Discover how quick and easy it is to sprout chickpeas at home in 5 easy steps. Sprinkle them in salads, wraps, curries or make your own sprouted hummus.
I was a little apprehensive before I tried this out. Now, I happily sprout every week. So, if you're feeling curious, let me share with you the easiest way I know to do it.
The process is a simple one that uses a bowl, a sieve, fresh cold running water and a clean covering such as a paper towel or piece of parchment.
Before you start, measure the amount of chickpeas you think you're going to need. I tend to use ½ a cup of dried raw chickpeas, which yields about 2 cups of sprouts.
- Step 1 - Soak first.
- Step 2 - Rinse and drain.
- Step 3 - Leave them to sprout.
- How to tell when they’re ready.
- Step 4 - Rinse and drain to finish.
- What to do with sprouted chickpeas.
- More sprouted chickpea recipes:
- How to store.
- What to do if you find them too crunchy.
- Do sprouted chickpeas smell?
- How to tell if they spoiled.
- Can you sprout canned chickpeas?
- Information for vulnerable groups.
Step 1 - Soak first.
Add the chickpeas to a clean bowl and top them with a good couple of inches of cold water. As they are soaking up the water, they will expand, so using plenty of water is essential.
Leave them out on the countertop to soak for 8-12 hours. For ease, I leave mine to soak overnight.
Step 2 - Rinse and drain.
Rinse and drain them over the sink using fresh, cold, running water. I use a sieve; you can also use a colander.
You might give your chickpeas a little shake and a stir whilst you're there to help them aerate.
Look them over and remove any that are split, damaged, discoloured or that have dark spots. Discard those.
Chickpeas can spoil relatively quickly, so it's important to rinse and drain them well, to help them stay fresh and clean.
Gently throw off any excess water and leave them spread out in the sieve, placed over a bowl to catch the drips. This allows air to circulate underneath.
Step 3 - Leave them to sprout.
I leave mine on the countertop and cover them with a piece of kitchen paper or parchment to keep any little bugs away.
Now you can enjoy watching and waiting while they start to sprout. Their little tails should start to appear over the next day or two.
They must be rinsed and drained 2-3 times per day during this period. I do this in the morning and evening.
If it's hot weather, I'll rinse and drain them for a third time during the day to keep them all fresh and clean.
It’s really important that you don’t miss out this step.
How to tell when they’re ready.
The sprouting process takes 2-4 days and needs only 2 minutes of your time each day until grown and ready to use.
You can tell when they're ready as they will more than double in size and start to grow a little shoot.
I harvest mine when the tails are just a few millimetres long, the width of the chickpea or so, ¼ - ½ an inch long.
Their outer coating may be loose; that's fine. You can discard those or not, and it's up to you. I prefer to leave mine as the jackets add texture, fibre and look earthy and pretty.
Step 4 - Rinse and drain to finish.
Once sprouted, give your chickpeas one last thorough rinse and drain. Remove and discard any that are discoloured, that have dark spots or look odd to you.
What to do with sprouted chickpeas.
Here are some ideas on how to use sprouted chickpeas:
- sprinkle them over big green salads
- add them to vegetable bowls
- use them in wraps
- turn them into mock tuna salad
- blend them into raw hummus
- use them in soups
More sprouted chickpea recipes:
How to store.
They will keep well for up to 3 days if stored properly. I like to use up sprouted foods quickly as they go bad easily. And after all, most foods are best enjoyed fresh.
Once you've rinsed and then drained them, place them onto a clean tea towel or some kitchen paper to allow them to dry.
Space the chickpeas out in one layer, so there's plenty of room for the air to circulate. They will dry faster this way.
Now place them into a lidded jar and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Be sure to rinse them every 8-12 hours and before using to help them stay fresh. If they begin to smell discard them.
Yes, you can freeze them. Pop any excess into a suitable container before freezing.
I usually defrost them for use the following week and make hummus with them. Note that once defrosted, their texture will be softer, as with most defrosted foods.
What to do if you find them too crunchy.
You can leave them to soak for a little longer which does soften them up a little more. Do make sure that you rinse and drain them several times over the soaking period.
Another thing you can do is to test them out once they've just sprouted and if they're a little harder than you want them then you can freeze then defrost them to soften them some more.
If you find them a little hard to digest, you can also lightly steam them for about 10 minutes so that they soften up a little. Obviously, they'll no longer be raw if you steam them.
Do sprouted chickpeas smell?
Yes, they should have a slightly earthy smell that's mild and fresh.
How to tell if they spoiled.
If you suspect your chickpeas have gone bad, don't eat them. Instead, discard them straight away and clean the bowl and sieve/colander thoroughly before using them again.
The telltale signs to tell if chickpeas have deteriorated and gone off are usually a strong sour or unpleasant smell. The chickpeas or the shoot may show signs of mould, and they may feel soft or soggy. The tails can appear darker and dull unlike the healthy sprouts which will have a bright colour and crisp, crunchy feeling.
Can you sprout canned chickpeas?
No. Canned chickpeas have been cooked, and so they won't sprout.
To sprout chickpeas, you need to use raw dried chickpeas that have not been heated, pasteurised or processed. It's best to use dried chickpeas marked as suitable for sprouting. I buy them at our local health store.
Please do not eat dried chickpeas that have not been washed and sprouted properly first.
Information for vulnerable groups.
The UK Food Standards Agency recommends that people in vulnerable groups always cook sprouts thoroughly until steaming hot all the way through before eating.
This group includes pregnant women, young children, the elderly & those with a weakened immune system.
This is because sprouts can sometimes contain bacteria which some people may be vulnerable to. Check the FSA website for more details.
I’m off for some tea.
Love raw food.