Harvest Monday, February 20, 2012 – Growing Lentil Sprouts

Lentil sprouts, like mung beans sprouts and chickpeas sprouts, are also very easy grow. Can be eaten at any stage. Taste at different stages to find which you like best. I like them when the roots are between ¼ – ½ inch long (24 – 36 hours). Like all sprouts they are low fat, high fiber and a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

I personally do not eat uncooked lentil sprouts, prefer instead to steam them for 3 – 5 minutes (sprouted lentils cook a lot faster). I  always prepare a big batch (2 – 3 cups dry lentil). When the sprouts reach the desired stage, I steam and freeze them for future uses. It  is a quick and convenient way to add protein to meatless dishes especially during the busy garden season.

To Steam: Place rinsed lentil sprouts in a pot, add about 1/8 – 1/4 inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Cool.

To Freeze:
Method 1: Package cooled sprouts into individual meal sized portion. Date, label and freeze.
Method 2: For smaller sized portion, freeze in ice cube trays, once frozen, remove cubes and place in freezer bag or container, date, label and return to freezer.
Method 3: Spread cooled sprouts on a plastic wrap lined rimmed baking sheet, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and place in freezer. Once frozen remove to a freezer bag or container. Date, label and return to freezer.
I do a combination of Methods 1 and 2.

To Use: Since the lentil sprouts in my freezer are cooked, I will (thawed) add to salad;  (thawed or still frozen) add to soups, stews, stir-fry …..

What you will need:
a clean colander
cheese cloth or paper towel
lentils, picked over carefully to get rid of any debris and broken lentils

Method:

Left, dry lentils; right, after soaking for 12 hours
(Click on photo to enlarge)

1. Rinse lentils well in serval changes of water. Place rinsed lentils in a container. Cover with at least 2 inches of warm water. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Line colander with a layer of cheese cloth (prefer) or paper towel, this is to prevent lentils from falling into the holes and clogging them. The holes in my colander are much smaller than the lentils so I did not line it.

3. Drain lentils and spread in colander, cover lentils with a layer of cheese cloth or paper towel. Spray with cool water, drain well. Place colander in a warm spot. Do not place in a closed cabinet where there is no air circulation. I keep mine on the kitchen counter.

4. Rinse lentils with cool water 2 – 3 times daily, drain well after each rinse. Return colander to warm spot. Do not allow cheese cloth or paper towel to dry out between rinses.

This is what the lentil sprouts looked like after 24 hours, roots about 1/8 inch long

This is what the lentil sprouts looked like on the second day (48 hours) roots about ¾ inch long.
Started out with ½ cup dried lentil, ended up with ¾ pounds of lentil sprouts

Four (4) stages of lentil sprouts, notice leaves starting to form on the sprout at right.

Related posts you might be interested in:

Click here for Lentil Sprouts with Pine Nuts Lettuce Wrap

Click here for Lentil Sprouts Soups

Click here for Winter Lentil Sprouts Salad

Copyright © by Norma Chang

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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55 Responses to Harvest Monday, February 20, 2012 – Growing Lentil Sprouts

  1. Maureen says:

    I’ve often thought of growing my own sprouts but I’ve never done it. What a great idea, Norma.

  2. Wilderness says:

    One more thing for me to try. Interesting that you can freeze the lentil sprouts. Do they stay crisp. I tried freezing a few of the mung bean sprouts and they got soggy.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Wilderness,
      Because the lentil sprouts roots are very short I did not have an issue with them being soggy. I am more interested in the lentil beans themselves and like the texture even after frozen.
      I think if you harvest the mung bean sprouts when the roots are just appearing and use them more for the beans than the sprouts they will probably freeze well. I will experiment and get back to you.

  3. Daphne says:

    I’ve made lentil sprouts in the past. Though I make mine in a canning jar with cheese cloth as its lid. I haven’t done any sprouts this year yet.

  4. I love lentils but have never tried them sprouted. Are they more nutritious sprouted than just the legume by itself? I can certainly see where they’d add a lot of texture to a salad.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello B&B,
      From what I have read sprouts are more nutrituous than the legume itself. Also I understand people whose system cannot tolerate legumes are OK with the sprouts because once sprouting begin the legumes become a vegetable. I guess that’s why sprouts cook so much quicker compared to their dried form.

  5. kitsapfg says:

    Interesting. I have a bunch of dried lentils in the pantry that really need to be used – this looks like it would be a good way to do that. My problem is that I am not around during the day to do the rinsing 2 or 3 times. I could do a rinse early morning and late evening but there is no way I can a mid day rinsing. Maybe that is often enough?

  6. Kristen says:

    What a really useful post! I have never thought to sprout my lentils. I bet they make a fabulous addition to salads and such.

  7. Wow – the things you can sprout!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello L,
      Yes, my next project is attempting to sprout peanuts. Had no idea you could sprout peanuts but I read about it and so am going to give it a try. If successful, will write a post in the future and will try to develop some recipes for peanut sprouts.

  8. Sydney Jones says:

    I love having fresh sprouts in the kitchen!! They are so healthy and nutritious not to mention super duper easy to grow! This is a very informative post, Norma :)

  9. Charles says:

    Wow, I had no idea one could do this – what a fantastic idea Norma, thanks so much for sharing this. I’m really looking forward to seeing the recipes too… I definitely need to give this a try!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charles,
      You are welcome. Do give this a try, I think you will like it. Go for the shorter sprouts if you are planning on freezing. Bought all the ingredients to make the dishess but never got around to doing so over the weekend. Must find time to do so this week.
      I read about sprouting peanuts and am going to give it a try.

  10. maryhysong says:

    I never thought of lentil sprouts before! I learn so much from you, Norma!

  11. Liz says:

    I have never heard of lentil sprouts…but that’s the beauty of visiting other bloggers! I’ve learned something new…and thanks for sharing your ideas on how to use these sprouts :)

  12. I always grow my own sprouts, have some in the just now, but never tried lentil. I do add mung beans to my sprouting mixes. Next time will add lentils too. Thank you, Norma for a great post. I am also thankful for your tofu post with a good instruction how to dry it out. My tofu always brakes, now I know why.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marina,
      When you say sprouting mixes, do you mean soaking and sprouting different seeds and beans at the same time in the same sprouting tray or do you sprout each variety on a separate tray? Would love to know how you use your sprouts.

  13. this sounds wonderful! I love lentils but never thought to sprout them to add to salads and etc. Great idea!

  14. Joanne says:

    Mmm these would be so great for adding protein to salads!

  15. These look great! Thanks for all the helpful tips.

  16. City Share says:

    We used to make our own sprouts, but haven’t done it in ages. They are so expensive to purchase. We should totally get back into it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Shu Han says:

    omg I never realised you could sprout your lentils too! that’s awesome, and so healthy at the same time, I’m going to try it tmr.

  18. Purely.. Kay says:

    You always have such valuable information on your website Ms. Norma. Thanks for teaching me more about lentil spouts. I really enjoyed reading this

  19. Very informative post Norma. I too had never heard of sprouted lentils before. I’m just amazed that the sprouts grow so quickly!!!

  20. This is interesting Norma, what is the advantage of eating spouted beans than just cooking the beans as usual?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      From what I read, sprouted beans have a higher nutritional value. As germination begins the bean is now a living thing. Sprouted beans, now becoming a vegetable, cook much, much faster than dried beans.
      I like sprouting beans, especially during the winter months, because this becomes my kitchen garden where I am harvesting home grown vegs.
      Another advantage is because at certain stage sprouted beans freeze well it is a quick way for me to add protein to my diet without much fuss, just open the freezer door.
      One of my friends whose system cannot handle dried beans has no issue with sprouted beans.

  21. wow they realy grow quickly. I have to try this out thats fascinating (but so natural). Cant wait for the recipe! =)

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Helene,
      It really is facinating to watch the transformation that takes place during the sprouting process. That’s why I tend to rinse more frequently than necessary, keep checking the growth progress, and each time I check I give a rinse.

  22. Barbara says:

    Thanks for alerting me to a tofu recipe that I just might like, Norma. :)
    The only time I’ve liked it was in the Caribbean and they did it in a stir fry…very crispy and surrounded with wonderful flavors. Wish I had asked the chef for the recipe. Must have been the combo of flavors because I’ve tried it many times since and never cared for it.

    I eat lentils frequently and do love other sprouts..will have to try this. Sure looks simple enough.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barbara,
      Let me know how you like the Hoisin Tofu dish. You might also like my other 2 tofu posts: 12/12/11 and 1/6/12. Below are the links.


      Hello Barbara,

      Will be posting my lentil sprouts recipes starting tomorrow, need to get the photos together.

  23. Juliana says:

    Norma…for the first time I sprouted garbanzo beans….I will definitely post it when I cook them…now I must try lentils…I am learning so much from you…thank you!
    Hope you are having a fabulous week :)

  24. We always have sprouts on hand and have it on everything! It’s so simple to make, packed with nutrients :) Thanks for the step-by-step tutorial. It’s essential for those who thought making it is so difficult.

  25. Diana says:

    I never try sprouts before. Been meaning to do it but have not. Should put it in things I Iike to do in 2012 year.

  26. mac says:

    Have you tried growing the sprouts longer? I’m more interested in the sprouts than the legumes, not a dried bean person. I like the freezing part if it doesn’t make the sprouts soggy.

  27. Pingback: Grow lentils | Jamesandjennif

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