Posted by: Avivah | November 20, 2009

How to sprout beans

A friend asked me this morning about how to sprout beans, and I figured I’d post it today – it’s easiest to get the quick topics out of the way so I don’t have to keep them on my mind!

First of all, a quick reminder about why sprouting beans is beneficial.  Beans, like most grains, nuts, and seeds, have phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in them.   That means that even though we think of beans as highly nutritious, we don’t utilize a good part of the nutrients in them unless they are properly prepared.  Beans are inexpensive and great budget stretchers, and it’s worthwhile to figure out how to use them to maximize their value.

Fortunately, it’s not hard! Simply put the dried beans in a bowl, and cover them with water that is room temperature.  Let them sit overnight, and in the morning, pour them into a strainer and rinse them off.  The beans will have absorbed all the water, and are ready to be used.  But if you really want to supercharge them, them you can sprout them!  This significantly increases the nutritional value.  That’s what I like to do.

Now that they’re soaked, put set them back in the original bowl and leave them on the counter.  At the end of the day, rinse them.  I rinse mine twice a day by pouring them into a strainer, running some water over them, and then putting them back into the bowl.  For simplicity, I rinse them once at night and once in the morning; it works well with my personal routine.  Twice a day seems to be a good frequency to rinse them, but I’ve often been lazy and just rinsed them once a day and they were fine. To clarify, after you rinse them, leave them in an empty bowl, not a bowl of water.

As they sit on the counter at room temperature, the soaked beans will begin to germinate.  Smaller legumes will sprout faster – within a day or two you’ll see little sprouts appearing at the end.  Larger beans take longer- generally 3 – 4 day, but it really depends on your household temperature.  In the summer, the beans sprout really fast!  How long you let them get depends on your personal preference.  If you want to use them as sprouts in salads, then you’ll want to wait a lot longer.  I use them in cooked dishes once I see the sprout emerging.

Soaking and sprouting isn’t hard to do, but it does require advance planning.  I plan my weekly menu on Saturday nights, and then on Sunday I begin soaking my beans for the week.  If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you’ve noticed that when I post my weekly menu on Sundays, I usually post the preparatory work that I’m doing for the week, too, including soaking beans.  Since large beans take longer to sprout, I generally plan them for later in the week.

What is you’ve soaked your beans and let them sit out for a day but they aren’t yet sprouted – and you need to use them?  Even if you don’t see the germination taking place, it’s still in the process and you’ll enjoy the benefits, so go ahead and use them!

By the way, lots of jokes have been made about beans and their flatulatory (did I just make that word up? :)) effect on the body.  We’ve found that soaking and sprouting the beans takes away that issue!

(This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.)




  1. Interesting that soaking removes that undesirable effect! 🙂 It makes sense though!

  2. Hi Avivah –
    I know this is supposed to be a real easy process but somehow I messed up and ended up with moldy beans don’t ask me how I did it but I did. I don’t know what I did wrong but I soaked the beans in water for 12 hours and then everday I would rinse them 1x – 2x a day. They never sprotted only got really smelly and moldy looking. when I first soaked them I did it in very hot water (from the urn) I don’t know if I killed them that way or what else I could have done wrong. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

    • This is really strange. I’ve never had anything like that happen, and I can’t think of why beans that were well rinsed, particularly in cool fall weather conditions, would mold. If it would happen, I would expect it when it’s hot and they are being left to sit for too long without being rinsed. (Are they right up against something that stays very warm for long periods of time, like an electrical appliance?)

      I’d suggest trying again. Soak them overnight, rinse them in the morning with cool water. Let them sit on your counter, then rinse then again the next morning (only once a day). Do this for three days, and see what happens.

      Don’t be discouraged – I’ve had many experiments that didn’t work the first time!

  3. OK Try try again. I will give it another shot on Motzei Shabbos and see if things work out better. I will let you know what the results are.

  4. Devoiry- soak them with cool water, not hot water, and especially not “very hot water.” That should fix the problem.

    • Welcome, Uriel, and thanks for the tip. I wasn’t taking into account the use of water from the urn; I’m glad you were paying attention!

  5. also, some seeds etc. (like almonds) which are sold as “raw” are actually pasteurized, and trying to sprout those will produce a moldy mush as well. i would be very surprised if your beans were pasteurized though (i.e., before you effectively pasteurized them), although i wouldn’t say it’s not outside the realm of possibilities.

  6. Thanks for the warm welcome, Avivah. Your blog is immensely inspiring. I look forward to keeping up with it in the future.

  7. […] 2 pounds of navy beans. In the morning I’ll drain them and they’ll be ready to begin sprouting.  I also started (well, to be accurate I asked dd15 to start them) soaking nuts: 12 cups of […]

  8. Hi Avivah, I’m relatively new to your blog and really enjoying it–thanks for all the great ideas! Like Devoiry, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong–my beans are not sprouting. I soaked them early last week, thinking they’d be ready for the cholent by last Thurs. Last minute we went to friends of ours for Shab lunch and I just figured that the beans can wait another week because by the weekend I wasn’t seeing that anything had sprouted anyway. I used cold water the whole time and I’ve been changing the water (although not twice a day, more like once a day, and there have been times when it was every other day…). It’s been almost two weeks–some of the beans got really soft, so I threw them out, but I still haven’t seen anything sprout. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi, Talya, welcome!

      Where are you leaving the beans after you rinse them? They should be at room temperature; cold would inhibit sprouting. Are you leaving them to sit in water after you rinse them? If they’re getting soft it sounds like they might be rotting, and the only reason I can think that would happen is that they have too much moisture.

      Take another bag of beans, soak them overnight in water. The next morning drain all the water off, rinse them, and let them sit in an open bowl on your counter (if it’s a closed container they will spoil). Rinsing once a day is fine. The next day rinse them again, let them sit at room temp in an open bowl. By the end of the third day, you should be seeing the first signs of sprouting even in large beans (which take longer than something like lentils).

      Good luck – don’t give up because your first try wasn’t successful. I’ve had many first attempts that didn’t work out. 🙂

  9. Ohh…I didn’t realize that I wasn’t supposed to let them sit in water! that makes sense now! I hope this week will come out better–thanks!

  10. […] lb dried chickpeas,  soaked, sprouted, and […]

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