In school we learned that soaking nuts and seeds improve their digestibility and increases their nutritional value. So why am I not doing it? My answer would be pure laziness and lack of preparation. All you need to do it put raw nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds in separate bowls, cover with water and let them sit overnight on the counter. The next morning a thorough rinse and storage in the refrigerator is all that is needed. How easy was that? Note to self start soaking.
Once again, due to pure laziness and lack of forethought I choose to by canned legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and adzuki beans. Cooking my own legumes is less expensive but it is very timely. Who has time to soak legumes overnight then cook them for up to 3 hours? Don’t get me wrong I have done it in the past but when I go through all that trouble I end up making a huge batch that lasts me for days since the hubby is not a huge fan. Convenient – yes, however adding lentils to salads, making lentil burgers and patties everyday gets tiresome.
And this brings us to sprouting. In University while obtaining my nutrition degree I was taught that store-bought sprouts harbor the most bacteria and we should steer clear. Then while receiving my Holistic Nutritionist designation I was told sprouts are packed with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes, are alkalizing and should be incorporated into daily diet. In truth, both are correct therefore it is recommended that sprouting raw grains and legumes in the comfort of your home is best. That is exactly what I did.
Prepare– Rinse the glass jarwith cold water. Put the jar in a bright, warm place. Avoid direct sunlight.
Rinse – Rinse whatever you plan to sprout and pour into glass jar, to about the one-quarter mark.
Soak – Fill the jar at least three-quarters full with purified water. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
Water – Pour out the water and rinse whatever you are sprouting with fresh water. Once rinsed, put the cheesecloth over the top, holding it down with the elastic band. Turn the jar upside down till the water drains out.
Harvest – The sprouting time depends on the type of sprouts. Repeat the water, rinse and drain cycle twice a day (four if you live in a hot & humid climate) until you get the desired sprout.
Storage – Once desired sprouting is achieved, rinse the sprouts in fresh water to wash off digestive inhibitors. Store the sprouts in a clean, uncovered container in the refrigerator; they will keep for up to one week.
Depending on what you sprout you can easily use them in breads, tossed in salads, pancakes, omelettes, soups, dips, etc. The list goes on because the possibilities are endless. With that being said I decided to try a Mung Bean Sprout and Spinach pizza crust. Verdict: Simple and easy to do however I feel it needs a little work for my taste buds. I added more sprouts on top and a little nutritional yeast to get that ‘cheesy’ taste, but I think I may have added a bit too much. Anyways, I’ll keep experimenting and see what I come up with.
Mung Bean Sprout and Spinach Crust
Recipe adapted from http://www.veganricha.com
Makes 1 8-9 inch pizza
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup Oats
1 inch ginger chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
a handful of greens
1/2 medium tomato
1/4 cup coconut milk or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri garam masala or spices of choice( cumin, or other spice blends)
Optional: Add a Tbsp of coconut oil for a crispier crust.
1. Add all the ingredients for the crust to a blender.
2. Blend until well incorporated into a thick batter.
3. Place batter on parchment lined sheet.
4. Spread the batter in a circular motion using a large spoon to a 1/4 inch thickness.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes.
6. Lightly touch the middle to see that the crust is not squishy and is dry to touch, else keep for a minute or so longer.
7. Take crust out and top with veggies of choice.
8. Bake additional 20 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes, top with fresh chopped cilantro or mint, slice and serve!