The issue I have with dried pulses and legumes like chickpeas, mung beans etc, is this; while they are super cheap and economical, you also have to be fairly well organized to use them, because they need to be soaked and take a fairly long time to cook etc. So I thought, why not at the start of the week, get a jar of something soaking, even if you have no purpose in mind. Make sure you rinse them a couple of times a day and just leave them there soaked and sprouting until you decide to use them? If you use them the next day? fine, if they sit there for a few days, no worries. At least they are there ready to go at a moments notice when inspiration strikes.
So that is what I did with a jar of chickpeas this week. I used a few to make a tasty after-preschool snack of spiced roast chickpeas on the thursday and then on Saturday I made sprouted chickpea falafals for tea. Yum Yum.
And on the days in between I did a little research on the nutritional benefits of eating sprouted foods. I found a very interesting scientific study, on the effects of sprouting time on biochemical and nutritional qualities of Mungbean varieties
It was of course done on mung beans but, they mention similar studies on chickpeas and other pulses, and in general terms the same principles apply.
The short story is, it would appear that soaking and sprouting chickpeas significantly increases the availability of protein, significantly increases the vitamin content, particularly vitamin C, and significantly lowers the phytic acid content, in chickpeas potentially even up to 60%!
The protein in some legumes and pulses are not readily available to our digestive system, but the sprouting actually breaks some of the proteins down into their individual amino acids which our body can then use. Good to know huh?
Phytic acid is one of the big “con’s” of grains etc. This is because it can bind to essential minerals in our digestive system, and because our body can not process it, we just pass it out along with all the good minerals it has bound too. This can lead to some people who eat a high grain/legume based diet ending up with mineral deficiency’s.
Phytic acid can also be an intestinal irritant and because it is something we do not digest well, can be a cause of bloating and gas. This is why sprouting your chickpeas first is such a great idea….. I say anything that alleviates gas is a good thing right?
Some people say you can eat the sprouts as they are, while others say you should still cook the chickpeas before eating. The jury is out for me on that one, because I can’t find enough evidence to support either side sufficiently. However, I personally prefer to cook them after sprouting, because I think they are nicer cooked, and there are other more “delicate” sprouts for eating raw. 🙂
Anyway, pop over the the recipes section for my sprouted chickpea falafal recipe.