How to Soak, Cook & Sprout Legumes

…the Whole & Healthy way

Benefits of Sprouting:

  • Sprouting brings these tiny seeds to LIFE
  • Soaking greatly reduces the bloat, the toots and the belly grumbles.
  • They are filled with fiber, vitamin C & B as well as loads of protein!
  • Sprouting makes the nutrients readily available for your body to absorb and far easier for your body to digest.
  • You will receive about 6- 8 (or more!) meals from one small bag which means mega money savings.
  • You don’t get those additives that are put into the water of canned beans and you can avoid any leaching from the tin can itself. 
Chickpeas, Green lentils
Brown & Green Lentils, Pinto Beans
Black Beans, White Beans

How to Prepare your Lentils & Beans

When you prepare your beans in this way, it may feel like work at first, but it saves you time in the long run because you will have copious amounts of lentils and beans to quickly add into your meals.
You will also be activating key nutrients and enabling your body to digest and eliminate your hearty food most healthfully!

Step 1:

Buy Dry Lentils / Beans

Buy your beans & lentils dry and in bags

Lentils to buy dry: Green, Brown
Beans to buy dry: Black, Pinto, Chickpeas 

NOTES:
I listed these as they are the main ones I use, and only ones I would sprout. Other choices for beans and lentils that only need to be rinsed / soaked, are found below.

Step 2:

Soaking

  1. Put 1 cup of dried beans or lentils of choice in large (glass) bowl.
  2. Fill the large bowl with water that doubles the amount of beans/lentils.
  3. Put a lid or clean kitchen towel on top of bowl with clips to ensure it doesn’t sag into the water.
  4. Let sit for 12 hours
  5. You can stop after this point, if not sprouting, and drain water, then rinse lentils /beans  and move onto step 4.

NOTES:
Chickpeas will double or sometimes triple in size. Use a bigger bowl then you would think. 

Step 3:

Sprouting

This is a very important step for nutrient enhancement, but NOT necessary. Can skip this step.
  1. Pour out soaking water.
  2. Rinse the beans/lentils
  3. Let them sit on counter, away from sunlight with lid on.
  4. Rinse and drain 1 to 2 times a day (important so doesn’t grow moldy or stinky)
  5. You will have sprouted legumes any where between 2-4 days

The little white tails are what you want to see. This allows you to know that the legumes are prepped and nutrient rich and ready for cooking & then eating. I would not let them sprout for more then 4 days or the tails get huge and there is a possibility they will go bad. As soon as I see the tiniest little white sprout (even the ones in the pic below are too long) I will cook them.

Sprouted Chickpeas!

Step 4:

Cooking

  1. Rinse sprouted legumes one last time
  2. Add them to a large pot on stove with water that about doubles the amount of sprouts.
  3. Add water (or broth) that doubles the amount of lentils/beans.(If using beans / chickpeas add a pinch of baking soda to water to help soften the bean)
  4. [Optional] Add 2 bay leafs  and 2 -4 cloves of garlic cloves with 1 raw onion peeled and halved [optional but read about why in notes below].
  5. Put a lid on it and bring to a boil. 
  6. Scoop off and discard any white foam that rises to the top. (see pics below)
  7.  Turn heat to a slight simmer and let cook with lid on. 
  8. Beans take anywhere between 20-40 mins.
    Lentils take about 15 – 30 minutes.
    Set a timer and try them to make sure they are soft
  9. They are now ready for eating / dressing up to enhance the yum factor.
  10. Let cool completely then store in glass jars in fridge for up to 5 days.
Boiling soaked lentils

Step 5:

How to Use the Cooked Lentils & Beans

I use these sprouted beans or lentils in my spaghetti sauces, burritos, stew’s, soups, in veggie burgers, stir-fries, quesadillas, on their own with sauteed grape tomatoes and feta or in salads. Chickpeas especially you can eat on their own, or roast them with spices to get crispy. Whatever you choose, there are many options for using these cooked & sprouted beans and lentils. 

Browse through my recipes and search lentils or beans to see what pops up.
You will find many lentil and bean recipes. In all of them I use this whole and healthy method of preparing them.
But if you wanted, you could use canned if you are short on time.

You can also reach out to me and our community in our private facebook group! We are there to support each other and would be happy to share some recipes with you!

Important note:
Legumes contain Lectin. Lectin reduces the bodies ability to absorb nutrients and can often contribute to poor digestion. When  you cook legumes the whole and healthy way however (especially sprouting) you are reducing the lectin content and enabling your body to maximally digest the nutrients that legumes offer you. 

More Lentils & Beans I love.

Only rinse / soak & cook these. No sprouting necessary

Beans:
Cannellini
Pinto
kidney
Navy
Mung

I would soak all of these over night. Then follow steps 4 and 5 above.

Lentils:
Red lentils
Red Lentils do not need to sprout or soak (yay to fast food!) Instead, for red lentils rinse them 3- 5 times or until water runs clear before you cook them. (1 cup red lentils, 2 cups of water. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until water absorbed. Add coconut oil and salt). Also do not sprout or soak red beans.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

FOR BUYING:

Purchase your lentils and beans in bags.  I often buy the organic version so they are not sprayed with added shtuff. But they can be found cheaper at your local grocery store in bags often in the ethnic section which are a great option or even at costco.

FOR STORING:

When storing cooked legumes, let them cool completely then put the leftovers in airtight glass container, in fridge, for up to 5 to 7 days. 
 I  remove the onion, garlic and bay leaf before storing.
You can also sprout them and store them in air tight container in fridge until you are ready to use them. Just make sure you still cook them before using them.
You can also freeze them for up to 30 days.

FOR COMBATING GAS:

One down side of lentils and beans is often the gas. Yep I said it. 

We all get gas when we have beans. However, there are a few tricks to help combat the stinky side of things. 

Use one or all of the following options to combat gas:

  • Soak the beans over night in cold water (at least 6-24 hours)
  • Add 1-2 bay leaves to the cooking water for beans to be more digestible (for flavor, also add 2-4 garlic cloves whole, and 1 whole onion, peeled and halved)
  • Add Kombu Seaweed to enable beans and lentils to be more digestible
  • Scrape off foamy white stuff that rises to the top of your cooking water
  • Rinse again after they are cooked
  • Take off the skin of (green or brown) lentils and chickpeas by squeezing the lentils/chickpeas between your fingers. You will see the skin of the legumes come off.
  • Discard the skin on lentils and chickpeas. (this is a bit time consuming, but worth it for taste and less gas)

Soaked, not yet sprouted

The herbs and spices I add to my lentils that are cooking: Pinch black pepper, 1 onion, peeled and halved, 2 bay leaves, 2 sage leaves, 3 garlic cloves. Take them out when done cooking the lentils.

The white foam you can scoop off, and do so as soon as you see it or it will settle back into the water and produce more gas (in you) ha ha

THE QUICK WAY!

Do you want to save time and all these steps?

  1. Be sure to soak your lentils/beans in the morning, so they are ready to cook in the evening.
  2. I try to soak, sprout, cook mine on a weekend so they are ready for me to use during the week
  3. Use canned beans or lentils. Just drain them and rinse them. No shame here. I do this all the time.

Recipes using
Beans & Legumes

Health Benefits of Sprouted Lentils & Beans (Legumes)

Sprouting Grains and Legumes increases their vitamin, enzyme, and antioxidant content as well as making them more digestible; they are less likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort and the nutrients in them are more easily absorbed.  Sprouted grains and legumes are LIVING food (like raw fruits and vegetables), which is supposed to make up 50% of our whole and healthy lifestyle! 
In a one cup of black beans there are 15g protein and 15g fibre. Beans also contain a good source of iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. As well as potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin B6 and selenium and are filled with disease fighting antioxidants.
Clearly,  “…it is easy to benefit from black beans nutrition as they are an extremely affordable source of protein, filling fiber, disease fighting antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals.” Dr. Josh Axe. Lastly, when you add beans to rice you get a complete protein.
In 1 cup of lentils you will find 18 g protein and 16 g fibre. World’s Healthiest Foods says, “…they (lentils) readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings, are high in nutritional value and are available throughout the year.”  They help with digestive health and often weightloss, they aid in heart health and are good for stabilizing blood sugar. They are good for heart health and increasing energy as well.  You will also find an excellent source of molybdenum, folate, copper, phosperous and maganese. They contain iron (which can help with anemia), are high in protein and contain vitmain B1, Panthothenic acid, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6. For all these reason and more, lentils are considered a super food.
There are countless benefits to these tiny little beans and lentils.
The options for using them are enormous. Spices & Herbs help to bring these bland beans to life.
When we pair these beautiful legumes with vegetables, now we are talking a whole and complete, whole and healthy meal!

If you want to UpLevel Your Home Cooking
and Bring JOY and MINDFULNESS into your daily life...


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2 months ago

[…] this article on “How to Cook Lentils & Beans” to learn how to prepare your beans and lentils for utmost health, taste, and cost […]