Alfalfa sprouts are a crunchy, fresh food with quite a nutritional profile. While they are very good tossed on top of your favorite salad, these little sprouts are good enough to deserve some recipes of their own. Here are some ideas for using this healthy plant in your diet, beginning with directions on how to sprout it.
Pour one cup of warm, filtered water into a wide-mouth, quart jar. Stir in 1 tablespoon of alfalfa seeds. Cover with a coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. Leave overnight. In the morning, pour off the water and add some fresh, filtered water. Swirl the seeds around and pour out most of the water (use a strainer as you rinse the seeds to make sure you don’t lose any). Cover the jar again with the coffee filter and rubber band.
Lay the jar on its side so that the seeds spread along the side of the jar (you may have to shake it a bit). Keep the jar in a dark, cool place and repeat the rinsing of the seeds once daily. In about 36 hours, you should see the beginnings of sprouts. Then you need to move the jar out into the light, preferably where it can get some sun. Continue to rinse the sprouts as they grow, and when they reach the desired length, refrigerate them in the jar.
Hummus Wrap (serves 1)
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- Roasted red pepper strips
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
Spread about 1/4 cup of hummus down the middle of the tortilla. Layer cheese (if using), red pepper strips, and sprouts on top of the hummus. Fold one side of the tortilla over the contents; fold the other side in and serve seam-side down.
Fruit and Nut Salad (serves 1)
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1/2 cup mandarin orange segments
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup (or more) alfalfa sprouts
- Raspberry vinaigrette to taste (optional)
Place shredded lettuce in bowl. Top with mandarin orange segments, alfalfa sprouts, and sunflower seeds or slivered almonds. Toss together with some raspberry vinaigrette if you like, but the juicy mandarin oranges and fresh-tasting alfalfa sprouts may well eliminate the need for dressing.
Sprout Sandwich (serves 1)
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 1 avocado
- 1-2 slices of fresh tomato
- 2-3 rings of red onion
- Safflower oil mayonnaise
- Generous handful of sprouts
- Tofu lunch meat (optional)
Spread mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Layer lunch meat (if using), sprouts, avocado, tomato, and onion on one slice of bread; top with the other.
For a healthy, green juice, try whizzing the following in a blender:
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 1 cup chard leaves, chopped
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- Squeeze of lemon juice
Add lemon juice to taste, and water to achieve the desired consistency.
Alfalfa sprouts also make a fine topping for gazpacho and other soups. In fact, they can be used as a topping for all kinds of dishes, from stir-fry to – believe it or not – ice cream!