Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Virtuous Veggies and Legumes Part II


Sprouts are a terrific superfood! They are packed with nutrition and add a nice crunch to sandwiches, salads, and stir fries. I like to keep mung bean sprouts around for eating in the winter when we get fewer fresh vegetables to eat. I bought mine in bulk from Whole Foods - you don't need many - just a couple of tablespoons will make over a cup of sprouts. Sprouting your own sprouts will save you a LOT of money over buying them from the store, and they will taste better than the soggy old ones in the produce department. Plus, it's fun and easy to do - kids will especially enjoy watching the beans transform in just a matter of days. They might even be fascinated enough by the process to eat them! ;)

Nice tasting seeds for sprouting:
  • alfalfa
  • radish
  • mung bean
  • broccoli
I'm sure you can find instructions for sprouting all over the internet, but I'll share my sprouting technique here. You can buy a fancy sprouting contraption, but it's really unnecessary. I just use a washed out spaghetti sauce jar, a square cut off of an old pair of pantyhose, and a rubber band. I add about 2 tbs. of seeds for sprouting to the jar. Cover the jar with the hose to make a sort of sieve, securing it with a rubber band. Run fresh cold water into the jar, and rinse the beans well. Strain out the water. You will need to rinse the seeds in fresh cold water several times a day. I leave the jar by the sink and tend to do it every time I find myself working in the kitchen, which is a LOT! Basically, you just don't want them to dry out. After they are sprouty enough for you, it's best to eat them right away, but they will keep in the fridge for about a week.

You can see how my sprouts transformed here:

Day 2 -

Sprouts Day 2

Day 3 -

Sprouts Day 3

Day 4 -

Sprouts Day 4

Day 5 - Ready to eat!

Sprouts Day 5

My favorite thing to make with sprouts is Egg Foo Young. I got this recipe out of a vegetarian cookbook years ago, but I have tweaked the recipe many times. I wanted to be able to make it out of ingredients I had on hand, so that is the version I will share with you. This recipe is a delicious and simple meal for lunch or dinner. It is also a terrific use for leftover rice!

- 3 eggs
- salt & pepper
- generous pinch five spice powder (opt.)**
- 3 Tbs. oil
- 1 small onion, diced (original calls for scallions, but I don't have them very often)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small green pepper, seeded & chopped (I keep some diced green pepper in the freezer.)
- 1 c. fresh bean sprouts
- 3 c. cooked white rice
- 3 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil (look in Asian section of your grocery store - this will really add good flavor!)

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large frying pan or wok. Scramble the eggs with the salt, pepper, and five spice powder. Set aside in a bowl or plate. Heat remaining oil and stir fry the onion, garlic, pepper & bean sprouts. Stir in the rice and heat thoroughly. Add soy sauce & sesame oil & mix well. Return egg to pan & mix well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4
(Errrr... actually, Preacher man, and the two little and I polished off the entire thing for dinner. We WERE extra hungry though... Preacher Man and I had three bowls each!)

**Five Spice Powder - this is the only recipe I have where I use this spice. I DO really like it in there though. I went to the Whole Foods bulk spice section and bought about a teaspoon in an itty-bitty bag. I think I paid about $.40 for it! Anyway, it has lasted me a very, very long time since I only use a pinch.

If you are extra hungry like we were and you have extra ham lying around, a bit chopped up is nice in this also.

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