Buckwheat Tabouleh and Chia Seed Gel

I already regularly sprout seeds and beans along with chick peas and I have recently become interested in soaking and sprouting grains after attending the Brisbane Organic Growers meeting earlier this month. Graham Sait from Nutri-Tech Solutions spoke on the decline in human nutrition over the past three generations. My ears perked up when he mentioned raw food and after subscribing to his newsletter read that we were supposed to eat a large percentage of raw food. It seems earlier cultures soaked or sprouted grains and he suggested we do the same to get rid of phytates and enzyme inhibitors.

So being curious about how well grains sprout, I decided to try the Buckwheat Tabouleh recipe from Thermomix’s A Taste of Vegetarian cookbook which includes buckwheat soaked overnight with tomato, cucumber, some herbs and a few extras. And then I noticed on the web that buckwheat is not a grain. But I soldiered on and after chopping for 3 seconds on speed 4 in the Thermomix and then spreading over a bed of alfalfa and lentil sprouts, the mix provided a nice light raw lunch.
The consistency of buckwheat after soaking was quite pleasant and edible and has now become a breakfast option that can be combined with some fruit. And so it made me wonder which of the other grains or rather grain equivalents might be suitable for soaking or sprouting. I have tried sprouting the occasional grain in the past and found the result to be too chewy but I’m willing to try the alternatives particularly considering my interest in raw foods.

But as I mentioned buckwheat is not a grain. Wikipedia tells me that “despite the common name and the grain-like use of the crop, buckwheat is not a cereal or grass. It is called a pseudocereal to emphasize that it is not related to wheat. ” and I have italicised this and other Wikipedia quotes in this post.

Quinoa is the same, being a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. I currently cook quinoa to enjoy with fruit for my breakfast, but just out of curiousity I have tried soaking it to see how it turns out. What I particularly like about quinoa is that it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source...unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine).

I decided to test Wikipedia’s suggestion that only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make quinoa sprout and release gases. I tried some soaked quinoa after 4 hours and I’m pleased to report that I could see sprouted tails on the quinoa – and I realise that it’s probably hard to see the same on the photo below after adding some chopped banana. I added some honey after taking the photo and was more than happy to finish off the dish.

Since I’ve moved off talking about grains, I can mention that I regularly make Chia Seed Gel.

Chia Seed Gel Recipe Instructions:
Mix 1 tbsp of Chia seeds with ¾ cup of water and stir for a minute or two to make sure the seeds have separated properly before storing the mix in the refrigerator.

I then use a few teaspoons of this mix each morning in my grain and fruit breakfast. I found the idea on the web and unfortunately didn’t keep the link. However, I have found a new link that explains the process here under the heading of How To Make Chia Seed Gel. I’ve also ground chia seed occasionally and have noticed that chia seed can also be sprouted.

After all of this I haven’t forgotten about my interest in working out how to successfully soak or sprout grains. I have found another web page supporting the soaking or sprouting of nuts, seeds and grains. It seems that this softens them, removes harmful enzyme inhibitors, and enhances their nutritional value prior to eating so now nuts will go into my list of things to play with.

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