Legumes are an extremely important part of a vegetarian or vegan diet providing a very healthy protein and carbohydrate source while at the same time giving the body what is known as the “second meal effect” or “lentil effect” which blunts blood sugar surges the day after consumption - something that can be very important for those who are vegetarian or vegan because they tend to consume more carbohydrates - which raise blood sugar - than their meat eating counterparts.
With that said legumes also contain anti-nutrients (compounds that interfere with nutrient absorption). As well as natural insecticides and enzyme inhibitors that can cause us digestive problems. That is why raw beans should be soaked before consumption (especially kidney beans!), but sprouting can be even better. Sprouting neutralizes those hard to digest compounds and can make nutrients and vitamins more bioavailable.
Dried beans are far more nutritious than their canned counterparts and are best sprouted but if you can’t sprout then soak!
The instructions below are taken from vegitariantimes.com and have never let me down!
HOW TO SOAK BEANS
PLACE in a large glass bowl or mason jar, and cover with warm, filtered water (about a 2:1 ratio) and about ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt. Cover with a light cloth for desired time.
RINSE food thoroughly and drain.
HOW TO SPROUT BEANS AND LENTILS
GET a quart-sized (or larger) mason jar. Remove the solid middle insert of the lid, and cut a piece of cheesecloth or breathable mesh to fit inside.
FILL one-third of the jar with beans, and fill the rest of the jar with warm, filtered water and about ½ tsp Celtic sea salt. Screw the lid on with cheesecloth or breathable mesh screen in place.
SOAK For soaking times, see table below.
DRAIN/RINSE Remove the mesh insert of the lid, and replace with metal insert. Pour the soaking water out of the jar, fill with fresh water, replace lid, and rinse well by shaking jar. Replace the metal insert with the mesh lid again, and drain.
INVERT the jar and lay at an angle so that air can circulate, and the water can drain off. Allow to sit in the light.
REPEAT this process, rinsing every few hours, or at least twice daily.
WAIT In 1 to 4 days, the sprouts will be ready. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar (with the solid part of the lid replaced) in the fridge.
ENJOY within 2 to 3 days cook as you would canned beans.
****you need not wait for the sprouts to grow as soon as they begin sprouting use them!
FOOD SOAKING TIME (hours) SPROUTING TIME (days)
Adzuki Beans 8-1 4
Black Beans 8-12 3
Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Lentils 7 2-3
Mung Beans 8-12 4