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.

Eat up!

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!


  1. This looks wonderful. I love lentils too, but haven't been cooking them as much in the summer heat. Now that it's cooled off at least a little, I'm ready to dig into my lentils stash and try some new recipes!


  2. Hi Erin, thanks for stopping by! You can also use regular (unsprouted) lentils for this soup, it will just take a little longer for the lentils to soften, and require a bit my liquid! I hope you like it!

  3. We ate lentils for the first time last year. And we loved them. I've never heard of sprouting them, but I'll give it a try for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I made lentil soup once for our family when we gave up meat for lent. I may just have to try this one!

    Thanks for stopping by for What's Cooking Wednesday...come back next week and link up again!


  5. Hi Candi and Diane - lentils are a great (cheap) source of healthy protein and fiber! Another bonus is (if you don't sprout them - which you don't have to, it just helps my tummy) you can cook them without pre-soaking, unlike most other legumes! Red lentils cook in only 20 minutes, no soaking required!

  6. I have only recently discovered how much I LOVE lentils! So so good and good for you.

    Thanks for linking up to Just Another Meatless Monday, see you next week :)

  7. What a great looking soup! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites!