Lentils sprout quickly and easily. Learn all about sprouting lentils, how to sprout lentils, sprouted lentil benefits and how to use here!
What are Sprouted Lentils?
Sprouted lentils have been rinsed in cold water and drained, then allowed to sit in direct sunlight, starting the germination process. When the germination process begins, lentils produce small shoots, which is what we mean by sprouted.
Sprouted lentils are delicious, adding a crunchy texture and refreshing flavor to salads, stir-fries, curries, sandwiches, soups and other dishes, and they are packed full of nutrients.
Another reason to sprout your lentils is that, unlike regular lentils, you will be able to eat them raw or cooked.
Types of Lentils
Lentils are categorized as legumes because they grow in pods like peas and beans.
Lentils are particularly popular with vegans because they are a good source of nutrition, particularly protein, iron, B vitamins, and Vitamin C, which help with iron absorption. They are also naturally gluten-free.
There are three main types of lentils:
Brown lentils - brown lentils are the most common type of lentils, ranging in color from almost khaki to black. It takes around 20-30 minutes to cook brown lentils, and they’re a good choice if you’re making a dish where you want some texture, such as lentil chili because they hold their shape well. Brown lentils have a mild, earthy flavor which deepens as the color darkens. Black lentils have a rich flavor and boast high amounts of protein, calcium, potassium and iron.
Red lentils - with a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste, red lentils are fantastic in lentil dal! They disintegrate more during cooking than other kinds of lentils, making them a good choice for curries and soups. You can sprout red lentils, but brown and green lentils yield better results.
Green lentils - Green lentils have a more robust flavor than red or brown ones, with slightly peppery notes, making them a tremendous stand-alone ingredient and a fabulous addition to a salad. They have the longest cooking time, usually taking around 45 minutes. French green lentils are my favorite kind for sprouting!
Benefits of Sprouted Lentils
Aside from sprouted lentils being delicious, there are also a few other benefits!
Sprouting lentils neutralizes phytic acid, an anti-nutrient because it prevents your body from absorbing essential minerals. The neutralization of phytic acid means that sprouted lentils don’t need to be cooked, saving you time and energy. It also means that digestion is easier; some people find they get less bloating and gas when eating sprouted lentils than cooked ones.
Additionally, sprouting lentils increases the bioavailability of nutrients, including Vitamins B and C. Vitamin B is essential for energy levels, brain function and cell metabolism. Vitamin C maintains a healthy immune system, helps you absorb iron, and helps form muscle and collagen in bones. Sprouted lentils are also a good source of potassium, ensuring healthy muscle function - including your heart.
Sprouted lentils have all the great flavors you find in regular lentils, plus the rich, grassy flavor of the shoot itself, which complements a variety of foods.
How to Sprout Lentils
You will need:
- ½ a cup of dried lentils (French green lentils are my favorite!)
- 3 cups of cold water
- A mason jar with a lid or a sprouting lid (lentils will triple in size). Ensure the jar is big enough for the lentils after absorbing the water.
See below for my equipment recommendations.
To sprout lentils:
Begin by placing your lentils into the glass jar and covering them with the water. Then, either loosely screw on the lid or place a cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Leave them to soak for at least 8 hours, and preferably overnight.
Once the lentils are soaked, drain them and return them to the jar.
Next, cover the jar. You can use either the cheesecloth method or a mesh sprouting lid. Then, place the jar on a sprouting stand or simply lay it on its side - which you choose is down to your personal preference.
Rinse and drain the lentils once a day for 2-3 days, or until you are happy with the size of the sprouts. I usually find that three days is perfect!
One of the great things about sprouting (and there are lots!) is that you don’t need a whole lot of equipment. All you’ll need is:
- Jars - any jar 16oz and up will work. I like these 32-ounce wide mouth jars because they come with lids (aren’t lids hard to keep hold of?), and they are thick glass so that they can withstand a lot of use.
- Cheesecloth (or any thin fabric) and a rubber band - material allows air to get to the lentils, which is essential for sprouting.
- Lids and stands (optional) - if you’re going to be sprouting regularly, these lids and stands will make your life easier because they are easier to clean than cloth lids. They also allow increased airflow.
How to Use Sprouted Lentils
Sprouted lentils improve almost any meal! Some of my favorite ways to use sprouted lentils are:
- On top of hummus on toast.
- Sprinkled on top of a fresh green salad or strawberry goat cheese salad.
- Mixed through slaw.
- Add a little crunch to your buddha bowl!
- Top off a slice of pizza.
- Sprinkle on baked potatoes.
- Mix into soups or chilis.
They also make a fabulous snack on their own; try adding a little chile if you enjoy extra heat!
Storing Lentil Sprouts
To store lentil sprouts, ensure they are dry (otherwise, they can lose some of their crunch and won’t keep as well). Do this by blotting them with a paper towel.
Then, transfer them to a clean, dry dish, bowl or container. Cover the sprouts for best results - they will stay fresh for 7-10 days.
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How To Sprout Lentils
- ½ cup dried lentils French green are my favorite!
- 3 cups cold water
- Place the lentils into the glass jar and cover with the water. Then, either loosely screw on the lid or place a cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Leave the lentils to soak for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
- Once the lentils are soaked, drain them and return them to the jar.
- Next, cover the jar. You can use either the cheesecloth method or a mesh sprouting lid. Then, place the jar on a sprouting stand or simply lay it on its side - which you choose is down to your personal preference.
- Rinse and drain the lentils once a day for 2-3 days, or until you are happy with the size of the sprouts.