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How to Sprout Grains and Legumes

Sharon Palmer

You’ve probably noticed that sprouted grains (such as wheat berries, quinoa or brown rice) and legumes (like dried lentils, peas, or beans) are growing in popularity. You can find a variety, such as rice, wheat, and lentils, in natural food stores. Not to be confused with sprouts—when an entire seed, such as a bean or grain, sports inches of sprouts—sprouted grains or legumes include the entire seed kernel with just the tiniest hint of the new sprout popping out. But this tiny little sprout is a calling card for all sorts of health potential.

When a grain or legume (essentially a seed) sprouts or is germinated, it feeds off the starchy endosperm protected by the bran outer coating. You need a little warmth and moisture to get germination to occur, and before you know it, a tiny sprout immerges from the kernel. As the seed is sprouted, the process of germination appears to improve the digestibility of the nutrients, and also levels of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and proteins. In fact, some people who are sensitive to grains or legumes may find them to be more digestible in their sprouted form.

You can buy sprouted grains and legumes at the supermarket, or sprout them yourself. It’s easy. I sprouted lentils this past week to show you how easy it is to sprout your own grains. Just check out this step-by-step guide below.

How to Sprout Grains and Legumes

Day 1

Pour 2 cups of grains or legumes in a bowl.
Cover with water.
Place a clean dishtowel over the bowl and place it on the counter in a warm, shaded place.

Day 2

Rinse legumes or grains with clean, warm water a couple of times throughout the day, and return to the bowl, cover with a cloth, and place in a warm, shady place.
On Day 2, some are already starting to show sprouts.

Day 3

Repeat rinsing and covering step (from Day 2) until you are satisfied with sprouts. This is what my sprouted lentils look like on day 3—almost too big! It may take you more or less time to sprout your grains or legumes, depending on your conditions and the seed you choose.  Make sure to rinse in clean water a couple of times per day.
Sprouted lentils show the tails of sprouts emerging from the seed.

Once your grains or legumes are sprouted, now you can cook them as you would the non-sprouted kernel.  You don’t need to soak them again, as they’ve already been rehydrated and they are ready to cook!  Try them in side-dishes, soups, casseroles, or porridges. Don’t be surprised if the cooking time is reduced!

Try this recipe for Lentil Risotto with Peas for sprouted lentils, or this recipe for Sprouted Split Pea Soup for sprouted split peas.

For other how-to blogs, check out:

How to Make Homemade Seitan
How to Make Vegetable Broth
How to Make Cauliflower Rice

3 thoughts on “How to Sprout Grains and Legumes

    • The concern over bacterial contamination doesn’t apply to germinated pulses and grains in the process I have described here, as they are then cooked after germination. It is not the same process as “sprouting” (i.e., alfalfa sprouts or mung sprouts), in which long shoots of the new plant appear and then they are then consumed fresh. This later process of sprouting has a high risk of contamination.

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