Lentil microgreens are edible, perfectly safe for you to eat, and packed with a superb range of the healthiest vitamins and minerals. While there are natural toxins in all legumes, you can ensure that those found in lentil microgreens will pose no risk to your health by following easy preparation techniques, including soaking, rinsing, cooking, and washing.
Below we’ll take a closer look at how consuming lentil microgreens has become more popular over the decades, the countless ways that you can introduce them into your diet, why scientists have highlighted the dangers of preparing them in an incorrect fashion, and the simple methods you can follow to maximize the benefits of these tasty plants.
Are lentil microgreens a natural food?
Microgreens are the very same vegetable and lentil plants that you eat on a daily basis, just at a different stage of their life cycle to the ones you see most often. Rather than letting them grow to their full size, you can harvest lentil plants before their leaves properly mature to end up with easy and edible microgreens about 1 to 3 inches in height.
Have we always been eating them?
The USDA documents San Francisco chefs making use of microgreens back in the 1980s and, unlike the plants themselves, their popularity did continue to grow! Before long experiments began with new seed varieties, including legumes like lentils, leading to a microgreen revolution that put them onto restaurant menus all over the country, so that we’ve now enjoyed a few decades of public and private microgreen consumption.
Do lentil microgreens taste different to other types?
All microgreens grow in slightly different ways and have their own set of nutritious benefits, which means lentil microgreens boast some unique properties. In contrast to the popular variety of radish microgreens, with its peppery flavor and high levels of Vitamin K and beta-carotene, lentil microgreens are instead characterized by their excellent balance of Vitamins A, B, C, and E, and a more bitter, grassy taste.
Why should you eat lentil microgreens?
As well as boasting half an alphabet of vitamins, lentil microgreens are rich in fiber and protein, but, unlike other sources of protein, very low in fat and calories. Incorporating them into meals helps boost your metabolism, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce blood glucose levels, so that your body can’t find enough ways to thank you for the stronger heart and bones you’re helping to build.
How can you fit them into your diet?
Lentil microgreens are so versatile that you’ve got endless ways of working them into your recipes – maybe with some experimenting you’ll discover a new idea we’ve not heard of yet! Our personal favorites involve adding them to delicious salads, wraps, and curries, but if the taste isn’t to your preference you can still try mixing them into your preferred smoothies to alter the flavor while retaining the health benefits.
Are there any other benefits to eating them?
Eating lentil microgreens doesn’t just help your body lose weight, it’s also a pretty good way to keep your wallet in shape! From manuka honey to goji berries, self-proclaimed ‘superfoods’ have a notorious reputation for getting through your dollars, but you can make lentil microgreens from the comfort of your home and the nominal spend on a tray and some seeds is dwarfed by the continued return within days.
Can you eat home-grown lentil microgreens?
While we needed chefs to spur their popularity, microgreens are a world away from Japanese blowfish and you don’t have to sign up to any cooking classes to end up with your own produce that’s perfectly safe to eat. With just a jar, a cheesecloth, a spot of water, and sunlight the microgreens you grow from home can be just as delicious as the ones served up in restaurants.
Do lentil microgreens contain anything harmful?
Like many vegetables, the lentil plants from which microgreens are grown do contain natural toxins and may also have harmful germs. However, nutritional experts William Peavy and Warren Peary have pointed out that most of these toxins either appear in such minuscule amounts to cause no harm to the human body or are almost always neutralized by the ways we prepare the food for consumption.
If they haven’t been prepared correctly are they dangerous to eat?
While the basics of growing lentil microgreens are not rocket scientist, you should always do your research on the methods and optimum growth conditions if you’re trying it yourself. Failure to prepare properly could lead to the growth of unhealthy mold or the accidental harvesting of sprouts, which carry a greater risk of food poisoning when eaten raw and uncleaned.
Are there ways to eliminate any side effects?
By harvesting your lentil plant as a microgreen and not a sprout you already avoid the anti-nutrients that come with eating the latter. Soaking for 12 hours or more is a good way of removing the effects of protease inhibitors, as is normal cooking, while you only need to lightly rinse or blanche your microgreens if you want to remove any germs and make them safe to eat raw.
Is it better to cook or eat raw?
While cooking is undoubtedly the best way of ensuring your lentil microgreens are completely germ-free, you’re also losing some enzymes and water-soluble vitamins that can do you a whole world of good. More people prefer to keep these health benefits by eating them raw and taking the simple steps above to make sure they’re only taking mouthfuls of the good stuff!
Can you ever eat too many lentil microgreens?
It’s always wise to get a degree of variety in your diet as an excess of any single food substance denies your body access to other important nutrients that different ingredients supply. But, as lentil microgreens work so well as a garnish or an addition to recipes, your intake is always likely to be well moderated and balanced by the other food you consume at the same time.