Beans are well-loved in many cuisines for their flavor and nutrient content, from Mexican refried beans to Italian Pasta e Fagioli.
CAN SPROUTED BEANS BE USED IN RECIPES?
Yes! The good news is that sprouted beans, often easier to digest, can be used in familiar and favorite recipes with very little change to the recipe. There are several differences in how they cook and taste, but the biggest determining factor in how different a sprouted bean is from a regular bean is the length of the sprouting time.
If beans are sprouted until a small tail no longer than ¼ inch is present, then they are most similar to un-sprouted beans. On the other hand, if the bean is allowed to sprout longer, the texture and flavor will be quite different.
With that in mind, listed below are a few things to remember when using sprouted beans in your favorite recipe:
HOW SPROUTED BEANS CHANGE A RECIPE
During the sprouting process, a portion of the starch in the bean is neutralized, giving way to what some consider more of a vegetable – the sprouted bean – than a bean.
If the starchy quality of the bean is preferred, such as in a creamy soup or a starchy side dish, keep the sprouting time to a minimum. Remember, even a bean with the tiniest sprout tail is a sprouted bean.
Bean Sprouts Cooking Time
Sprouted beans do in fact cook much faster than their unsprouted counterparts. Some smaller sprouted beans can cook in as little as 10-15 minutes; others take a bit longer.
If the recipe requires a soft bean, as in a creamy soup or smooth refried beans, allow beans to cook even longer. While some beans take 2-3 hours to cook, sprouted beans will be very soft and creamy after 1-2 hours. For firmer beans, as in for salads or dips, 10-30 minutes should be sufficient.
Bean Sprout Skins
Oftentimes when sprouted, a bean will release its thin outer skin, which is completely acceptable, and might even make the bean more digestible. To remove the skins completely, simply submerge beans in water and rub gently between your fingers. The skins will float to the top and can then be skimmed off.
Digestibility of Bean Sprouts
One of the great things about sprouting is that it neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and promotes easier digestion.
For further aid to digestion, try cooking sprouted beans with a strip of kombu, a sprinkle of cumin seeds, or the Mexican herb epazote. These additions are all helpful in neutralizing any remaining difficult-to-digest starches.