Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sprouting Beans and a Nourishing Lentil Soup
For health, environmental, and taste preference reasons I follow a most vegan diet. I cannot eat dairy or eggs because of allergies. I choose not to eat pork or beef mainly because I don't like the way it tastes, but also because it is not environmentally sustainable, and it is not healthy. I occasionally (once or twice a week) eat a small amount of pasture raised chicken I purchase from a local farmer or wild fish. Most of the time my protein comes from legumes, nuts and seeds.
Although I adore beans and legumes of all sorts, they don't always love me - sometime they do a number on my belly, if you catch my drift :). Given my dilemma, I did some reading and found a couple of ways to cook legumes that makes them easier to digest. One of the best options is to sprout beans. According to many sources, not only does this make beans easier on the gut, it also makes them more nutritious.
So far, I have sprouted lentils and mung beans with great results. The process is very simple, here is a great resource with photos. Here are the simple steps I follow:
1) Soak 1 Cup of dry lentils or mung beans in plenty of water for 24 hours
2) Thoroughly rinse and drain lentils/beans.
3) Put drained lentils/beans in a large glass mason jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheese cloth, use a rubber band to secure the cloth.
4) Let the jar sit a room temperature for 24 hours, until the lentils/beans have small sprouts. The beans/lentils are now ready to cook with in recipes such as the nourishing lentil soup posted below. If you do not want to use them right away, you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days.
**If you want to enjoy bean sprouts raw, let the sprouts grow another 2-3 days, then refrigerate until you are ready to use them.
I made this lentil soup last week for Alfred. We have both been a little under the weather, I think we caught some type of virus, but it hit him much harder than me. The best word to describe this soup is nourishing - it warms you to the bone with the gentle smokiness of cumin. The lentils also ensure it is filling, without being heavy. Pair it with a nice green salad for a perfect fall meal.
Nourishing Lentil Soup
1 Cup of Lentils that have been sprouted
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks of Celery, diced
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 medium Turnips, peeled and diced
1 medium Tomato, diced
3 Cups Stock (Vegetables or Chicken)
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1 small bunch of spinach (around 3 cups)
Olive oil for pan
Heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with a little olive oil, add the onions, celery and carrots and cook them, stirring occasionally into the onions are translucent (about 10-15 minutes). Add the garlic and turnips and cook another few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the spinach. Also add enough water to cover the vegetables and lentils by 1 inch. Cover the soup and let it simmer until the lentils are tender (about 40 minutes). Add the spinach leaves and let the soup simmer another 10 minutes. Taste the soup and add more salt as needed.
As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!