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The humble lentil is an ancient crop that has had a large role in humankind’s journey to the top of the food chain. I can prove that, too. The word “lens” is, in fact, the Latin word for lentil. One of the first ever cultivated plant species, lentils are a nutritional powerhouse that is easy to cook, so it’s no wonder that lentils have a place in so many different cultures’ traditions. With varying degrees of heartiness and a range of colors, lentils do not require pre-soaking prior to use like some of their legume cousins. They are easy to grow and packed with all things good; only soy beans and hemp have higher levels of protein by weight, and lentils are high in B vitamins, dietary fiber and slowly-digested carbohydrates. Basically, lentils are amazing and you should eat them all the time.

Sprouted lentils are even better than the plain ones. Sprouting lentils is easy and actually increases the amount of nutrition offered by this tiny seed. Sprouting the seeds makes them easier to digest because the germination process neutralizes the seeds’ phytic acid. Even just soaking lentils in warm water overnight will neutralize some of their hard-to-digest compounds, but sprouting them also unlocks more vitamins, particularly B and C vitamins. Sprouting occurs in a warm, moist environment with enough airflow to allow the seeds to breathe.
Sprouted lentils can be used in just about every recipe that calls for lentils, but varying lengths of the sprout will obviously be optimum for various applications. Shorter sprouts or barely-sprouted seeds work well in soups and stews, while seeds with longer sprouts can be added to salads and sandwiches, or eaten plain, for that matter.

Combine 1/3 to 2/3 cup of lentils with two cups of water in a quart sized Mason jar. Cover tightly with fabric and leave to rest for 12 hours out of direct sunlight.  Drain water from jar and replace fabric; let the jar sit out of sunlight, rinsing every 12 hours until the spouts are the desired length. Dry on a paper towel, then refrigerate.

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ingredients magazine