Have you ever tried sprouting lentils? Lentils are seeds, so they can be sprouted just like any other seed. Sprouting them transforms them from a dry pantry staple to a fresh, crunchy vegetable that’s alive, delicious, and super nutritious. Sprouting also improves their protein and nutrient content, and can make them easier on digestion. In this post, I’ve rounded up 15 awesome lentil sprout recipes to help you use your sprouty little friends!
Can Lentils Sprouts Be Eaten Raw?
Yes! In their dried form raw lentils cannot be digested, and need to be cooked to neutralize their acid and unlock their nutrients. Sprouting, however, does the same thing, allowing us to enjoy them without any cooking. You can eat them raw as soon as they start to produce visible white tails and are crunchy like a snap pea. Raw sprouted lentils are delicious in salads, on sandwiches, or just plain by the handful!
How to Sprout Lentils
All you need to do is soak some regular dried lentils, drain them, and let them sit in a jar for a few days, rinsing them occasionally. While there are some awesome lids and gadgets to make sprouting more fun, you don’t need any fancy equipment. When I’m traveling, I’ve been known to sprout lentils in drinking glasses and it works just fine!
To learn how to sprout your own lentils at home, visit my easy step-by-step tutorial for how to sprout lentils here. It takes only about 2 minutes of active time each day, and about about three days to start to get small sprouted tails.
Cooking Sprouted Lentils
If you only sprout your lentils for a short time and don’t allow them to grow tails, you can cook them as you would in any recipe that involves cooked lentils and enjoy an awesome nutrition boost and easier digestibility. To sprout lentils for cooking, just soak them overnight, rinse them in the morning, and cook them before they get sprouted white tails. They won’t look much different, but they will have expanded in volume (see photos below) and this short soak will still unlock the benefits of sprouting.
I don’t recommend cooking lentil sprouts once the white tails have emerged, because their character transforms into more of a crunchy green vegetable than a bean. Think dry mung beans vs. mung-bean sprouts. I do throw longer tailed sprouts into a stir fry from time to time, but I prefer the longer sprouts in fresh, raw contexts.
Recipes for Raw Lentil Sprouts
Spring Buddha Bowl
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you probably saw this one coming. Buddha bowls are usually my first suggestion all the time, for everything. Roast some root veggies, add some greens and grains, and whip up a batch of my dreamy 2-minute
Potato & Sprouted Lentil Breakfast Salad
Who said salad wasn’t a breakfast food? This nourishing morning meal comes together in only 15 minutes! It’s packed with nutrition, and combines freshness and crunch from the arugula and raw sprouted lentils, satisfying starchiness from the potatoes (which can be added warm or cold), creaminess and tang from a simple balsamic dressing, and a kick from spring onions and black pepper. Find the full recipe here.
Toast w/ Hummus & Lentil Sprouts
It doesn’t get much simpler or tastier than toast with sprouts on top! I love hummus as a base, but avocado is delicious too. Play around with pretty sprinkles of seeds and spices.
Hearty Seed Crackers w/ Hummus & Sprouts
One of my favorite uses of sprouts! For an easy and delicious hummus recipe made in a blender check out this post, or how about some baba ganoush or caramelized onion and eggplant dip? All of these spreads pair perfectly with a little fresh green sprouty crunch. Also check out this awesome recipe for making your own flourless oat & seed crackers.
Crunchy Spring Cabbage Salad w/ Sprouted Lentils
This simple spring salad is crunchy to the max, with fresh lentil sprouts, raw cabbage, and your choice of dressing to tie it all together. This salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I make it with a few handfuls of cabbage, chopped snap peas, lentil sprouts, a simple & tangy lemon dressing, and a flurry of fresh herbs.
Chickpea “Tuna” Salad w/ Sprouts
Sprouts with long, crunchy tails are awesome in sandwiches. I especially love them on soft grain bread with my favorite chickpea and sunflower “tuna.”
Sprouted Lentil & Raw Kale Salad
This simple, yummy salad from Story Cooking is great to make ahead as it gets yummier over time. Find the recipe here.
Avocado & Lentil Salad
This yummy avocado and lentil salad from Give Recipe is easily adaptable to the seasons, and is perfect paired with sprouted lentils. Try tomatoes and cucumber in the summer, maybe even with watermelon slices. In the colder months, toss in some spinach, pomegranate and mandarin oranges. This salad is super refreshing and warming at the same time, and it will give you a great boost of energy and immunity! Recipe here.
Arugula Salad w/ Chickpeas, Beets, Sprouts, & Walnuts
This easy, delicious salad happened one day when I was tossing together a lazy meal from random things in the fridge, and I liked it so much that it became a staple. It’s perfect for a quick throw together if you’ve got pre-cooked beets, avocado, and canned chickpeas lying around. Full recipe here.
Warm Lentil Sprout & Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Pepitas
I loooove warm wilted salads. This one is so satisfying and nourishing, with the roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, wilted greens, sprouted lentils, and simple, flavorful dressing. Full recipe here.
Mediterranean Sprouted Lentil Salad
This fancy shmancy salad from the Sublime Guys include such a fun description of lentil sprouts that I just have. to share: “Sprouts are unbelievable forces of nature. When seeds or legumes are sprouting, they are at their maximum life force potential, doing everything possible to exist, to become a bigger version of themselves. They are full of enzymes and life!” Check out their recipe for Mediterranean Sprouted Lentil Salad here.
Sprouted Lentil & Golden Beet Salad w/ Radicchio
This one comes from New Mexico’s edible magazine, and I just had to share it here because I can’t get over those colors. The purple, bitter radicchio with the crunchy sprouts, sweet roasted golden beets, and honey mustard vinaigrette is just absolutely gorgeous. Check out the recipe here.
Recipes for Cooked Sprouted Lentils
Hearty Eggplant & Lentil Stew
This robust, hearty, and flavorful eggplant and lentil stew will satisfy any eater, vegan or not. This dish is yummy by itself, or served over a bed of rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes. Use your barely-sprouted lentils in this dish for an extra punch of plant protein and nutrition. Find the recipe here.
Warming Winter Lentil Soup
This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and easy to swap in regular cooked lentils for just-barely sprouted ones. This soup is perfect for warming up, and somehow manages to be both hearty and light. Recipe here.
Mujadara Lentils w/ Caramelized Onions & Spiced Yogurt
This classic Middle Eastern dish is simple yet loaded with beautiful, bright, complementary flavors. The fresh, aromatic mint, warming spices, creamy spiced yogurt, and savory lentils makes a brilliant combination. Recipe here.
Vegan Sprouted Lentil Burgers
Check out this drool-worthy vegan sprouted lentil burger from Feasting at Home. Recipe here.
What are your favorite sprouted lentil recipes?