Lentil sprouts are characterized by tiny roots growing out of the lens-shaped grains of pulses. They are usually obtained by soaking the dried grains in water for several days with the timing varying considerably with each type of lentil used. The grain belonging to the legume family can be of multiple colors ranging from green to yellow, orange, white and black.
The lentils can be sprouted within a couple of days and start sporting leaves within a week. The seven-day variety replete with tiny cotyledon leaves is also consumed as sprouts. They can be preserved by refrigeration and usually last for up to two weeks under such conditions. The sprouted lentils can be eaten raw or in the cooked form. They are occasionally added to salads and sandwich fillings as well. While each type of lentil sprout has its own unique flavor most of them are favored for providing a hint of spiciness.
The sprouts are extremely nutritious and contain proteins along with every form of essential amino acids. They are also rich in Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
Growing Lentil Sprouts
- Almost all types of lentils can be sprouted at home with the larger sized grains taking a comparatively longer period to sprout.
- The dried grains are considered to be the most suitable for sprouting regardless of its color or variety.
- A small amount of lentils is enough for sprouting, as they swell to almost four times the size on being soaked in water.
- The lentil grains need to be washed thoroughly in order to get rid of dirt and toxins accumulated on its surface before being placed in a wide-mouthed jar, and topped with water.
- The container is covered with a light cheesecloth like material and placed in a cool and semi-dark environment. The sprouting initiates after a period of eight to ten hours when the grains need to be drained and rinsed.
- The sprouts are usually ready for harvesting within three to four days after the roots measure ½ inch in length. They can also be eaten after a day or two according to personal preference.
Culinary Uses of Lentil Sprouts
The sprouts can be eaten raw as well as cooked into delicious dishes. They are frequently mixed with flours and baked into breads as well. Some of the popular recipes that make use of sprouted lentils are:-
- Lentil-Bulgur Salad- A mixed salad of bulgur, tomatoes, sprouts, and capers seasoned with salt and black pepper and served on lettuce leaves.
- Curried Sprouts- A tasty dish prepared by sautéing the sprouts along with ginger, onions, and whole cloves with curry powder. It is served with a cilantro sauce as accompaniment.
Lentil sprouts are mentioned in the Holy Bible as an important item that Jacob could trade in exchange for his birthright.