Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sprout salad and how to grow sprouts

Ever since Karyn's raw detox back in March I've been trying to eat sprout salads for lunch as much as possible. Instead of the usual base of baby spinach or romaine, the salads are actually based on sprouts. Sprouts are seeds (including beans) that have been germinated and begun the growing process. The benefit of eating raw sprouted seeds versus the seeds themselves is that all of the nutrients in the seeds become bioavailable and digestible during the germination process. The seed contains all of the nutrients required to grow a plant but the nutrients are dormant until water is introduced to start the growth process. Once the seed starts to grow, all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, enzymes, etc. are activated. It is in this form that our body can best derive all of the great nutrients from the seed. Besides seaweed, sprouts are the best food to eat in terms of nutrient density (including high digestible protein content). I definitely feel more energized and satiated after eating a sprout salad than I do after eating a regular salad. Learn more about digestive enzymes and sprouting on the Thrive Forward website.

You can buy sprouts at the grocery store but it is best to grow them yourself. It doesn't take much work but does take planning. You can sprout buckwheat, amaranth, beans (all kinds), sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, and more. My favorites are sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Chickpea sprouts that I grew myself

Steps to Sprout
  1. First, make sure that you have the seeds/beans in  their raw dry form (bulk section at Whole Foods or
  2. Place about 1/2-3/4 cup of the seeds in a jar and fill the rest with purified water.
  3. Let soak for 8-12 hours or overnight.
  4. Rinse the seeds with water and place back in jar.
  5. Cover jar with cheesecloth or mason jar sprouting lid.
  6. Place upside down in a bowl or sink to allow extra water to flow out of jar.
  7. Every morning and night for a couple of days, fill the jar with water and spill it back out right away just to keep the seeds moist.
  8. You should see sprouting within 24 hours, but let sit until you reach the desired length of sprouts or until all of the seeds have sprouted. 
  9. Rinse your seeds/sprouts one more time before eating.
  10. Sprouts will keep for up to a week (uncovered) in the fridge.
Sprouting takes some planning because it will be about 2.5 days before you have some good sprouts. I'm not good at planning my food so I tend to buy sprouts sometimes, especially when I'm traveling a lot. 
Sunflower sprouts (purchased from Karyn's Raw in Chicago)

Sprout Salad

Making a sprout salad is easy once you have the sprouts...just add fresh chopped vegetables and good dressing. I always add dulse flakes, red bell pepper, and cherry or chopped tomatoes. Pine nuts, chopped cucumber, green onion, and baby spinach are good too. For dressing, I use a mix of apple-cider vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Sprouts with lots of tomatoes
Preparing my sprout salads for the week

Have you tried sprouts?

What are your favorite salad ingredients?

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