Now that spring has arrived, why not take the time to try some new, healthier lunch options? We recommend trying sprouted foods this spring. They’re easier to digest, contain easier to absorb nutrients and minerals, and taste fresh! While sprouted foods may pose some risk because they require warm, wet environments to grow, the incidence of food poisoning from properly prepared sprouts is relatively low. Be sure to read the safety tips below before trying to sprout anything. After that, be adventurous and try the recipe below today!
Southwestern Sprouted Lentil Salad
(Makes 1 salad)
Feel free to make this salad your own. Try adding chicken, cheddar cheese, or whatever sounds good to you!
- cup *sprouted lentils
- ¼ cup sliced red, green, or yellow pepper
- ½ of a sliced avocado
- ½ head of romaine lettuce
- 1 chopped scallion
- Handful of walnuts
- 2 tablespoons *cilantro lime dressing
Mix all ingredients together in serving bowl. Then eat! That’s it!
Makes approximately 2 cups of sprouts.
Make sure to read the sprouting tips below before starting the lentils!
- ¾ Cup of dried lentils
- Rinse lentils well, place in a large jar, preferable glass. Cover with water an inch deep over the lentils. Cover the jar with a breathable fabric, such as cheesecloth, and place out of direct sunlight.
- 24 hours later, drain all water from the jar and rinse the lentils well. Return the jar of damp lentils to its former place. Repeat the process of rinsing and draining the lentils every 12 hours for 2-3 days.
- When the lentils have sprouted and look like the picture below, they’re ready! Rinse them one more time, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days!
*Cilantro Lime Dressing (makes about 1 cup of dressing)
This salad dressing is off the hook! It’s delicious on a variety of salads or wraps, or even as a dip!
- 5 tablespoons of lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 shallot (or about ¼ of a medium/small onion)
- 1 jalapeno with seeds removed (or leave them in if you like it spicy)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup cilantro
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse until all ingredients are minced.
- Begin running the blender at a constant speed, and slowly add the olive oil. The consistency of the dressing should be thick, and should not separate. Once all of the olive oil is incorporated, the dressing is finished!
Safety Tips for making sprouts
Similar to fermented foods or undercooked meat, sprouts may pose a health risk if improperly prepared. However, if you follow the safety tips below, the chance of getting sick from sprouts is low. Keep in mind that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
Sprouts like the exact same conditions that bacteria do, which is why cleanliness is so important in this process: Below are a few common mistakes that people make when preparing sprouts.
- Seeds are not rinsed well enough before soaking
- Seeds are left in standing water after the initial soaking
- Seeds are allowed to dry out
- Temperature is too high or too low
- Dirty equipment
- Insufficient air flow
- Contaminated water source
- Poor germination rate
You can avoid this mistakes by taking the following measures:
- Start with very clean containers and utensils, preferably glass - no plastic.
- Rinse the seeds or beans thoroughly before soaking.
- Use purified water for rinsing and soaking.
- Keep the soaking seeds in a cool place away from direct light.
- Make sure the initial soak lasts no more than 12 hours.
- Drain water and rinse once or twice while soaking seeds.
- Wash your hands before handling the sprouts.
- Rinse several times a day while growing sprouts.
If you are still concerned, cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking kills the harmful bacteria. Use common sense as well: If the sprouts look or smell funky, throw them out and try a new batch! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or stop in at the clinic anytime!