Two weeks in and I think if I could describe 2016 in one word it would be “fresh”. Everything feels clean and renewed, from my food to my home. Friendships seem brighter, plans feel more exciting, and my diet has been filled with bright juices. I began sprouting the week before the holidays, and came back determined to go sprout crazy. It happened, and I have nearly turned into a sprout myself. My favorites are alfalfa, broccoli, and fenugreek sprouts. You can also sprout beans, such as mung beans and lentils, and even grains! To keep it simple I stuck to seeds here in this post, but feel free to experiment with different ones that suit your taste and sense of adventure. Sprouts are incredible not only because they add a wonderful crunch and fresh element to your meals, but they are also a powerhouse of nutrients. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – these seeds hold all the goodies in for the sake of self preservation until sprouted. The simple act of adding water lets these little hidden superfoods know to let down their walls and activate all of their superpowers. Many grow tails, some longer than others, and possess different notes of flavor. Some spicy, some grassy, and others bit nutty and sweet – like my new favorite, fenugreek.
I’m excited to share a little sprouting DIY with you here today, as its something I actually do on a weekly basis now and am excited to be incorporating into my diet. I hope to intertwine more practical recipes I find myself enjoying in my day to day here on the site this year. With the holidays being no time for vacation in the blogosphere, I am taking my post holiday vacation next week! We are flying home to southern California this weekend to stay for 8 days, and I’ll be skipping a blog post for the sake of my sanity (I haven’t missed a week since our previous trip home to CA last May – goodness!). I’m making up for it a bit, however, with not just a sprouting tutorial today – but also some food prepping tips + three of my favorite lunch recipes featuring sprouts! So really, it’s a post that should last through next week easy, right? I hope you think so. And I really hope you enjoy all the sprouted goodness I have for you here. I also have a note on the future of this space at the end of the post, where I ask for some feedback too if you feel comfortable doing so. I hope 2016 has been swell so far, and if you want to tag along on our trip next week you are totally invited to – just pop over for a follow on Instagram. Have a fan-flipping-tastic week!
Choose the seeds you wish to sprout and place them in a clean, large, wide mouth jar. Make sure to take into account how much room your seeds will need to have proper air circulation – this is important in order to allow the excess water to evaporate properly. Without air circulation the seeds are at risk for growing mold. Here I used 1 large jar, and 2 narrower jars. After sprouting in the narrower jars I realized this was a poor idea and put my seeds at risk for not drying properly! I would recommend the larger of the jars (or using less seeds). You will only need a tablespoon or so of the smaller seeds, such as alfalfa and broccoli, due to the beautiful long sprouts they will produce. Once you have chosen your seeds and placed them in a jar, fill the jar with filtered water (pictured below), place a thin piece of cheesecloth over the top of the jar, secure with a rubber band, and let soak for 8 to 12 hours to activate the seeds.
Once the seeds have soaked, drain the water through the cheesecloth and place the jar at a slant in an empty bowl (making sure there is plenty of room for air circulation) and let any excess water drain into the bowl. Make sure the jar is not sitting in the water, keeping the seeds from getting rid of excess moisture, and drain the bowl after about 10 minutes to discard any water that drained. It is important that you store your sprouting seeds in an area with good air circulation, but dark. Sprouts thrive in dark environments, away from sunlight.
Rinse and drain your seeds once in the morning, and again at night, for 2 to 3 days. You may need to remove the cheesecloth in order to add the filtered water to rinse your seeds, then replace it after to drain. If it is particularly warm or dry in your kitchen, you may need to give them an additional rinse in the middle of the day as well. The key is to keep the seeds wet but not soaked.
On day three all of my sprouts had nice long tails and were finished sprouting. Once your sprouts are ready, allow them to dry out for at least 8 hours after your last rinse. It is important that the sprouts are allowed to dry before being transferred to a clean, dry, airtight jar to be stored in the fridge. (Any excess moisture puts them at risk for growing mold.) You can enjoy your sprouts right away, or over the course of 3 to 4 days when properly stored in an airtight jar in the fridge.
A habit I have been embracing in the new year is having a well prepped fridge. This means taking the time to sift through the groceries when I get home from the market to find a handful of ways I can store them for easy use. It also means thinking ahead to soak + cook grains and beans, and prepare a few simple condiments or spreads – there is nothing greater at any meal during the day than to open my fridge and find all of the elements I need for a tasty, healthy dish waiting to be tossed together.
This includes pre-washing and slicing scallions, which I then store in an airtight jar in the fridge (for up to 3 days) to sprinkle over salads and add to sautés. Pre-shredding veggies for salads (such as red beets, golden beets, carrots, red cabbage, etc.), wrapping them in a damp cloth, and then storing in an airtight container in the fridge (best used within 3 days). I like to have at least one grain and one bean already cooked, such as quinoa or brown rice and lentils or chickpeas. These are easy to steam up hot and toss together with a little cold pressed flax oil, herbs, and seasonings to turn something so simple into a dish that is absolutely stellar.
You will now find rotating jars of sprouts on my refrigerator shelves, as well as a simple spread or two (such as the sunflower aioli I have a recipe for below). My favorite homemade nut butters I’ve had on hand lately are a toasted cashew + brazil nut, and an almond + pepita. Both positively addicting. A handful of herbs wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in an airtight bag (or my new favorites, these organic cloth bags) will last for a week in the fridge and add the most wonderful flavor to any meal – taking it from mediocre to something fancy with a simple garnishing. Marinating tempeh or tofu that’s ready to be baked/seared is also a welcome resident of my fridge.
With a little time set aside at the end of the weekend, and an occasional few minutes of creative thinking throughout the week, you can really prep yourself silly with some amazing plant based goodness to fuel you all week long. Below I have for you three recipes that have been on rotation in our home lately with the foods we have been keeping stock. I hope you find one (or all three) that you like, and are inspired to include some food prep in your weekly routines!
These three recipes are all lunch inspired, but can of course be enjoyed for dinner, or be served in smaller portions as a side or a snack. I have included a chickpea + rice inspired dish with fresh dill and a delicious maple dijon dressing, a savory toast slathered in sunflower aioli with a carrot parsley salad, and a veggie lovers bowl filled with massaged greens and a rainbow of shredded vegetables that are sure to brighten the winter-iest of days. I use my new favorite fenugreek sprouts in the first dish, as well as sprinkle them over the third. The tinier sprouts (broccoli, alfalfa, and radish) I use on my toast and also toss with the very veggie salad. You can of course use your favorites in place of mine here, these recipes are really a baseline for you to explore with whatever you have on hand – and to show how versatile sprouts can be in your diet. Just be sure to eat them raw, heating will destroy their precious enzymes. Happy lunching folks!
This grain and bean salad is so fresh. The dill reminds me of spring or summer, adding a brightness to the dish in the midst of winter. The maple dijon dressing is lightly sweet with a great tang. I chose to use my new favorite sprouts, fenugreek, but you can of course use whichever you make/are a fan of in this dish. Packed with protein and fiber due to the brown rice and chickpeas, this is one satisfying lunch. Enjoy it at room temp or chill and pack for an excellent takeaway meal.
BROWN RICE + CHICKPEAS + DILL W/ MAPLE DIJON DRESSING + SPROUTS
Makes 1 serving, multiply as needed.
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup cooked brown rice
1 heaping tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fenugreek sprouts
1 teaspoon cold pressed flax oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
salt to taste
Combine the chickpeas, brown rice, sprouts, and chopped dill in a bowl and toss. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, flax oil, and maple syrup together. Add a few pinches of salt to the dressing, then drizzle over the brown rice mixture and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Eat right away at room temperature, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This makes a great pack lunch as well once chilled.
I will take a slice of toast whenever possible – gravitating most often towards the savory kinds. This toast is slathered with my favorite sunflower aioli – which I originally discovered in this post last year. Topped with fresh sprouts and a crunch carrot parsley salad (inspired by a recipe in Amy Chaplin’s cookbook At Home In The Whole Foods Kitchen), this toast not only qualifies as a meal on its own – but is so fresh and bursting with nutrients I guarantee it will make you feel amazing!
SAVORY TOAST W/ SUNFLOWER AIOLI + SPROUTS + CARROT PARSLEY SALAD
Makes one 8 ounce jar of sunflower aioli, and 2 cups of carrot salad.
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 4 hours
2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt to taste
carrot parsley salad
2 medium carrots, shredded with a box grater
1/2 cup parsley leaves finely chopped
1 tablespoon cold pressed flax oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt to taste
a handful of sprouts
2 slices of sprouted bread
thinly sliced scallions (optional)
Rinse and drain the soaked sunflower seeds and add them to a blender (or food processor) with the remaining aioli ingredients. Blend until smooth. Transfer to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Use within one week.)
Combine the ingredients for the carrot parsley salad in a bowl and toss to combine. Serve right away and store ay leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. (Use within 4 days.)
Toast a slice of sprouted bread, top with a spread of sunflower aioli, a sprinkle of sliced scallions (if using), a handful of sprouts, and a few spoonfuls of the carrot parsley salad.
This is the salad most commonly enjoyed in our house. I eat a big mixing bowl sized version of this recipe every other day. My body has come to literally crave this combination of raw veggies and sprouts with the simplest of dressings. The nutty flax oil paired with the tang of apple cider vinegar, plus a hint of sweetness from the maple, is a flavor combination I will never tire of. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, this salad is a breeze to whip up for lunch – especially if you do your prep work ahead of time and shred the veggies. Keep leftover shredded veggies wrapped in a damp paper towel in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 3 days.
A VERY VEGGIE SPROUTED SALAD
Makes 1 serving, multiply as needed.
4 to 5 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 red beet, shredded
1/2 golden beet, shredded
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 small handful thinly sliced red cabbage
heaping 1/3 cup fresh sprouts
1 tablespoon cold pressed flax oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste
Combine the veggies in a large mixing bowl and drizzle over the flax oil, vinegar, and maple syrup. Toss with your hands to evenly coat the veggies, and massage the dressing into the lettuce until it breaks down and reduces in size (about 1 minute of massaging). Season with salt and pepper, toss, and taste/adjust seasoning as needed. Top with seared/baked tempeh or tofu if desired, and enjoy right away.
NOTES ON 2016
If you made it to the bottom of this post – thank you! This was a novel, but an oh-so-fun one for me to share with you today. My hope in 2016 is to step back after a year of hustling to push myself creatively in the kitchen, and hopefully bring more recipes to this space that I interact with on a frequent basis. Still including those oh-so-special recipes for treats and occasions for a special meal – but revealing more of my current meals throughout the seasons, even if they don’t fit the prescribed tab for what others may expect. But beyond my aspirations for new content here on Faring Well, I’d love to hear what you would like to see? In the realm of plant based, whole foods recipes – are there any in particular you would love for me to create? A type of food, whether it be specific or an entire category? A special dietary need you would love to see accommodated more often? More chocolate? Be honest, I’d love to know. This space is as much yours as it is mine, and I am over the moon and back grateful for you all. – xo
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