By: Jonah Krochmalnek, Living Earth Farms
http://www.livingearthfarm.ca/

Sprouts are one of the best locally grown foods around (and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased)! They have one of the most concentrated natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins.

And in addition to being really nutritious, sprouts are one of the most versatile ingredients in your kitchen. You can use sprouts to bulk up a dish, as the main ingredient or simply as a garnish. Here are my 5 top reasons you should be eating more sprouts:

  1. Protein: the quality of protein in beans, seeds, and grains improves when they are sprouted. Proteins are converted to amino acids during the sprouting process, making them much easier to digest than un-sprouted seeds. The amino acid lysine, which helps maintain a healthy immune system, increases significantly during the sprouting process!

  1. Vitamins: Vitamin content increases substantially in the sprouting process. This is especially true of vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E. The vitamin content of some seeds increases up to 20 times the original value within a few days of sprouting. In fact, research shows that during the sprouting process mung bean sprouts increase in vitamin B1 by over 250%, vitamin B2 by over 500% and niacin by over 250%!

  1. Enzymes: Experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables! Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for all your body’s functions including helping extract vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat.

  1. Fiber: The fiber content of beans, seeds, and grains also increases substantially when sproutedFiber binds to fats and toxins in our body to escort them out and ensures that any fat our body breaks down is moved quickly out of the body before it can reabsorb through the walls of the intestines (which is the main place for nutrient absorption).

As a sprout farmer I’m often asked for sprout recipes. I use sprouts on pretty much everything! Here are 4 of my favourite sprout recipes to help you make the most of your Living Earth Sprout of the Week subscription from Fresh City.

Sprouted Pea Dip (source: rawfoodrecipes.com)Sprouted%20Pea%20Dip%20Recipe.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pea shoots (sprouted peas)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

Directions:
Puree the ingredients in a food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste!

Mung Bean Sprout Side Dish (source: maangchi.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. mung bean sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the sprouts and blanch for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Rinse them under cold water in a large bowl. As you rinse them, shake them under the water so the seed shells fall into the bowl. Pour the cleaned sprouts into a sieve and strain well. 
  3. Combine the garlic, green onion, salt, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a bowl. Add the sprouts and mix by hand to season evenly.
  4. Transfer them to a serving bowl or plate. Serve warm or cold as a side dish. You can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.

Sprout Fried Rice (source: sproutpeople.org)Sprout%20Fried%20Rice%20Recipe.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice (basmati or jasmine)
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. oil (peanut or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce/tamari
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 8-16 oz. mixed crunchy sprouts

Directions:

  1. Combine the rice with the water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is done.
  2. Heat a skillet or wok over high heat for 1 minute, add oil and heat until smoking.
  3. Toss in the sprouts and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add rice, soy sauce and sugar and continue stir frying for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and eat!

Sprouted Adzuki Bulgur Salad (source: sproutpeople.org)Sprouted%20Adzuki%20Bulgar%20Salad%20Recipe.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1-2 cups adzuki bean sprouts (or any crunchy sprout)
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, diced
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil the water and remove from heat. Add the bulgur wheat, stir and cover until the bulgur is chewable and cool, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the veggies.
  3. In large bowl, combine the cooled bulgur, sprouts, capers and vegetables and toss well.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the bulgur salad and serve!
     

Jonah has been passionate about growing and eating good food since he tasted his first garden fresh tomato as a child. After many winters without farm fresh produce, Jonah saw a unique opportunity to provide quality greens and herbs year round. In 2013, Jonah started an innovative indoor farm right in Toronto called Living Earth Farm and by 2015 became Ontario’s first certified organic vertical farm. Jonah hopes to be a part of the positive change in Ontario’s food system and inspire others to do the same, so the next generation will inherit a healthier planet with healthier people.