I’ve already mentioned the Biosta sprouter I was gifted and the problem with sprouting small grains and lentils (they get stuck in the troughs and go moldy), but I’ve had some relative success with chickpeas. Some. Not a lot. Enough for a few batches of hummus, though.
I have sprouted these in a jar before, and it works fine, but with the multi-level sprouter I figured I could make a lot more at one time. The trick, it turns out, is to not crowd the sprouter, because while dry chickpeas can fit snuggly into the multiple levels, once they start absorbing water it’s like popcorn – they start stacking on top of each other, which I’m sure isn’t good for keeping them all evenly damp. I had to start unloading and carefully checking each level for tails emerging so that if mold developed I’d at least have successfully harvested a fair bit already. (Note: I’ve done two subsequent batches and both have developed mold! Am I adding too much water? Is it not sinking to the bottom of the sprouter fast enough and clogging up the troughs? Could my kitchen be too moist? Too warm? Any suggestions? I currently have a jar of sprouts in the works since I don’t trust the sprouter)
So over the course of a few days I checked my sprout babies carefully and when their tails popped out of their skins (what I’ll call “digestive adolescence”) I took them out, steamed them, and tossed them in a blender with a few tablespoons of tahini, a clove of garlic, a generous sprinkle of salt, and a LOT of lemon juice. I did a few batches, though, since the the sprouts were reaching digestive adolescence at different rates, so in other hummus batches I tossed cilantro, shallot, toasted cumin and coriander, and fresh chili pepper into the blender too. I garnished the hummus in the photo above with some torn cilantro and some jar-sprouted mixed sprouts (mostly lentils).
Why steam chickpea sprouts? The whole point is to eat them raw, right? So if I’m going to go to the trouble of sprouting them, cooking them after may seem counter-productive. But I’ve had trouble digesting sprouted chickpeas before. I used to eat them raw on salads or even cooked dishes as a protein source. But when I told a friend about my disappointment at the non-digestibility of the chickpeas, he said he had the same problem and he always steamed them for 5 minutes, and that helped. Besides, steaming for 5 minutes sure seems a lot better than the traditional cooking method of boiling for a good 45 minutes or more. When sprouted the chickpeas have a kind of sticky film on them, so it’s best to wash that off before steaming anyway. Probably you could just blend them into hummus without steaming and they’d be more digestible than eating them whole, since your stomach wouldn’t have to work so ahrd to break them down, but 5 minutes of steaming and super easy digestion won out.
So yes, you could make this hummus recipe with home-cooked chickpeas (soaked and then boiled for a ridiculous amount of time on the stove), or you could make it with canned chickpeas (god forbid), OR you could make it with sprouted chickpeas (rinsed), OR you could make them as I recommend with sprouted and then steamed chickpeas. 5 minutes above simmering water = relative digestive happiness. Every stomach is different, so if this doesn’t agree with you, let me know. Lentils just aren’t for everyone, I don’t think. But sprouts in general are supposed to be gentle.
Almost Raw Sprouted Chickpea Hummus
1 1/2 cups sprouted chickpeas, steamed for 5 minutes
3 tbsp raw tahini (or 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes, drained + 1 tbsp olive oil)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 shallot or 3 green onions (white parts only)
juice and zest of 2-3 lemons (this is VERY lemony. Use less lemon zest – not less juice, since that helps the dip blend – if you like a more neutral flavour)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional, but it means the dip will last a few days longer in the fridge, and it’ll add a little bit of flavour and creaminess)
1-3 tbsp water as needed (to blend)
Optional additions: 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (stems and leaves – I think the stems have more flavour); raw or toasted cumin or coriander; 1/2 fresh red or green chili pepper; lime juice and/or zest; 3 tbsp coconut milk instead of the added water and oil; 1 zucchini, roughly chopped; 1/2 red or green pepper (though I prefer to use these as gluten-free, hummus-scooping crackers)
My favourite one of all: Combine everything in the blender. Done.