soups - they're extremely versatile.

Directions:

1. Add 1/2 cup of lentils to a quart-sized jar, then fill jar with water until about three-quarters full.

2. Cover with a sprouting lid, or if you prefer, some cheesecloth. I use the sprouting lids found here.

3. Soak lentils for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

4. Drain water from jar by simply pouring water out through the lid (or the cheesecloth). Rinse the lentils by removing the lid to fill the jar with new water and immediately draining, repeating several times.

5. Repeat rinsing and draining 2-3 times a day, until sprout tails reach desired length, approximately 1/2 to 1 inch long. (This may take anywhere from 2-4 days, depending on the temperature in your house.)

6. Let the jar drain really well one last time, then store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Sprouted lentils can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches, or can be cooked in place of dry lentils.

If you don't already enjoy lentils in your regular diet and need some persuasion, I will say this: I feel that I owe a lot of my well-being to lentils! Whether cooked or sprouted, they are an excellent source of folate, iron, fiber, and protein and are also a good source of copper, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B1, potassium, and vitamin B6. In fact eating lots of lentils was one way I ensured my iron levels stayed high when I was pregnant. They're cheap, easy to cook or sprout, and provide a steady source of energy.

Ok, that's my love letter to lentils. Try sprouting them. It's fun! And look for future lentil recipes here at el nido in the near future.