Lentils. They’re a cheap and delicious staple found in soups and salads. They’re also good for you, and have been claimed to be one of those superfoods you’re inundated with information about.
But let’s face it: they can get a little boring. Pantry staples don’t tend to include leafy greens because, well, leafy greens tend to spoil if they’re stuffed into a pantry for too long. Instead, you open the door to find beans, lentils, pasta…beans…maybe a can of tomatoes. How long can YOU go without the herbaceous crunch of greens?
BUT HERE’S THE COOL PART: you can sprout lentils! All you do is put some lentils into a jar – any kind of jar – and cover them with water. First they’ll suck up all the liquid and become a little swollen – at this point, add more water. Then they’ll suck up a little more, and all the enzymatic processes contained within the little pods of life will kick start the sprouting process. After 3 days in water, spread your lentils on a tray lined with paper towels, spritz them so they’re nice and moist (but not drowning), and do this until you see little white tails growing out of each legume. Go ahead, pop one in your mouth: it should taste like summer – fresh, crunchy, and OH so tasty. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the process.
There’s a lot to do with sprouted lentils. People put them in salads, bread, and soup. What I did ten minutes ago, however, was a spin on a classic pasta dish…and it was unbelievably good. Try it.
– a handful of linguine (for one person)
– a handful of sprouted lentils
– about 4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (they’re salty and vary in size; adjust accordingly!)
– about 10 capers, roughly chopped
– 2 tomatoes (fresh OR canned), diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
– 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped (doesn’t matter if it’s flat or curly)
– one dried chili pepper, or chili flakes (optional)
– salt and pepper
1. Get your water boiling vigorously, and drop in enough salt to make it taste like the ocean (let’s say 2tbsps). Add – the linguine – I like to do the twist and drop.
2. Two minutes before your pasta is done, heat olive oil in a skillet on a medium heat. Add garlic, chili, anchovies, and capers. Stir quickly – you don’t want your garlic to burn!
3. When the mixture is fragrant, add your diced tomatoes.
4. When the pasta is almost al dente (just slightly undercooked), use tongs to transfer the linguine to your skillet, making sure to carry over about a quarter cup of liquid. Alternatively, drain the pasta, but reserve some of the pasta water. Adding this starchy liquid helps silkily bind all your ingredients together – NO one likes a dry, stiff plate of food where all the ingredients don’t hang out. Combine and stir until linguine is cooked through.
5. Add your proudly sprouted lentils, allow to cook for no more than a minute – you want them to retain their crunch!
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and scatter chopped parsley over the top to serve.