Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sprouted Lentil Soup

There's something alive in my kitchen. I grew them myself. And boy... do they taste good!

I've been reading lately about the health benefits of bean sprouts. Aparently, if you sprout a bean, it gets even healthier than the humble bean originally started out as. Vitamins A, B, and C continue to improve until you actually eat the sprouts because they're alive. They also have high levels of iron and calcium. And, they retain the protien from the original bean! It's like heaven in a little plant.

These are sprouted lentils. It was easy to do; you can follow one of the many sites that have good directions. I was shocked at how easy these grew. It was just a handful out of the $1 bag I picked up a shop n save months ago. I was even more shocked when I tasted one: once they sprout, they get a kind of heat to them. Kind of like spice, but deeper. I can't hardly find words for it. You'll have to trust me on it being amazing, at least until you try it yourself. I got so excited I think we ate these a few days early; you can take them up to the firm bean sprouts like you see in Asian stir frys. This was 3 days after soaking the lentils.

Then I started cooking. My hubby, who was previously a little afraid of my jar of green sitting in the corner of the kitchen, bravely took a small first bite of this soup. Then he scarfed all of his down, turned to me and asked if there was any more (there wasn't), and asked me if I'd be finishing my bowl (I sure was!). I've put the recipe below for if you decide to be brave!

It looks a little boring, but that's just because you haven't tried it!

Sprouted Lentil Soup

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 onion
  • about 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup or more sprouted lentils
  • approx. 2 cups water or broth
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

At least half an hour before you want to eat, start 1 cup white or brown rice in your rice cooker or a pot on the stove. I prefer brown rice because it was a little chewy and gave a nice texture contrast.

Saute 1/2 of one onion in a little bit of butter. Add 1 to 2 cloves garlic crushed or chopped into big pieces (the smaller the pieces, the bigger the flavor). Once the onions are lovely translucent, add 1 cup or even more sprouted lentils. Saute these around for just a minute or so, then add about 2 cups water or broth (I threw in a chicken bullion cube). Add a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and oregano (adjust for your preference). Let simmer for ~15 to 20 minutes. Pour into blender and blend until smooth (or use your immersion blender if you're lucky enough to have one... that's so at the top of my Christmas list). Ladle into a bowl with a generous scoop of your rice and garnish with a few whole sprouts to look pretty.

Do let me know if you try sprouts, or if you already cook with them! I'd love to hear more ideas to experiment with!


Taryn said...

Huh- sprouting lentils get spicy? Interesting. I sprouted black beans and they were great. You should research sprouting- because I know that some beans (but I am blanking on which ones) actually become really quite poisonous when sprouted- so be careful! I don't do spicy very well, so I might avoid sprouting my lentils. = )

Jenny P. said...

Taryn, thanks for that excellent point. I have researched the toxic sprouts: kidney beans are the worst. However, most of the sprouts that do become toxic are only so in a) large quantities and b) raw. From the several sites and books I read, a few minutes of stir frying the raw sprouts (i.e., cooking them) removes the toxic aspect. Does that match up with what you've found?

Organizing Mommy said...

Can you bring some sprouted grains with you and we'll make something?

mzurovsk said...

Whenever I make lentil soup and it sits in the fridge for a few days, the lentils start to sprout. I've always thrown it out then, but is it ok to eat? I didn't pre-sprout them before making the soup, so I wasn't really sure if it mattered. It just kind of made me queasy looking at the growing lentils in my soup...but if you say it tastes good, I'm willing to try it...

Jenny P. said...

Mzurovsk -- I would NOT eat it in that condition. That just seems off to me for a lot of reasons, including if you've cooked the soup, the lentils shouldn't still be alive. That sounds like some kind of spoilage to me. Only eat things that are alive if they're alive on purpose! Good question!

mzurovsk said...

Thanks Jenny! I was surprised that it would spoil so quickly, but I agree--something seems off there! I'll have to try your soup one of these days....:) Melissa