sprouted lentils – how and why to do it

I haven’t always known how to sprout lentils, so I was glad to find out it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Sprouted lentils are a delicious, healthy addition to your favourite sandwich, stirfry, or my favourite: this herbed sourdough bread recipe!

When I say sprouted lentils are as easy as 1-2-3, I mean it literally.

  1. Spend one minute
  2. Do it two times a day
  3. For three days

I think the process of sprouting lentils is so incredible! Dried lentils look absolutely lifeless, but if you simply add water to them, they come alive and grow again! They’re like a little food miracle waiting to happen.

And it’s SO easy! Essentially, you’ll start by soaking the lentils. Then every 12 hours you’ll rinse them. Within a few days, your lentil sprouts are ready!

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How to sprout lentils (& everything else you need to know)

why sprouted lentils are a smart choice

I wasn’t able to find any studies that specifically analyzed lentil sprouts, but other legumes have been researched for their nutritional quality after being sprouted. In this study, sprouting cowpeas resulted in:

  • 9-12% more protein
  • 4-38 TIMES more Vitamin C
  • 4-16 TIMES less phytic acid
  • decreased trypsin inhibitor activity by 28-55%

Phytic acid is known as an anti-nutrient that binds to minerals such as iron and zinc, rendering them unavailable for the body to absorb. Lentils are a good source of total iron, but some of it gets lost to the phytic acid…. so reducing this compound is a huge bonus!

Day 1 of sprouting lentils:

If you plan on using your lentils raw, I recommend “cleaning” the lentils first. There’s a chance that the dry lentils could be contaminated with harmful bacteria that could make you sick. I compare eating raw sprouts to eating raw chicken…. you won’t always get sick but the risk is elevated. It’s much safer to cook chicken first! In this case, it’s much safer to sanitize the dry lentils before sprouting. Follow these instructions for sanitizing seeds.

After you’ve sanitized the lentils, measure out 1 cup and place in a 1 quart mason jar fitted with a screen instead of the metal “lid.” I had an extra roll of window screen around so I cut a square of it for sprouting lentils. Window screening is easily found at your local hardware store. Alternatively, you could also order a lid specifically designed for sprouting.

Fill the jar with water and allow the lentils to soak for 12 hours.

lentils soaking before sprouting

Day 1 (12 hours) of sprouting lentils:

After 12 hours, the lentils have absorbed water and have softened, but they don’t look any different yet.

Fill the jar with water and immediately dump the water out. Repeat. Then try to shake as much water out as you can. Rest the jar on its side. Keep out of direct sunlight.

the beginning of the lentil sprouting process

Day 2 (24 hours) of sprouting lentils:

At this point you should see the lentils just starting to sprout a tiny white tail. The magic is starting to happen!

Fill the jar with water and immediately dump the water out. Repeat. Then try to shake as much water out as you can. Rest the jar on its side. Keep out of direct sunlight.

lentils sprouting

Day 2 (36 hours) of sprouting lentils:

Those little white tails are getting longer!

Fill the jar with water and immediately dump the water out. Repeat. Then try to shake as much water out as you can. Rest the jar on its side. Keep out of direct sunlight.

sprouted lentils in a jar

Day 3 (48 hours) of sprouting lentils:

At this point there’s a little green end to the white sprout. Lentils are ready!

Fill the jar with water and immediately dump the water out. Repeat. Then try to shake as much water out as you can. Keep them in the fridge, and use them within a couple of days.

Most important, try baking a loaf of this herbed sprouted lentil sourdough bread! It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s not hard to make!

sprouted lentils

Want more recipes with lentils?

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