I remember, a few years ago, I had some friends over and one of them was looking at the amount of jars and different condiments that decorate the shelves of my tiny kitchen and said precisely this: “This is not a kitchen, this is a lab!”.  Little did he knew about the extension of it.

In my quest for a more balanced diet I also seek to make it more effective. Following Dr. Joel Furhman’s formula, which I found in one of my in depth researches at No Meat Athlete, health (H) equals the total nutrients (N) ingested divided by the calories (C):

“In other words, the more (micro) nutrients we can get from fewer calories, in a diet free of processed foods, the healthier we will be.”

This is the kind of argument I can use with my husband, who spends more time looking at an Excel sheet than at his dear wife. I already had the formula, the challenge was to be able to transform H=N/C into tasty recipes and that required imagination and resourcefulness. That’s when I remembered sprouts!

Step 1: how to increase food potential? We already know that we should soak legumes, nuts and seeds to reduce phytic acid, promote the bioavailability of these foods, and neutralize the anti-nutrients…

All these processes that protect the seed from its aggressors can be counteracted by soaking. In germination, we are going further in this process. We are giving these plants all the conditions to start growing. We’re telling them “you can come out, little plant, there are no predators around…” and when it least expects and it is at its nutritional peak, we eat it! Who said that the vegetable kingdom was not a jungle, too?!

Germinating is a lot easier than it sounds. I should know. The funny thing is that I got my germinating flask some time ago and I never used it because I feared I would do something wrong. But when I met the nice lady who offered me the kefir grains – remember?! – we spent a lot of time talking. One of the many themes we discussed was her sprouts production at home. And when I came to the conclusion that keeping kefir alive was not difficult, I decided to take my chances in sprouting and make use of the flask that I had back home. I followed the tips strictly and started with mung beans, but feel free to experiment with other seeds, as the scheme below demonstrates:

Source: Weed ‘Em & Reap

Recently the Portuguese blog Healthy Fit Way also published an excellent article on the advantages of the consumption of sprouts, which I strongly suggest you consult.

And how did I do it? I started by soaking the mung beans (1-2 tablespoons) and set half aside to germinate. As you can see from the images below, it is extremely easy:

First night: soak them in double the amount of water.

Give the seeds a shower without removing the lid of the bottle (if you do not have one of these, you can watch this video where Natacha explains how to do it at home and helps you in this process) and let it drain.

Repeat the previous step until a sprout appears on the bean.

The mung beans take between 1 and 2 days, according to your preference. I like to leave them a third day, I confess, and then I put them to dry in the sun.

As always, I leave you a recipe to help you easily include sprouts in your food, although there are 1001 ways to do so. Just use your imagination and make your kitchen a small experimental lab!

Warm carrot and sprout salad

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of sprouted mung beans
  • 70g of hazelnuts in shell
  • 170g of carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • Chopped parsley

Sauce ingredients

  • Juice of a small orange
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Preparation

Turn the oven on to 180ºC. When heated, place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast them for 5 minutes.

Peel and cut the carrots in wide sticks. Boil them for 4 minutes and allow them to cool slightly before placing them in an oven container. Sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and 2 tablespoons of honey. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven, stirring a few times so that the liquid wraps the carrots evenly.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing the orange juice, the remaining avocado oil and the 2 tablespoons of honey.

When the carrots are well roasted, let them cool slightly before mixing them with the hazelnuts.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, add the sprouted mung beans and a generous serving of the sauce, mixed with the remaining baking liquid of the carrots.

Enjoy your meal!

Note: Recipe adapted from  Jamie Oliver.

This post was originally written in Portuguese. Click here for the Portuguese version.