Saturday, June 11, 2005

A Primer on Sprouting Lentils

The goal: To convert dry whole beans and lentils into lush sprouted beans and lentils in just a couple of days.

Why would you want to sprout? The nutritional value of beans and lentils goes through the roof once they are sprouted. You simply end up with more bang for your buck. Sprouting can also make beans and lentils more digestible.

How to sprout, the low tech way: I assure you that every kitchen has the tools to make sprouts at home. All you need is a strainer or a colander and a clean cotton cloth or dishcloth.

1. SOAK. Take a cup of lentils ( I used the brown supermarket variety). Place them in a bowl and rinse 2-3 times. Then leave them soaked in warm water for 6-8 hours. By this time they get hydrated and plump up like so-

2. SET UP. Take a colander and line it with a clean cotton cloth (such as an handkerchief) or layers of cheesecloth. Place the plumped lentils in the colander and fold the cloth over them.


3. RINSE and REPEAT. Place colander under a sink and flow warm water over it for few seconds. Let the water drain and leave the lentils for 12 hours. Repeat the rinsing twice a day for a couple of days (say in the morning when you are making coffee and at night when you are clearing up after dinner) and this is what you end up with.

So with the minimum of effort, you now have 3-4 cups of fresh wonderful sprouts. For my first IMBB ever, in the days before my own blog existed, I made this recipe. There are many other ways to use sprouts however. Here is what I did with these lentils: I nuked them for 7-8 minutes (in bursts of 2 minutes) to get them slightly tender. Then I added halved cheery tomatoes, halved baby vidalia onions and dressed with lemon juice, salt and "chaat masala" to make a nice summer salad.


  1. This is how I'm gonna (try and) sprout fenugreek seeds - I'm planning to grow my own methi! :)

  2. Hey Shammi,
    Will you please let me know if it works ? I'd love to try it too. But what do you think...will you plant the seeds in soil once they sprout ?

  3. Your sprouts look lovely. I use the more common mung beans. I love alfalfa & broccoli sprouts that supermarkets have. Do you know how those are made? BTW, blanched sprouts can be served mixed with boiled potato, green & sweet chutneys, yogurt and lime juice as a healthy chaat.

  4. Nupur, yup, I'll plant them in soil once they sprout, and hope for the best. It would be absolutely wonderful if it works, and you bet I'll let you know! I'll prob'ly end up letting the whole world know. :)

  5. Hi Mika, yeah I love sprouts chaat :) I have never tried making alfa-alfa or broccoli sprouts though...maybe health-food stores sell the seeds. Must try that sometime.

    Hey Shammi, good luck with the methi sprouts !!

  6. Hi Nupur,

    Neat recipe!! but can i substitue it with any variety of sprouts? U have used methi in the said recipe.... right ? how abt moong? will it taste just as good? Wanna try this recipe, but need to confirm abt let me know... thx. Pallavi

  7. Pallavi, I wonder what recipe you are talking about...I have never sprouted methi (though I know people do), I usually sprout masoor (brown whole lentils), moong (the whole green kind), and matki/moth, also a type of bean called vaal.
    So yes, moong works fine. the whole kind, NOT the split yellow moong.

  8. hi
    i tried sprouting green (moong) dhal which i bought from the indian stores, but only the top most layer got plumpy after soaking ( 8-15 hrs)and the rest below stayed dry , can someone tell me why and how to evenely sprout the moong

  9. Thanks so much for taking the time to post how to make sprouts and with pictures! I was looking on the net trying to figure it out and your site was a wonderful one to find.


  10. I can very successfully sprout mung beans. The first time I did brown beans - was successful. However, I am now finding it very difficult to get brown beans to sprout. Bought the beans in the Indian store. Does it need to be a special variety. Any tips would be helpful.

  11. OK... I tried doing this using kidney beans (not the usual thing, but it's what I had in my cupboard) and some of them had sprouted nicely and others never really did. I made a salad out of the ones that had sprouted and a while later I got sick. Like projectile vomiting sick. I may try again with lentils (when I get up the courage) but stay away from the kidney beans.

  12. Dear craig, kidney beans need to be cooked after sprouting. Most other sprouts can be eaten without cooking. If you do not cook it can cause stomach ache or vomiting similar to food poisoning. Not recommended for breastfeeding mums for this reason.

  13. My favourites are green lentils sprouted for 2 days then eaten raw. They have a nutty almost spicy spicy taste and are lovely and cruchy - ceat them by the handful!

    To sprout them I have a three tier sprouter that I bought from a health food store - it seemed a bit extravagant at the time - but was worth every penny - it makes sprouting seeds so easy! I even use it before planting beans in the garden!

  14. why would you nuke them and kill all the vital living enzymes you spent 3 days creating?

  15. Hi Nupur..thanks for your lovely blogs. I wanted to know how do I sprout lentils in extremely cold/freezing temps, like in the mid-west. Thanks.

  16. Thanks for the blog. Have been having a go at sprouting this week and am still only 5'11'' never mind ;o)

    Seriously I have just been sprouting green lentils this week and was not sure at what point to eat them. The spouts are a good few cms but the round lentil bit is still there - I guess I was expecting the whole lentil to sprout but judging by your pics this aint gonna happen so I might just tuck into some right now!

    Regarding the nuking bit though Im with Blankfield - surely they are best eaten raw, like mixed into a salad, to preserve all the nutrients??

  17. Toxins in Pulses (beans)

    Consumers should be aware that it is not safe to eat raw or undercooked kidney and soya beans. There is no need to avoid them as long as they are thoroughly cooked.

    Red kidney beans: Incidents of food poisoning have been reported associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked red kidney beans. Symptoms may develop after eating only four raw beans and include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain followed by diarrhoea. A naturally occurring haemaglutin is responsible for the illness, but can be destroyed by high temperature cooking, making the beans completely safe to eat. For this reason, kidney beans must not be sprouted. Kidney beans should be soaked for at least 8 hours in enough cold water to keep them covered. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans, discarding the soaking water. Put them into a pan with cold water to cover and bring to the boil. The beans must now boil for 10 minutes to destroy the toxin. After this the beans should be simmered until cooked (approximately 45-60 minutes) and they should have an even creamy texture throughout - if the centre is still hard and white, they require longer cooking.

    Soya beans: Contain an anti-trypsin factor (or trypsin inhibitor) which prevents the assimilation of the amino acid methionine. Soya beans also require careful cooking to ensure destruction of this factor. They should be soaked for at least 12 hours, drained and rinsed then covered with fresh water and brought to the boil. Soya beans should be boiled for the first hour of cooking. They can then be simmered for the remaining 2-3 hours that it takes to cook them.

    Soya flour should state heat treated on its packaging. Other soya products (e.g. tofu, tempeh, soya milk, soya sauces and miso) are quite safe to use. Soya beans can be sprouted, but the sprouts should be quickly blanched in boiling water to inactivate the trypsin inhibitor.

  18. How long do the sprouted lentils preserve, say in a tupperware in the fridge?


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