Seeds and beans contain enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid and various toxins, which make them indigestible. The phytic acid also reacts with many essential minerals and stops their absorption in the intestine. The sprouting process makes it easier to absorb nutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin C.
Sprouting breaks down the legume, which means less work for the digestive system. The process also increases the nutrient content of vitamin A, B and C. Their protein becomes more easily digestible and rich new enzymes and phytonutrients are created.
What to sprout
The following seeds and beans make excellent sprouts –
Mung beans (the beans sprouts commonly found in Chinese cooking)
Avoid sprouting kidney and soy beans as they are toxic unless cooked thoroughly.
How to sprout
- Pour 2 tbsp of legumes (use a mix of the above) into a sieve. Sort through to ensure there are no little stones or broken beans.
- Rinse thoroughly under running water. Put into a bowl, cover in water and leave to soak overnight.
- Pour the soaked legumes into a sieve and rinse well. Place the clean beans into a large jar, cover with cheesecloth (or cut a section out of a pair of tights) and secure with a rubber band.
- Repeat the rinsing process twice a day and keep the jar in a dark cupboard.
- The legumes take 3/4 days to fully sprout, at this point place in an air tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How to use your sprouted legumes
- Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
- Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
- Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of sprouted legumes.
- Puree with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings for a hummus-like dip
- Add to stir fries.
Is sprouting a step too far?
There was definitely a point when I said ‘I’m never going to be that sprouted bean person’ and yet here I am, not only sprouting beans but encouraging other to! But, if you’re not quite there yet, just soaking legumes before eating will have a positive impact on the nutritional content. Simply place the legumes in a pan, cover with water and leave overnight, rinse thoroughly and use as normal.
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