How to Sprout Brown Lentils – A Simple Method With a Strainer

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Sprouts are an amazing foodstuff packed with nutrition, and for sure a more natural food for human body than inactive legumes, grains, nuts and other seeds. Another great thing about sprouts is that they are really easy to grow at home, especially when it comes to some legumes such as lentils.

You won’t need any previous experience to successfully grow lentil sprouts at home; there are several ways to do it, and they all work great. Lentils will germinate fairly quickly, and don’t require any special conditions; they are in fact quite resilient.

If you would like to know more about sprouting in general, I wrote this article to explain some basics about sprouts, biological processes involved in sprouting and reasons to include sprouts in your diet instead of eating only inactive seeds.

Sprouting lentils at home

Lentils are probably one of my favourite pulses to sprout. They sprout quickly and are easy to maintain. They are great in salads, but also in cooked dishes such as this sprouted brown lentil bolognese sauce.

I normally use brown or green lentils for growing sprouts, because the red variety is naturally softer and milder and doesn’t really need to be sprouted unless you would like to eat it raw. Brown and green lentil sprouts are great both for cooking and eating raw.

Before they start to sprout, lentils need to be soaked in water to be activated. That way the seed “wakes up” after getting a signal that it is the right time to germinate. I like to soak them in water for 8-12 hours at the room temperature.

Keep in mind that the lentils will grow in volume as they absorb water, so add enough water to allow them to expand.

After soaking, drain the water and rinse the lentils. Now, the most common way to start growing your sprouts would be to put the damp lentils inside of a glass jar, or, even better, spread them evenly at the bottom of a wide, flat container.

Then, rinse them in a strainer twice a day and return to the container, making sure that your sprouts are always damp (not flooded, but if it is warm, make sure they don’t dry out). Repeat this until your sprouts are at the desired length. The container should be kept in a dark corner, or at least away from the direct sunlight.

After a day or two, you will already notice tiny sprouts. Continue rinsing them twice a day as they keep on growing.

This method is completely fine and already really simple. Still, I prefer to do it with a slight “twist” and skip all the transferring into and out of the container; instead I keep them sprouting directly inside of the strainer.

A metal strainer used to grow sprouts instead of a sprouting jar.

Besides making it easier because you can now just rinse the sprouts in the same strainer, there are a few more pros to this method. Keeping the sprouts in the strainer allows a constant air flow, and keeping the strainer inside of a bigger bowl will keep them from loosing moisture.

Also, there will always be a few drops of water at the bottom of the bowl, which is good – the lentils will not be submerged, but this water will help with keeping some humidity in the air around the sprouts.

I also like to cover the strainer with a lid, but you can also skip this step, it is up to you. The lid can especially come in handy in the hot months of the year – it will prevent drying, but also keep the insects away.

Your sprouts are ready to eat when they are about 1 cm (0.4 inch) long. You can keep them in the fridge and use in salads or cook in a sauce, make as a stew or add to a stir-fry.

How to Grow Brown Lentil Sprouts

How to Grow Brown Lentil Sprouts

A simple method of growing lentil sprouts at home.

Prep Time 8 hours
Additional Time 3 days
Total Time 3 days 8 hours


  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 3 cups water


    1. Put the dried lentils in a bowl filled with water and let them soak for 8-12 hours at the room temperature.

    2. After 12 hours, drain the soaking water and rinse the lentils.

    3. Leave the lentils in the strainer or sieve that you used for rinsing, and put that strainer inside of a larger bowl.

    4. Optionally, cover the strainer with a lid (this is good for hot weather, to prevent drying and to keep the insects away from the sprouts).

    5. Place the bowl with the strainer and sprouting lentils away from the direct sunlight.

    6. Rinse the lentils twice a day in the same strainer, and return the sieve to the bowl after every rinse.

    7. After a couple of days (depending on the temperature of the environment), the shoots will be around 1 cm (0.4 inch) long and ready to use. 


* Using a flat container with wide bottom is also a great way to sprout the lentils, but you can do it in many different ways. Improvising with what you have at home is completely fine! It is only important to keep the lentils a bit wet/moist, to either spread them well enough or allow some air flow underneath, and to rinse them frequently enough.

* My favourite way of sprouting lentils, or other legumes or seeds, is in a strainer or a sieve - or any kind of a bowl-shaped dish to allow some air flow; I put that strainer into a bowl that is slightly bigger and cover with a lid for pots - as shown on the pictures earlier on in this article.

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