Lentils are a wonderful addition to your diet. They have been eaten for generations in everything from hearty lentil soups to spicy Dahls. They are a great addition to any diet as they are an excellent source of inexpensive protein.
Lentils are a legume, just like beans. Because of this they naturally contain certain anti-nutrients that protect them. One of these is phytic acid and another is enzyme inhibitors. Both of these can make legumes hard to digest and problematic if legumes are a huge part of the diet.
To neutralize these naturally occurring properties you might want to consider sprouting your lentils. It is really easy, takes only minutes of your time each day, and can make eating lentils even easier on your body in the long-run.
And the good news is lentils are one of the easiest legumes to sprout.
The Lentil Sprouting Process
- First you need to decide how far you want to take the sprouting process. If you are cooking the lentils in a soup or Dahl then you will only want a bit of sprout. If you are using them in sandwiches or in salads you will want a longer sprout.
- The longer sprout will take up a lot more room and so you will need a larger vessel for sprouting. I recommend either a large colander or a gallon jar for two cups of long-sprouted lentils. For the short-sprouted lentils you can use a quart or half-gallon jar.
- Your first step is to rinse and soak the lentils overnight. This starts the sprouting process by waking them up with rehydration.
- In the morning drain and rinse the lentils thoroughly. If you are using a jar with a sprouting screen you will now invert that jar to allow any extra water to run off. If you are using a colander you will leave this over a bowl or sink and cover it with a towel in order to keep airflow while keeping bugs out.
- Later in the day you will want to rinse and drain the lentils again. Two to three times per day is optimal, always rinsing more frequently in warmer weather.
- You will repeat this rinsing and draining process two to three times per day until the lentils have sprouted to the length you desire. For short-sprouted lentils (ideal for soups, stews, etc.) this should take around three days. For longer sprouted lentils this could take around five days.
- Once your lentils are sprouted to your liking give them one last good rinse and really good drain. Then you can store them in the refrigerator for around a week or until you are ready to use them.