A Beginners Guide to Kitchen Sprouting

A Beginners Guide to Kitchen Sprouting

Bowl of sprouted lentils and jar of salad sprouts


Nature has provided everything we need upon this planet for our survival  and we are intrinsically entwined with the world around us. For thousands of years, humans have learned how to prepare and unpack the nutrients in the foods accessible to them and this includes germinating grains, seeds, nuts and beans, helping make them more digestible. Bringing the life out of the seed is an incredibly potent way to access the vital nutrients the plant world has to offer! Growing your own sprouts at home is simple, easy and very cost effective while also reducing unneeded packaging from the grocery store. All you need is a mason jar, a sprouting lid and a small space on your counter and within a few days you will be enjoying fresh sprouts right from your kitchen. Here are more reasons to get sprouting!

  • Highly concentrated nutrients, often containing more than the mature plant.
  • Rich in vitamins, including Vitamin C, B-complex, E and K.
  • Contains essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and iron, along with other trace minerals.
  • High fiber, including pre-biotic material for gut health.
  • Abundant in anti-oxidants, including beta-carotene and the green pigment, chlorophyl.
  • Low calorie and low on the glycemic index.
  • Contains no saturated fats.
  • Sprouted foods can be easier to digest, especially beans and legumes.
  • Excellent source of plant proteins, especially lentils.
  • Provides vital living food energy.
  • May help regulate blood glucose.
  • Phytonutrients may reduce risk of some cancers.
  • May reduce risk of cardio-vascular disease and reduce LDL levels.
  • May help with weight management.
  • Supports the immune system.
  • Simple and easy to grow yourself.
  • Grows indoors all year round.
  • Speeds up cooking time for beans and grains.
  • Cost effective.
  • Great for a whole plant food diet.
  • Vegan
  • Gluten free, safe for Celiacs.
  • Adding sprouts can help counter the lack of fruit and vegetables in the standard diet.

What you need to get sprouting:

Sprouting is fun and satisfying! You will need a proper mesh sprouting lid that fits a 1 litre mason jar. We found mason lids with little feet on them so the jars can be flipped upside down and rest on the stand to properly drain. These were a great find and, although made of plastic, I love them! Ensure your jars and lids are sterilized before using each time.

Next, choose your favourite seeds. Most common beginner sprouts are salad mixes, lentils and mung beans as they are all the easiest to grow and use. It is best to source out good quality sees that are intended for sprouting. This ensures the seeds have been properly processed and care has been taken to reduce contaminants. You can simply purchase organic beans and lentils as well.

Many health food stores carry salad sprouting blends that contain seeds like alfalfa, radish, red clover, broccoli, mustard and kale. You can choose to purchase these seeds individually and make your own combo as well. These green seeds take 3-5 days to germinate, depending on how thick you want them.

Chickpeas, lentils, adzuki and mung beans are the most commonly used for sprouting beans, lentils being the fastest to grow. Beans require a longer soaking time and more rinsing and make take a little longer to grow their tails. I love sprouting lentils the best but mung are fun, too! 

Pea shoots and sunflower sprouts are commonly sold in grocery stores and make a delicious addition to salads and wraps but require proper sprouting stations and up to 2 weeks, so unless you are invested, I would suggest buying these from the store. I have never tried to grow them myself but I sure love eating them!

Nuts can be soaked for a few hours or overnight to improve their digestibility but often aren’t used for sprouting specifically. Soaking almonds for milk and cashews for sauces is recommended in most recipes. 

Whole grains such as buckwheat, wheat berries, oat groats, brown rice and millet can also be sprouted and used for plant milks, salads and have reduced cooking times.

Basic directions for salad sprouts, lentils and mung beans:

  • For smaller, green salad mix blends, place 4 tbsp seeds in a 1 litre mason jar and cover with cool water. Let soak overnight.
  • For lentils and mung beans, place 1/3 – 1/2  cup dried beans to 1 litre mason jar and cover with cool water. Let soak overnight.
  • Once soaked, drain water from jar and run under cool water, swishing and swirling your jar. I keep the lid on and let the water overflow.
  • After a good rinse, drain completely, turn upside down and rest in a bowl on feet. If you don’t have a lid with a stand, tilt the jar on an angle to allow ventilation and drainage. I like to line my bowl with a paper towel to help move moisture out of the sprouts.
  • Repeat your rinse and drain 2-3 times a day.
  • When you are happy with the length of your sprouts, line a container with a strip of paper towel or clean cloth, and pull the sprouts out of the jar spreading them out for some airing. Place another piece of paper towel on top and store in fridge for up to a week. Keep dry.

Now what?

Congratulations! You have successfully grown a micro garden in a jar on your counter! 

Sprouts such as the salad blends are delicious on sandwiches, in wraps and on salads. I suggest having 2 jars in a rotation so you never run out!

Lentils are perfectly crunchy and are a great protein additive for salads and wraps as well. You can also use them in stir-fries, soups, stews, taco filling and burgers. I like them raw the best and can’t help grazing.

Mung beans are great toppers for noodles, stir-fries and in Vietnamese Soups like pho. Also perfect for salads.

*Note: If you experiment with sprouting other beans, many of them still need to be cooked after sprouting to be digested properly, especially kidney beans, which contain a toxin in raw form.

**Note: Seeds such as flax and chia form a viscous layer and aren’t great for sprouting.


Given that sprouting occurs in a warm and wet environment, there is always the chance of bacterial growth, although it is rare in kitchen sprouting. However, it is important to follow some simple guidelines, just in case!

  • Ensure jars and lids are sterilized.
  • Choose quality seeds that are intended for sprouting, or use organic beans and lentils.
  • Handle your seeds and equipment with clean hands.
  • Use cool water for rinsing.
  • Make sure your jars have ventilation while upside down in between rinsing.
  • Line your storage containers with paper towels or cloth to help with moisture.
  • If, after storing, the sprouts are slimy, or smell off, discard them and don’t eat them.
  • Use within a week.
  • People that are immune compromised may want to use caution eating sprouts.

*Note: You can give your seeds a quick apple cider vinegar bath to ward off bacteria before you begin sprouting.

Once you get the hang of basic sprouting, perhaps you will explore sprouting other grains and beans too! Have fun with it!

Want more recipes?

Try this Super Slaw with Creamy Nutritional Yeast Dressing for a power packed recipe to add your sprouts to.

If you love experimenting, learn more about Fermenting and then try these simple recipes for a DYI pro-biotic punch.


Cultured Cashew Spread

Or learn how to make your own Kamboucha.

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Inner Vision Health and Wellness Karyn Lawson RMT INHC