Soaking and then sprouting your legumes is an easy and inexpensive way to boost the nutritional content.
All plant seeds naturally contain substances called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients protect the plant from predators, and also prevent the seed from sprouting too soon. But they also interfere with our ability to digest vitamins and minerals within the seeds.
Phytic acid, one of the best known anti-nutrients, can prevent our bodies from absorbing calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. By sprouting the legumes, we inhibit the phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors present in the seed.
The Benefits of Sprouting include:
- increases the protein, vitamins, and fiber in the legumes.
- makes the legumes easier to digest.
- helps our body to absorb minerals in the legumes.
- provides anti-cancer benefits.
- lowers the calorie content.
- reduces allergens.
- makes the legumes more alkalizing.
- provides a fun science experiment for your kids!
Now on to the fun part!
How to Sprout Legumes
- Buy raw legumes such as chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, black beans, navy beans, etc. The fresher, the better. Do not use split peas (they don’t sprout, or at least they didn’t for me and I ended up with a super smelly mess which I had to throw away). We don’t want the cooked beans in a can here, we want the dry, hard beans usually sold in a bag.
- Rinse your legumes and place them in a very clean bowl or jar, with enough filtered water to cover by a few inches. They will expand while soaking and absorb a lot of water, so make sure to use enough water. Cover the container with a towel to keep bugs out.
- Soak the legumes in water overnight, or for about 8 hours.
- Drain the legumes and place in a shallow bowl or colander, covered with a kitchen towel. Or use one of the 3 options listed below. Keep the legumes on the counter at room temperature, where they can be exposed to air. I use a sprouting jar (see below) and leave it inverted over a bowl so that it can drain.
- Every 8-12 hours, rinse and drain the legumes with filtered water. Depending on the type of legume and the temperature of your kitchen, after a couple of days you’ll start to notice cute little sprouts. Continue rinsing and draining every 8-12 hours until the sprouts have grown to desired length.
- That’s it! Now just rinse, drain well, and store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Sprouting Option 1
Use a sprouting jar, like this one (where to buy)…
Sprouting Option 2
Or you can use a sprouting lid with your own jar (where to buy)…
Sprouting Option 3
Make your own sprouting jar (tutorial here)…
Sprouting Option 4
Or you can use any large bowl or jar you have lying around the house for the soaking part. And when it’s time to sprout the legumes you can use a shallow bowl or colander covered with a kitchen towel.
How to Eat Sprouted Legumes
Your sprouted legumes can be cooked in water until tender. Or you can add them to soups and stews and cook them. I’ve also made a raw sprouted chickpeas hummus before which was very nice.
My favorite way to eat sprouted legumes is in this Sprouted Chickpeas Hummus and in Sprouted Foul Medames (recipe coming soon inshAllah).