Every once in a while I incorporate beans into our family meal plan/menu. Properly prepared beans have a lot of great health benefits, including fiber.
FOLATE AND POTASSIUM IN SPROUTED LENTILS
According to Livestrong.com, sprouted lentils contain the following health benefits:
A 1 cup serving of sprouted lentils contains 77 g of folate, a B vitamin, which is crucial to iron production and in making new cells. Sprouted lentils are also packed with 248 mg of potassium, which is necessary to muscle function, as well as being crucial to the healthy functioning of your heart.
According to Nourishing Traditions, which is a trusted resource on traditional cooking methods, here are some of the major health benefits of soaking and sprouting beans:
Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, which if present will not allow as much calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc to be absorbed during digestion
It also increases the amount of B vitamins and carotene
Vitamin C is created in the process of sprouting
Complex sugars responsible for intestinal gas are broken down
Sprouting also inactivates aflatoxins, which are potent carcinogens found in grains
During sprouting additional enzymes are produced during the germination process that help digestion
Those are some pretty awesome benefits for a very simple process. Here is how I do it…
PHYTIC ACID AND LECTINS
Many of you who read my blog may notice that my family follows a Paleo template. We don’t eat a lot of grains or any gluten. I have chosen this type of template strictly for health benefit. Now, most Paleo followers strictly avoid beans because of the phytates and lectins.
Chris Kresser, may ease your mind on some of these fears about beans, in this article.
This meal was planned for a Friday school lunch and two weekend lunches. I knew I needed to cook the lentils in the crock pot on Thursday. Soaking takes one overnight and 2-3 days to grow the sprouts. So I need to start the process four days out, just to be sure to have enough time. That means I started soaking the beans on Monday evening.
Monday evening: rinse and drain 1 1/2 cups of dried lentils. Cover the lentils with filtered water and soak overnight.
: drain the lentils rinse again. Put the lentils in a clean quart mason jar and cover with cheese cloth or a single layer paper towel with small holes punched in the top. Use the ring to hold the towel in place.
Tuesday-Thursday morning: shake the mason jar a couple times a day and let it rest on its side. That’s it!! The sprouts grow on their own! AWESOME!
This is day 2 of sprouting.
Wednesday afternoon I chopped up all of the veggies so I could dump them into the crockpot on Thursday morning. I used zucchini, celery, carrots, orange bell pepper, onion, garlic and white eggplant.
For some added flavor, I used a pastured smoked ham steak from South Chestnut Farm. The ham steaks came with our bulk pork order and I have a lot to use up. So, this dish was a perfect fit. I thawed it overnight in the fridge and sliced it into thirds before putting it in the crockpot over the veggies.
Next, I added the sprouted lentils on top of the ham steak and veggies.
Finally, I added one quart of bone broth. You could also use plain water or store bought broth.
I had to add some extra water to partially cover the lentils. The veggies will also add moisture.
I cooked all on low for 6 hours. When finished, I added a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for flavor. I forked the ham steak apart and left the chunks of meat in the lentils.
Friday, I served the lentils cold, in the boys’ thermos for school.
On Saturday, I served the lentils warm over steamed cauliflower for lunch. This was a much bigger hit than the cold lentils in the thermos. The girls did not know what to do with the big bowl of beans and veggies at first. Madelyn especially prefers her meals to consist of meat. So, it took a couple try and some role play with her bear to convince her to give it a try.
Sunday required the addition of white sweet potato. Perhaps, the most fabulously delicious potato! The kids used this one for combo bites with the lentils.
We still had two pint size containers of lentils left over. They are waiting in the freezer for a later meal.