Thursday, May 3, 2012

Springy Sprouted Salad

I briefly got into sprouting last spring.  I sprouted garbanzo beans and made Sprouted Hummus the recipe of the week in our tots and kids classes at Kids' Table.  And that was pretty much it.  Until I saw an article in a recent issue of Food & Wine expounding the many healthy benefits of sprouted foods.  The sprouting process unleashes powerful nutrients as the seed begins to grow new life, and makes the legume or grain more digestible to boot.  Amazing!  The article specifically talked about sprouting mung beans.  I happened to have a container of dried mung beans in my pantry.  Fate?  I thought so.

Sprouted mung beans made an appearance in a few different recipes in my kitchen as I experimented.  This one stood head and shoulders above the rest.  I was so excited the first day that I made it that I smuggled some into a restaurant for my dinner companions to taste (yes, literally in a small container in my purse).  It's not only delicious, but it travels well - perfect for potlucks and picnics!

I've included basic sprouting instructions after the recipe.  I hope you are inspired to try it.  It's a great thing to get kids involved in.  Sprouting can take as little as 2 days.  You'd be hard pressed to find a gardening project with more instant gratification!  If you're not excited about sprouting just yet, or don't want to wait two days to make the salad, I include some equally tasty seasonal alternatives to the sprouted mung beans.

Photo by Daniel Stranahan

Springy Sprouted Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups sprouted mung beans (or shelled and cooked fava beans or english peas)
1 cup (packed) arugula
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 oz parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, coarsely grated
Leaves from 3-4 sprigs mint, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
Juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 T)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp salt

Combine quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot.  Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove pot from heat (keeping it covered) and let stand 5 minutes.  Transfer 2 cups cooked quinoa to a large bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally.

Add 2 cups sprouted mung beans, arugula, red onion, cheese and mint and stir gently to combine.

In a separate small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt and whisk well.  Pour dressing over salad, tossing gently to coat.  Season to taste with additional salt if needed.  Enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings

How to Sprout
You can get a sprouting jar, or get by quite nicely like I have with a makeshift version using a large glass jar, a piece of cheese cloth and a rubber band.  Make sure the jar or container you use is big enough to let the beans swell - they expand by about 3 times in volume!  Keep this in mind in determining how many beans to sprout as well.  Only sprout what you will eat within 3 days or so.

Combine beans (between 1/2 cup and 1 cup) with 4 times the volume of water in the jar.  Let soak for 12 hours.  Drain and rinse well.  Return beans to jar, secure cheese cloth over top of jar with a rubber band and invert jar at a roughly 45 degree angle so that residual moisture can drain through the cheese cloth.  Keep out of direct sunlight.  (In the picture on the left, my sprouting beans are in the sunlight only for the shot!)  Rinse beans after 8-12 hours and return to sprouting position.  Continue until beans sprout and sprouts grow to about 1/2 inch in length.

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