Sprouting Brown Lentils


It sounds like I have some fellow sprout enthusiasts from my last post, Why Sprout. Great! I am so glad since I do plan on sharing my sprouting adventures and the recipes I create along the way. I also will be sharing some other easy (and frugal) methods for sprouting and some resource options as well.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share a few pictures and explain the basics of how I sprouted my brown lentils (with a recipe using them soon to follow). Lentils are extremely easy to sprout, so they are a great choice for first timers.

Directions for Sprouting Brown Lentils (Using a Mason Jar and Screen Insert)

Basic Directions: Soak lentils 8-12 hours in ample water. Rinse and drain thoroughly after the initial soaking period. Every 8-12 hours after wards, rinse and drain until lentils sprout. Most people enjoy lentils sprouted small.

Detailed Directions:

(You can also start soaking in the morning, and then start the rinse and drain process that evening.)

In the evening, put two cups of brown lentils in a half gallon mason jar. Fill completely with water, and screw on the screen insert. Leave out on the counter overnight.

In the morning, you will find that the lentils will have swollen considerably.


Drain through the screen into your sink.

Rinse very well with water (I use purified water) once again through the screen.Β  You want the water to drain clear.Β  Drain well over the sink, and then put screen side down in a bowl, or other container which allows the glass jar to remain at an angle. This allows the lentils to continue to drain with good air circulation.

That evening rinse and drain again.

The next morning, you may start to see sprouts, like I did.

ng_lentilsprouts2 You can stop at this point (many people like legumes sprouted just a little bit, as they taste sweetest then, but it’s a personal preference call). If you don’t see any sprouts yet, rinse and drain again and check again in the evening.

I decided to go ahead and sprout a bit longer, and on the third morning, my sprouts looked like this.


I did not rinse again, as that will make them too wet to store well. Instead, I simply made sure they were dry to the touch and took out the screen and replaced it with the normal jar lid. This was then placed in the fridge. Feel free to experiment, if you like, by sprouting even longer. You can even eventually get your lentils to grow tiny leaves (this takes about a week). Though you will probably be happiest with a very small sprout, about 1/4 inch long.

These can now be steamed and enjoyed on salads, cooked in soups or casseroles etc. Stay tuned for a recipe idea using sprouted lentils!

This post is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    Oh yes, lentils are super easy to sprout. I don’t even use a mason jar or screens or anything, just a bowl full of water on the counter does the trick. I like lentils so much when they are sprouted because of the sweet taste and how easy it is to toss them into a salad or on top of a cooked meal. I’ve never actually cooked the sprouted lentils though, since I’m assuming that would kill all the live enzymes that sprouting creates? Well, in any case, it’s always a fun kitchen experiment to sprout things!

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Michelle,

      It’s true that you do lose enzymes when you cook them, you do gain digestibility though! It’s a personal preference of course, but I like the taste a lot better cooked too. πŸ˜‰ (If you read my post about Why Sprout, you will read why I don’t eat all of my sprouts raw, by the way). Great to have you back! I missed your comments and will add you in to the carnival later today. πŸ™‚

  2. says

    Hi Kimi! I’m So glad you are doing this – I bought a couple of Sprouting devices a few months back, but really haven’t tried very many new things, I tried mung beans, but they we short & disappointing & I think they molded…so now I really just use them for wheat berries… so I am VERY much looking forward to your recipe ideas… we’re not too much for sprouts raw in this house either…Hurry, wouldja!? πŸ˜‰

    • KimiHarris says


      Normal water should be fine, usually. If you have highly chlorinated water, you can let it sit for a few hours in a pitcher to remove chlorine.

  3. Julie says

    Hi sprout buddies. my sprout world was rocked last month when I found sprouted pretzels at my health food store. They are made from the Essential Eating Sprouted Flours that I buy. What I read from their site is that when you sprout grains, the bitterness disappears and an amazing taste remains… and it’s true. Sprout on.

  4. says

    I’m interested to hear that you lightly steam the sprouts. That makes sense to me. I have tried both brown and red lentils sprouted, but still raw, and found them terrible and barely edible. They had a strong starchy taste to me, that made me wonder whether I should even be eating them raw at all! I’ve never tried steaming them, but I think that would make all the difference with lentils! Maybe I’ll give those silly old lentils another shot… πŸ™‚

  5. skye says

    a cheesecloth or nylon tights works to, remember to rinse every 8-12 hours and put them in a bowl with a lid (left ajar)

  6. Kathryn says

    I love sprouting! Thank you for the information, it nicely supports Sally Fallon’s book. I had been covering my sprouting foods with water until they sprouted instead of just until thay are soaked! Thanks, this will be much less water intensive. Also, sprouting decreased cooking time huge, also a bonus. Looking forward to trying your recipes!

  7. Jessica says

    Thanks for all of the information. I love lentils, and I accidently sprouted some last week. It kind of freaked me out and I threw them all away. I just boiled them gently for 20 minutes, and then let them sit in the water for a couple of hours. I went to drain them and put them in the fridge and they had sprouted! Next time, I will have to eat them. Do you have any idea why they sprouted so easily?

  8. Solve says

    hi all, can u sprout any dried legume? i.e. mung beans, chickpea, redbeans, or do they have to be treated? i read that you should only sprout legumes/beans that are specially for sprouting beacause if you use any old dried legume they could be treted with some sort of pesticide? i quote “warning -only chemically untreated and certified edible seeds should be used for sprouting.” from a boook called
    ‘sprouts to grow and eat’ by Esther Munroe
    is this true?

  9. Joe says

    Hi All,

    Here’s a natural solution to prevent bacteria and mold on your young sprouts.

    I’ve recently read the numerous benefits of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and how it kills bad bacteria and mold. Please research hydrogen peroxide on the web further for a solution to this common problem. It’s very easy and completely safe. It’s also good for your other plants.

  10. Sandy says

    I use a 1 lb bag of organic lentils, rinse them in a collander, then place in my pressure cooker with 12 cups of water, 2-3 chopped carrots & celery, 1-2 tbls worcestershire sauce, and 1 chicken boullion cube; cook at medium to high pressure for 30 minutes. Add 1-2 cups of cooked noodles and salt and pepper to taste. (You may want to add additional water to thin to desired consistency…especially after refrigerating.) The lentils sprout during the cooking process due to the steam. What a great healthy meal!

    • Beth says

      I am also new to sprouting, but have read that the beans need to be soaked because they produce toxins in the beginning of their sprouting stages. This is why they are supposed to be rinsed so many times, ensuring that the toxins are rinsed away. I would be concerned that your method is keeping the toxins in with your foods.
      Just food for thought.

  11. Anna says

    It’s getting very close to soup and stew time around here and I am just learning about soaking and sprouting and all of the benefits! Can’t wait to try sprouting some lentils and using them in soups πŸ™‚

  12. Steve says

    I’m not buying Sprouted Beans from a store.
    I’m Buying Dry Adzuki Beans and Lentils and Sprouting them myself. First I Soak them in water 12 Hours, dump the water – then Rinse them with water every 12 hours for about 2- 3 days. Does pre-Soaking the Dry Beans before Sprouting them eliminate the enzyme inhibitors, or do you still have to Steam them to remove the enzyme inhibitors after they’re sprouted?
    If you have to Steam the Bean Sprouts:
    Can You Steam 1 QT of Sprouted Legumes All at once, ahead of time – Let Them Dry – Then Store them in the Fridge for 5 days. Or do you have to Store Sprouted Legumes in the Fridge and then Steam them right before you eat them every time?

    I’m steaming them in a big pot with a stainless steel steamer basket.

  13. Ariel Rhinehart says

    Hi, could you tell me if it is dangerous to eat sprouts with brown spots. I made the mistake of leaving them in a sunny window and later read that you can’t do that until the last day. Thank you!

  14. Connie says

    So I stumbled across a sprouting lentil by accident. I rinsed and soaked my lentils in a bowl overnight, covered with a kitchen towel, with intentions to drain in the morning (was planning to make lentil soup the following evening). I forgot to drain and ended up soaking the lentils for about 24 hours. By the time I was ready to make the soup, the lentils had soaked up almost all of the water and had begun sprouting. I went straight to the googles to see if they were still okay to use (don’t judge… I’m a novice cook). After reading your blog, I was excited to make my soup… which was off the chain delicious. However, I’m now having some digestion issues. Do you think it’s because I didn’t rinse every 8-12 hours (I only rinsed once… at the end of my 24 hour soaking period)??

  15. lois says

    I buy alfalfa sprouts in store and eat raw on sandwiches and in salads. I recently sprouted lentil seeds from a pack of Camellia brand dried beans. Are t?hey edible raw? What about dried peas, and black eyed peas or garabanzo beans. I know red beans are a no no to eat raw, but what about the ones listed above

  16. says

    I am with you, I like the taste of cooked sprouts better than uncooked. I steam my chickpeas (garbanzo beans) sprouts for about 10 minutes and they are really delicious.

  17. Jessica says

    I accidentally sprouted my lentils when I put them in a bowl- covered- in the fridge and after a few days, sprouts! I am making lentil stew tomorrow and figured sprouting would give it a much nicer flavor. Thanks for all the great info here!

  18. Melissa J> says

    I just don’t know what to do with my lentils. I soaked them for a day and drained them. I noticed that they will sprout probably today. (coming apart) I guess I will use some for sprouts and some for soups. I really need a good recipe for lentil soup and or with rice.
    I know they have a lot of protein, but, not sure if I will eat them raw when sprouted. I know that they can get mold, so I will watch. I guess I will keep searching the net. I found this string of info though!

  19. Deborah says

    I’ve sprouted my red organic lentils twice now. At the end of three days they were really hard (if sprouted), so I cooked them. But even after 3 days of sprouting and 30 minutes of cooking they are not softening. They taste and have the consistency of being undercooked no matter how much I cook them. I think it is because my water filtration system is very alkaline and adds a lot of minerals to the water. But I did try, with this batch, to add some raw vinegar to the first soak (I’d rather not waste it on every soak though and don’t think it helped). I cannot add whey, as I cannot have cow milk products. Are there any other ways to make sprouting lentils work for me? I mean I guess the goal is still achieved, but I don’t like the consistency. Thanks.

    • KimiHarris says

      That is so strange, Deborah! I have never sprouted red lentils before. In fact, I assumed since they were hulled in a different way than most lentils, that you couldn’t sprout them! Did you get little tails from them? The problem may actually be the raw apple cider vinegar you added. It could be cause your lentils to harden, which makes them really almost impossible to cook. When sprouting, just soak and rinse without any addition. πŸ™‚


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