Category Archives: sprouts

chop for parrots

Chop: all things good for birdie

The Theory


For the majority of history we have fed parrots as if they were either poultry or humans, or rather very spoiled human children. As the field of avian nutrition and awareness among parrot owners has changed there has been an increasing interest, really excitement, about feeding a diverse diet that helps to provide more complete nutrition but also enrich the lives of parrots living in captivity by giving them interesting, changing meals.
 Chop is one of the many innovations that resulted from the increased desire to better feed captive parrots. Chop is a feeding concept more than anything. You can also say it’s the “everything but the kitchen sink” meal of the parrot world. Essentially, it consists of whatever appropriate ingredients you want to use or have on hand. It can be as simple and cheap or complex and expensive as you desire. Chop is not just for parrots, the chop concept can be applied to all birds and in a broader since to feeding any animal, providing you follow that individual organism’s natural diet/nutritional needs.

However, because chop is an attempt to get as many good things in your parrot as possible there is also a science to it, sort of. Everyone will tell you a different list of must have ingredients and others that they think just shouldn’t be in chop. I think a good chop should include: dark leafy greens, red, purple, orange and green veggies, legumes, grains, pseudograins, seeds, sprouts and herbs. People also add: flowers, nuts, pasta, fruit and pellets, or pellet crumbs.
 You will have to look at the arguments and make your own decisions, but I can give you a place to start and at the bottom of the post are links to some sites with excellent information from people who have been at it for a while.
  

Things to consider

Your bird’s size

 Smaller birds will need respectively smaller pieces/ eat smaller quantities. Big pieces for bird size create the take-a bite-toss-the-rest syndrome.  Regardless of your bird’s size, larger pieces allow them to pick out their favorite bits and leave the rest. The issue here is that they won’t get the full benefit of eating chop (when they eat only their favorites, that they would already eat) and will waste more.
The rule of thumb I use is to have most things small enough to fit in my bird’s beak. Of course, that won’t be necessarily true of all the things you add to the chop and you shouldn’t stress about having everything a uniform size, it’s just a guideline.

How much chop your birds will eat will change. When you first introduce them to chop they will likely eat only a tiny bit until they get a taste for it.  When our boys have a new batch of chop they eat more, then they must get burned out on that batch because about the time it’s almost gone they stop eating it as well.
To figure out how much to feed start with a tbs for small birds or maybe a 1/8 of a cup for large birds. Adjust the amount until you find what they can eat in two hours, that’s about the window of time for food to be out unrefrigerated and safe.

Your flock composition and number

Do you have a mix of sizes? dietary needs? eating habits? 
You might want to make more than one batch or make one that is a base and add extras for the different needs of your birds.  Depending on the size of your flock, what will last you the recommended maximum of 3 months in the freezer will be different.
It’s a great idea to look into specific nutritional needs of the species in your flock, that way you can tailor ingredients to their needs.
 I have a large silver kitchen bowl, my batch of chop fills that and lasts us about two months with once a day feedings of about two tbsp per bird- we have two cockatiels.

Freezer space

How much space can you an allocate to chop? What shape containers will be most affective?How fast will your bird(s) eat what you have room to freeze so you can plan to make chop on a schedule.

Freezer containers

Plastic bags, vacuum packing, food storage containers, up-cycled yogurt/sour cream type containers, baby food containers, kitchen wraps/papers.
We use up-cycled plastic containers and wax or other kitchen papers. We portion most of our chop out into individual servings wrapped in little bundles.

This is parchment paper/ foil, we bought it and realized we can’t use it in our oven so we are trying to use it up

It’s really important that you remove as much air from the container and make sure it’s airtight before freezing. If you decide to freeze in ice cube trays I highly recommend moving them from the trays into another airtight container. The chop will get freezer burn quickly being uncovered in the trays. Also make sure you have a really nice set of trays, ones that you never have trouble getting ice out of because the one thing you don’t want to have to do is run the trays under hot water to get the chop cubes out. Melting the outer layer will invite freezer burn.  Personally, I used trays in the beginning and quickly decided there had to be a better way. Experiment until you find containers that work for you.
Three days is about the maximum that my chop lasts in the fridge. I go off how it smells; once it smells at all weird it gets tossed. 
I rarely refrigerate our chop at all anymore. I discovered a while back that our birds will eat chop while it’s still frozen/ thawing out. Now their little chop balls go straight from the freezer to their bowls, no thawing at all. I think this allows them the freshest chop I can give without making it every day. Check out this post on flash freezing and this one that’s even more applicable to food for birds. This is how I freeze all our chop now and I will not be going back! It lasts longer, thaws faster and retains better quality and it works better since I can just remove what I need for the day from a large container in the freezer.

Birds current eating habits/ diet

Are you dealing with a seed addict? Do you have special dietary considerations?  Are your birds already familiar with and enjoy eating the things that will go in the chop?Are your birds usually more interested in large or small pieces?
 I am feeding two cockatiels one of which is a recovering seed addict. So I add more sprouted and soaked seeds/legumes/grains then you will need to if your birds aren’t seed addicts.
If your bird has any health conditions you should talk to an avian vet who understands the chop concept about possible modifications.
If you are introducing chop to a bird who has little to no experience with fresh foods you need to first find a few things they like. Offer little bits of different veggies, fruits, greens and grains. When you make their first batch of chop have the things they liked best in higher amounts than the other ingredients so they will recognize some of the ingredients and be more willing to try the chop. Then they have a chance to learn to like the other things as well.

 I also add fruit. Many people advice against adding fruit because it doesn’t freeze well, adds wetness to the chop and makes it spoil faster. I add it because it’s something that gets my boys to eat their chop better. I only add one type and one piece, so either it’s a banana, mango apple or pear. Just enough that the taste is there and only their most favorite fruits.

Wetness of chop 

 Increased wetness from:
The smaller your veggies are chopped,
 the more fruit you add,
 the less dried goodies 
adding hot, not thoroughly drained cooked legumes/grains

These are all home dried

 Make it drier by:
 Adding:
 dried peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, veggies
 *adding dried fruit is generally not advised since they are so high in sugar and usually treated with sulfate to maintain color. Make sure whatever dried goodies you use haven’t been treated with sulfate*
oatmeal, or other rolled grains
        herbs/ spices
  flax and chia seed ( when these get wet they make a gel, so they work great to soak up liquid)
nuts, they can help but won’t as much as the other ingredients and you have to be careful not to add to much since they generally add a significant amount of fat.

 Methods to make drier chop:

allow your cooked things to fully cool before adding them.
cook the night before you make chop so everything can cool in the fridge- starch -which the things that you will cook are high in- can soak up a lot of water when it’s cooled. Think about how much liquid you have to add to reheat pasta, rice or beans without turning them into dry scorched nastiness- yep, they can help out with wetness issues a lot.
 Drain your ingredients well after washing and/or cooking. Some people also advice draining your chopped veggies but I think you loose a lot of nutrients from that. I try to soak that good juice up with the dried goodies. Concentrate on preventing liquids from the cooked things, sprouts and washing veggies from getting in the chop.
 Dry your ingredients. You can use paper/ real towels to dry things or a blow-drier that you know isn’t coated with none stick, such as this one
. I use a blow drier all the time since I rarely plan ahead enough to cook the night before. I use a salad spinner for any of the veggies that need drying.

  Wet chop is a concern because it will freezer burns faster, spoils faster and some birds aren’t as interested in eating it.

In mine, all the veggies are either minced by hand or with a food processor. You will need to start your sprouts at least two days in advance for them to be nicely sprouted for the chop. As with the cooked goodies, if the sprouts are well drained they will soak up liquids as well.

  The Don’ts of Chop:

Don’t cook anymore of the ingredients then you have to.
Don’t add dry seeds- besides flax and chia- all seeds should be sprouted. BUT if you are trying to convert a seed addict to chop, mixing chop with their seeds can get them starting at least tasting chop.
Don’t add a ton of fruit
Don’t give up if it’s too wet-add more dry stuff! 
Don’t give up if they don’t like it the first time! Try feeding it again; sometimes if you spread it out in a thin layer or mound it up or change the feeding container, that’s all it takes. If all else fails, make it into birdie bread.
Don’t let the seeds/grains/legumes outnumber the veggies, it should at least be equal to a 1:1 ratio by volume.

  Foods You should never feed:

avocado
chocolate
coffee
tea- herbal teas without actual tea leaf in it are fine and often beneficial.
salt
pickled/cured foods
human junk food
unfermented dairy products 
All of these are undigestible and or toxic to your bird.

The contested: 

 I won’t take sides on these because I haven’t researched them enough but if you want to feed them please do your own research otherwise just avoid using them.

All the Alliums  leaves/bulbs- garlic, onion, chives, green onions…
peanuts/ peanut butter
meat/fish/bones
pasta

Things to use with thought:

spinach, parsley, rhubarb, cranberries, celery, beet root and greens, swiss chard
 These have high levels of oxalate, a compound that binds calcium and other minerals, that are then excreted in the urine. They can contribute to kidney stones, kidney disease and low calcium levels. Their possible ill affects can be easily mitigated by feeding foods high in calcium, such as:
 kale, collard greens, watercress, almonds, okra, chinese cabbage, broccoli, mustard green, beans green or dried, sesame and chia seeds, quinoa.
If your bird already has low calcium levels or kidney issues I would avoid the high oxalate foods until you can talk to an avian vet about a safe level of oxalate consumption for your particular bird. 

sunflower seeds– they are very high in fat, maybe that’s why they are so addictive to pretty much anything. Feed them sparingly and mostly sprouted.
rice– recently, much of it is has been shown to be highly contaminated with arsenic. Try to check current contamination in the variety you are using if you want to feed rice. At the moment humans are advised to limit their consumption of rice; if it’s a high enough contamination to be a concern to humans we should be very concerned about feeding it to our birds. Read this article and this one for more information.

A note about Beans

The only legumes that can be fed just sprouted are:
 lentils    (Lens culinaris)
 mung beans  (Vigna radiata)
 adzuki  (Vigna angularis
chick peas  (Cicer arietinum
and peas   (Pisum sativum)
I include scientific names so that if you are in a country besides the US you might have an easier time figuring out what they are and if you can get them where you are.
All others for the most safety and health benefits should be soaked for 12 hours, then boiled uncovered for a minimum of 15 minutes, then simmering until fully cooked-tender.

This is because legumes contain complex sugars called oligosaccharides and toxic proteins called lectins. Most mammals and birds cannot digest the oligosaccharides, they are part of the reason why you sometimes get gas and bloating when you eat legumes. Your gut bacteria can digest those compounds. Your bacteria get really excited about the feast you just sent them and eat a whole bunch, making an unusually large amount of gas.  Lectins are more of a health concern though; they interfere with normal digestion and metabolism resulting in food poisoning like symptoms. Lectin poisoning does have the potential to be fatal. The “safe five” that can be eaten without cooking still have those compounds but they are able to be deactivated/ digested to safe levels by sprouting. Read my Cooking Legumes post for more information.

My Recipe (this time)

1/2  cup Flaxseed
1/2 cup dried mixed (sulfate free) tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos 
 1/4 cup mixed ginger powder, red pepper flakes and dill , could also include many other herbs!
 1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup each mung bean and lentils
1 cup ( after chopped) mixed greens 
1/2 cup (after chopped) spinach


1 mango’s fruit
 1 inch wide round each of purple and green cabbage
 half a sweet pepper with seeds
one whole jalapeno
1/3 bunch cilantro
1/4 of an average head of broccoli
1 medium carrot
1/4 cup wild rice
 1/2 cup each bean soup mix and quinoa

 what’s in a bean soup mix?
pinto, white,black, kidney  (Phaseolus vulgaris)
peas (Pisum sativum)
lima (Phaseolus lunatus)
black eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata unguiculata)
chick peas (Cicer arietinum)
lentils (Lens culinaris)
 The actual mix differs with brand and what not but these are the ones I see regularly.

Ingredients: What and why

All the veggies in general:

They are a great source for B vitamins, carotenoids, phytonutrients, vitamin C and K and all sorts of minerals.

Greens 

Such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce ( not iceberg people!), arugula, cress, mustard, dandelion greens; you can feed any human grade green in moderation.
In the wild parrots eat a large amount of greens. The fiber they provide is important, especially so for some species, for digestion and a strong intestinal tract. In humans, fiber helps remove cholesterol from the body; hopefully it does the same for birds!

Cilantro
mixed organic greens
organic spinach

peppers                                      

Sweet and hot, leave the seeds in, some birds love them! 
Many parrots love peppers and they are high in vitamin C, B vitamins and carotinoids.

Orange veggies

such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash


These are most important for their carotenoids, think vitamin A.


 

 

 

 

Flax or chia seed

These little seeds are really high in Omega 3’s. Greens and other veggies also have omega 3’s but the trick is that (with humans at least, I was unable to find a ratio for any avian species) you need a ratio that’s close to equal between the two.  Most
grains contribute more omega 6’s; since grains make up so much of the diet you need a higher concentration of omegas 3’s to balance them out.

Herbs/spices

Flavor interest for the birds, many have health benefits as well. I only know of one spice that isn’t safe to feed. A lot of the cinnamon sold is actually from cassia bushes, and is not true cinnamon which is from Ceylon trees. They are closely related plants but cassia cinnamon has a much higher content of coumarins, a compound that inhibits blood clotting. Birds cannot afford to loose much blood so feeding cassia cinnamon creates an unnecessary risk. If you want to use cinnamon make sure it’s pure Ceylon. Other than cinnamon, and alliums, I have never read or heard anything about any other herb or spice that makes me think they wouldn’t be safe to feed birds.  Make sure that what you use is salt and MSG free; preservatives, anti-caking agents and really any additives should be avoided.

Sprouts

Seeds are generally high in fat something that makes them a major culprit in fatty liver disease in parrots. By sprouting them much of the fats and sugars are used by the seed in the germination process and proteins are created along the way making sprouted grains and seeds very healthy. 
I don’t know of anything that is safe to sprout for humans that isn’t safe for birds. However,
canavanine, found in alfalfa sprouts can create autoimmune disease like symptoms in humans who have consumed large amounts.  In case that could happen with birds they should be fed in strict moderation.

Grains/legumes

 Contribute mostly carbs and proteins, respectively, but also important for fiber and minerals.  These are important for a healthy, complete diet but they can be overfed easily.
I want to mention quinoa specifically. This little pseudograin is very high in protein and has an excellent amino acid profile. It cooks fast and is delicious.

cooked beans, quinoa and wild rice
Buckwheat
a bean soup mix after soaking for a day

                         Wild rice

Pellets

Some of the more expensive organic,  and corn/ soy/ GMO free  pellets crumble pretty easily, it’s really a good thing meaning they are processed at a lower temperature but it also means there is a lot of waste. People add the crumbs or dust to chop as a way to use up those expensive pellets and soak up liquids. I prefer to use pellet dust when making birdie bread instead.

Flowers

Like with greens, these are naturally a large part of a parrot’s diet and share most of the same nutrients as veggies. In some species, flowers, pollen and nectar are actually a large part of their diet.
Some edible flowers: nasturtiums, pansies, roses, Allium flowers, radish, mustard and kale.


Chop Making Procedure:

2+ days before you want to make chop start your sprouts, I like everybody to be showing at least a little radical(seed root) when I use them.
Pick out anything you wouldn’t want to eat: shriveled, moldy, broken, weird little foreign objects.


Then rinse them really well and put them in a container with twice their volume of water and more room to expand.  Changing the water while soaking once helps prevent your sprouts from becoming really compact in the container as they expand which makes them nigh impossible to get out and it helps prevent them from souring. Soaking overnight, 12 or so hours is best. Then poor off the soak water and rinse them really well.
 At this point you can put them in something like a wide bowl, jar, or mesh strainer. There are also these nifty mesh lids
for Mason jars so you can invert a jar of sprouts and even fancier there are gadgets specifically for sprouting.  You will need to rinse your sprouts at least twice a day, five times is better and frankly you can’t really rinse them to much as long as you are gently. If you don’t rinse enough the sprouts can sour, mold, rot and not grow. 

Some people rinse with various things besides water but I really think that’s unnecessary.  Simply using good sprouting practices is your best bet. Early the day you make chop rinse your sprouts one last time and let them dry out as much as possible before you start assembling the chop.


The next thing I do (it’s better to do this the day before) is cook what needs cooking. 
Things to add that should be cooked:
sweet potato/yams
beans beside the safe six
squash also benefits from being cooked but it isn’t necessary 
 You can cook the quinoa and rice called for in my recipe either by boiling in water until tender and then draining or in a rice cooked with a 2:1 water to grain ratio. Unless the quinoa package or bulk bin said specifically that you don’t need to, rinse it vigorously, rub the grains against each other and rinse. Quinoa has a saponin coating that can make it bitter and soapy tasting if not washed thoroughly. You can also sprout, instead of cook, the quinoa and rice.

None of the other veggies need to be cooked, other grains you can cook but you can also sprout them instead.


 

Chop, mince or use your food processor to make your veggies into the right size pieces. I always chop the greens by hand, I think the food processor just turns them into a paste, creating A TON of liquid in the process. Unless you have a really big food processor you will end up doing it in batches. 


I add each batch to the dry ingredients and make sure there is still dry things to soak up liquids from the other batches I will be adding. After the last batch of veggies is added I add the cooked bits and if it’s too wet add more dry goodies, then add the greens.


I Like chopping broccoli by hand but I’m sure it would be fine to chop in a food processor.


And..It’s Done!!! Do a happy dance, give your fids some to see what they think (if you haven’t already) and congratulate yourself for making a delicious healthy meal for your fids!
At this point check your chop wetness one last time, it should be just sticky and start packing it up for the freezer.



My hubby packaging for the freezer.

 A Few last Notes

Just as many people choose to feed themselves organic they are also choosing to feed their birds organic. It is simply not financially feasible for many people to buy all their food or most of their food organic for their fids and themselves. Luckily, there is a great group of people who put out a list of most and least contaminated produce to help you decide which things to buy organic. 

The dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen list

 For more information about pesticide contaminated foods see the EWG’s website

If organic is simply outside what you can manage, remember by feeding even fully conventional chop you are feeding your birds much much better than the alternative of a diet comprised primarily of pellet and/or seed and little fresh foods.

 

 These resources have all sorts of information and ideas about chop and other crazy awesome ideas for things you can make for your fids!

 Further Resources

Parrot Nation
The Happy Cockatoo
Nourish to Flourish 
 The Parrot’s Pantry
Nourish to Flourish, A Healthy Cookbook for Parrots *affiliate link*

Last but not least, this post is by no means a complete list of ingredients, opinions, knowledge, methods or concepts about chop ( what’s here will become outdated knowledge but I do plan to change things as the knowledge changes). So, here’s where you come in! Share what’s worked for you; share what you disagree with me about, leave links to other resources and ask and answer each others questions! 

This post is participating in The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop
Go check out all sorts of other blogs like ours!

I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!
Kindest regards,
Emily
lentil cakes

Lentil cakes with Raita

If you haven’t discovered lentils yet, you are missing out! They have a unique taste I can only describe as “lentil” that is really, well, tasty! They cook fast, don’t need to be soaked (although they benefit from it) before cooking and you can eat them just sprouted unlike most legumes that have anti-nutritive compounds that can only be deactivated with long soaking and boiling. Those compounds are partially responsible for the link between beans and gas/ bloating. You can read more about cooking lentils and other legumes in my Cooking Legumes post.
There are a few different kinds of lentils. The two I have tried are the “brown” or really tanish-yellow colored and the french green which have a green marbled color, very pretty. I prefer the greens. They seem to hold up better during cooking and have a more lentily flavor.

I had been cooking lentils in soup, curried and for taco beans but I wanted something different to try with them. After Googling and hunting through cook books, this was the recipe that caught my eye. It was featured on Epicurious as South Indian Lentil Cakes with Raita. As usual, I deviated from their recipe but not much! 

The cakes turn out much better if you give the beans and lentil a couple days to sprout, at least start them the morning of the day before you want to make this for best results. This batch feeds AJ and me ,when hungry, with just a little left over.

 
Also need-
1 head of garlic
olive oil for frying 
Raita

1tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil
salt, ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 or 1/2 cup finely chopped English or baby cucumber or seeded other cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 minced seeded jalapeño
juice from half a lemon – more to taste

 *seeded means seeds removed, hubby thought you might not know*
 First things first, get that head of garlic roasting. 
The recipe said to roast on 450°F but I did mine on 375°F and it worked just fine. I think the only difference is that it will take longer to cook at a lower temperature and at least in my case, I’m more likely to burn that puppy to a crisp when I forget about it at a higher temperature. Cut the papery top and a little of the cloves off. The first time I made these I thought this was just a fancy-pants step, so I didn’t do it. FIRE !!! Yes, really, there were flames in my itty-bitty oven, so take my advice and do the fancy-pants step.
 

 
 
I just set mine on the rack but it will bubble over while cooking so you might want to put it on a baking dish, one of those fancy garlic roasting pots or wrap it in foil or other oven safe papers. I try to stay away from foil, I have heard some rumblings about it ending up in the food but haven’t taken the time to research it yet so I just don’t use it unless I have to. I didn’t keep track of how long it took to cook, it couldn’t have been more than a half hour. Since the garlic goes from hard to squishy I think you will have a pretty easy time figuring out when it’s done.
yummy roasted garlic

 Extract the cloves by squeezing from the base of the head of garlic up, depending on how much of the top you cut off you might need to cut open some cloves. Don’t wait around to do this, the garlic gets really sticky and is a pain in the butt if you let it cool off all the way. Once you get all the goods out smash them into a nice paste. You will spread this deliciousness onto the lentil cakes when they are finished.

 
While the garlic is roasting, toast your cumin seeds. Yes, you can just use ground cumin. But, the difference in cumin that’s from toasted seeds is huge. Some smart person must have known how much better toasted cumin tastes since you can buy toasted ground cumin here, instead of making it yourself. Toasting makes a more complex, nuttier and smoother flavor than your normal ground cumin. Add the cumin seeds to a dry pan and over medium high heat swirl them around every few minutes until they brown. 
Before toasting

about the color  cumin seeds should be after toasting

They shouldn’t start smoking but if they do just a little, you can still use them. If you use nonstick, this is something you will need to find another type, any other type, of pan for. If you do this with non-stick it will not only release toxic fumes but ruin the pan. Those fumes cause flu like symptoms called “polymer fume fever” and are deadly toxic to birds.  I was unable to find a temperature where fumes are created that affect humans but birds have been documented to die from fumes created at 325°F. To give some perspective, Teflon coated light bulbs used in commercial poultry operations were responsible for killing many birds. If you want more information on this topic visit the Teflon offgas studies page at EWG.

 
use a spice grinder, mortar and pestle or get inventive.
Okay, enough about toxic fumes! Back to happy cooking land. Now you will need to grind the seeds. I don’t have any particular kitchen tool actually made for grinding things but I do have paper weights and this one nicely textured bowl my grandpa made that together work perfectly to grind things. A spice or coffee grinder or mortar and pestle would be more conventional ways to grind the cumin.
 I just make the raita in that bowl and add everything to the now ground toasted cumin. You finely mince the cilantro, pepper and cucumber, mix that in with your cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and yogurt. The second time we had this I used half a cucumber and my husband complained the raita was too thick, so if you want a thinner version use 1/4 of a cucumber. Don’t forget to taste it and make sure it’s seasoned to your liking.
 
thick yummy raita

 

 I  make the raita first so the flavors have a chance to get friendly while I make the lentil cakes. Speaking of lentil cakes…

 

 

Lentil Cakes

1/4 cup dry lentils, I used french green lentils such as this
1/4 cup dry mung beans, such as this

1/4 cup rice, I used basmati rice- this is our go to brand but you can use whatever rice you want, I want to try this with wild rice next!
1 clove garlic , minced
1 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger- turns out fine without it
1/2 jalapeño, seeded, minced
1 cup spinach- or pea tendrils, arugula, mustard, kale? use a green that hold up nicely when cooked
1/2 cup peas- can be with edible pods or just peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onions or scallion or leek
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

 These cakes are edible, tasty and stick together because the legumes are sprouted. Since they are sprouted the cakes cook very fast, you can actually eat the mung beans and lentils just sprouted, try them before you grind them up. They don’t taste half bad and are really good for you. The original recipe only says to soak for five hours, I think that is way too short. They are not at all soft by then, not sprouting yet so you don’t get any of the health benefits of sprouts and they don’t stick together that great. 

these little beauties had been growing for two full days

To soak, rinse the lentils and beans, then put them in a container with twice their volume of water and room to expand. It’s a really good idea, especially in hot weather, to change the water once during soaking. After overnight soaking, rinse the beans and put them in an inverted mason jar with a sprouting lid ( it’s just a mesh lid so water can drain and air can circulate) or in a mesh colander or large bowl. You can use them in the cakes at this point but if they have even a day to sprout the cakes with taste better. Rinse them at least twice throughout the day, five or so times is best. 

 

 

Add your sprouted legumes, peas, ginger, coarsely chopped onion, cilantro, garlic, pepper and seasonings to your food processor. You will probably have to stop and push everything  off the sides once or twice. When the mix is about as course as the picture below add your coarsely chopped greens and process until it’s about twice as smooth as pictured. Look at the picture of the frying cakes to see what I mean.

 
texture from first round of processing
sprouts, peas, onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, seasonings.
how the final texture should be

 
 
 
 

I think making smaller cakes is better because they are pretty fragile little buggers at first. I made them about half cup size. Add a just a drizzle of oil to coat your pan, you will need more as you are frying. Heat it until you see the oil ripple, meaning it’s hot, and add some of your cakes. I found that it was easier to do multiple batches so I had more room to turn them; cramped spacing the first time resulted in a few broken ones.

 

 These cook really fast. Medium heat and a watchful eye are in order. When overcooked they get unappetizing hard bits in the browned areas. If that happens lower your temperature and/or cooking time.  Remember, everything in these patties you can eat raw so frying is really about making them warm, stick together and flavor from browning; not about cooking them.

 
 
 
 
 
 

This is a really healthy and delicious meal that we love. Try it and let me know what you think!

 

This post is participating in The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop, Mostly Homemade Mondays , Real Food Fridays and Healthy Tuesdays, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!

I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!
Kindest regards,
Emily