Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sprouted Lentil Tacos

This week, I saw a bright and shiny fiery orb in the sky that was creating what I'm told is called "warmth." To fully explore this phenomenon, Marney and I picked up sandwiches at Jimmy John's and ate them outside at the Nature Center before helping plant a bunch of shrubs (seriously, my job rocks - how many office drones get that kind of perk in the spring?).

Anyways, those Jimmy John's subs are stuffed with sprouts. I love sprouts. I remember in college, my roommate at the time (and BFF) Amy bought some strange sprout growing machine that we used quite a bit. I did a little research to see if I could grow sprouts myself without buying the machine. Turns out, I can and it's wicked simple.

You can sprout most dried legumes (NOT split peas though, I checked) and sprouting exponentially increases their nutritional value and makes them easier to digest.

To sprout, simply soak some legumes in water overnight (I used French lentils because it's what I had on hand). The next day you drain the water and put the lentils in a colander or large mesh strainer.

Then you simply rinse them two or three times a day until they're sprouted as much as you want. Leave the colander on a plate on your kitchen counter, covered with a thin kitchen towel. I let mine go 5 days, but they were sprouted and edible after only 2. When you've got them where you want them, keep in the refrigerator and eat within a day or two or they'll go bad.

Here's what it looks like. Day 1 morning (after soaking overnight):

Day 2 morning (I see sprouts!):

Day 3 morning (looking good):

Day 5 (perfection):

You can eat sprouted lentils on their own as a snack, or add them to salads or sandwiches (the flavor reminds me of mild fresh green peas). Tonight I turned my sprouted lentils into taco filling to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I didn't have enough sprouts to make much filling, so I stretched it with half an onion and a shredded zucchini. It was a quick, satisfying, and filling dinner.

Sprouted Lentil Tacos, adapted from
Serves 2 hungry people

1 cup sprouted lentils
1 zucchini, grated on a box grater (or just diced fine)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp chili powder
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
pinch dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
2-3 Tbsp water
taco fixin's such as beans, corn, salsa, cheese, avocado, jalapenos, sour cream, lettuce or cabbage, flour or corn tortillas, etc

In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute onion in some olive oil for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add zucchini and sprouts and all the seasonings. Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time until seasonings are mixed well into vegetables with a little liquid in the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly and cook until the sauce has thickened a bit, about 5 minutes more.

Heat your tortillas over an open flame, or in the oven or microwave. Add your sprouted lentil taco mixture. Add your desired taco fixin's and enjoy your healthy Cinco de Mayo dinner.


  1. OK for the first time EVER ;) you have one "up'd" me. I am sooooo impressed I am seriously speechless. Kudos to you and I CAN'T WAIT to try this!!!

    p.s. by the first time ever I mean something like clearly out do me almost everyday of your life but for the first time you thought of trying something I HAVE ACTUALLY NEVER THOUGHT OF TRYING. SERIOUSLY. LOVE IT!


  2. FINALLY!! And it only took me 14 years :)

    Most things I do are an effort to impress you. It's about time I got it right!!!!!


  3. I have to try this I think my kids would get a kick out of watching them grow;)

  4. Mine are soaking now .....I'm like a year behind the blog lol :)

  5. Thanks for reading mcrae! The best part about blogs is that you can go back and read old posts ;-)