Come winter time, we do quite a bit of bean sprouting. This is due in part to less availability of local produce. Sprouting gives us fresh vegetables during those darker, leaner months. Also, beans and winter go together – but I like to sprout them not only because of the nutritious burst that sprouting gives (increase in enzymes and vitamins) but because sprouted beans digest as vegetables. According to Janie Quinn in Sprouted Baking,
“During the sprouting process, the starch molecules, or complex carbohydrates, are broken down into smaller parts, referred to as simple sugars. Simple sugars are the building blocks that make up complex carbohydrates but in a form that the body absorbs more easily. The body recognizes and readily digests simple sugars for quick energy, as opposed to starches that can be stored as fat. The [seed] sprouts, transforming itself into a plant, and we know that plants consist primarily of simple sugars that easily digest in the body in the form of vegetables.”
Even though she’s addressing sprouting grains, we get the same benefits from sprouting beans. Want to know how to sprout beans? Read Sprouting Beans.
four five main ways I use sprouted beans. When used raw, the sprouted beans offer enzymes, increased vitamins, and vegetable digestibilty. Even though the enzymes are lost due to cooking when you cook sprouted beans, they do still offer the benefit of digesting as vegetables.
1. In Salads (Raw)
Toss a handful of sprouted beans atop your salad greens. They add nutrition, crunch and flavor. Here’s one such salad: Sprout Salad. More mature or less mature sprouts can be used here – the only thing that matters is your preference or what is available.
2. As Salads (Raw)
Run out of greens or other salad fixings? Toss a variety of sprouted beans together with your favorite dressing, nuts, and cheese. Other things to add: olives, diced sweet onions, and crushed garlic. Like a bean salad, only better! If you want to pass it off as a bean salad, use younger sprouted beans that are barely sporting a sprout. But older sprouts can be used in this salad as well.
3. In Dips and Spreads (Raw or Cooked, Depending on Recipe)
You can use barely sprouted beans – either raw or cooked – as a substitute for cooked beans in any bean dip/spread recipe. The flavor may be a little different (if used raw), but I’ve always found these bean dips to be very tasty!
4. In Soups and Stews (Cooked)
Like the pictured pinto bean stew, sprouted beans (just a few days old, with barely a sprout peeking out) make a great addition to a soup or stew. They take only about a half hour to cook and you’ll get the benefit of beans that digest as vegetables, without anyone being any the wiser that they’re eating sprouts. If your sprouts are a little older, you can still use them in stews, but people may be able to see the difference. See Basic Sprouted Chili.
5. As Sprouted Flour (Raw or Cooked, Depending on Recipe)
Sprout, then dehydrate beans, and grind beans into sprouted bean flour. Then use as a substitute in recipes calling for bean flour. I have not done this – so it is just an idea. But I think it would be awesome. Anyone tried it?
How do you use sprouted beans? Feel free to share more uses or a favorite recipe that follows one of the uses I listed.
This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet.
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