Sprouts, not the Brussels sort

So it’s true. What goes around, comes around. And apparently sprouting is back on trend. Whilst in the seventies it was all alfalfa and mung beans, this time around it seems that you can sprout pretty much any nut, seed, legume or grain you like.

But why sprout?

Sprouting:

  1. Improves digestibility
  2. Increases nutritional value

Soaking the bean neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, such as phytic acid, which protect the seed whilst it is dormant – unfortunately these inhibitors also inhibit your own digestive enzymes. Once neutralised, the vitamins and minerals already present in the bean become more bioavailable to you. Also, sprouted beans have a lower GI because some of the starch (particularly that indigestible rascal, raffinose) has been used by the sprout so the proportion of protein and fibre becomes higher.

I don’t need to tell you how to sprout – there are loads of articles, videos and blogs out there

I will say this though – it’s ridiculously easy and you don’t need any equipment. Because so many beans etc can be sprouted, I’m not going to go crazy buying in packets and packets of seeds that I might not use. I’m just going to use what’s already in my cupboard. For the chickpeas, I used a baking tray, a sieve and a clean tea towel. That’s it!

What I wanna know is: what do you DO with these little nutritional powerhouses? By the looks of it, there’s nothing they DON’T go in.  This week I started with chickpeas. I tried them raw – liked ’em. Sort of a nutty, crunchy texture. But I thought I would make:

Sprouted chickpea and any-veg-you’ve-got-in-the-fridge fritters

This is less of a recipe and more a technique. Do with it what you will. It’s a great recipe for using up those veggies that have started to look a little sad by the end of the week.

Switch up the flavours:

  • go Morrocan with some cumin and coriander, perhaps a little cinnamon, and serve with harissa yoghurt
  • add a tsp of garam masala to eat with a veggie curry and some popadoms with mango chutney
  • roast tomato, onion, courgette and aubergine with garlic and thyme for a side of no-trouble ratatouille
  • add ginger and chilli to the fritters and eat with a green salad and sesame soy dipping sauce
  • serve with a thick and spicy tomato salsa and a little ham
  • make them a little thicker and call them veggie burgers
sprouted chickpea fritters

sprouted chickpea fritters with pesto and poached egg

I decided I would try lentils next … and why not mix them all up? So I’ve got black, green and brown on the go. I imagine they will take 3 or 4 days. Once they are ready, I plan to make this:

Sprouted lentil cornbread toasts

Take your standard cornbread recipe and add a cup of sprouted lentils. Another great brunch dish if toasted (or fried in butter!) and served with avocado and poached eggs. Or you could turn it into salad croutons after a toasting in the oven with some oil.

Warning!

There is a risk of contamination by bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria on sprouts. Do your research before partaking of any sprout, particularly raw, and assess your own personal risk, eg elderly? pregnant? Check if the current advice is to cook your chosen sprout or if it’s ok raw. If in doubt, cook it out!
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