Spring has sprung

Kale and eggplant with couscous and a fresh cake

Today we made an extra special lunch packed with some delicious flavours. In addition to preparing a fresh cake, we also used radish sprouts to enrich our meal.

What are sprouts? You’ve probably heard quite a bit about them as they’ve been a bit of a nutrition trend in recent years. Sprouts are young plants obtained by germinating seeds. The amount of time needed to germinate them depends on what type of seeds we use. That being said, before you go and starting germinating sprouts, you need to know that each type has its own unique flavour, ranging from a sharp flavour in mustard sprouts to a nuttier flavour in sunflower ones. A variety of seeds can be germinated to get edible sprouts, such as wheat, peas, mung beans, fenugreek, and even buckwheat. Today we used radish sprouts, which, with their fresh and slightly spicy taste, greatly enhanced our dish.

To get sprouts, you first start with seeds. The germination process usually takes several days. The seeds are first rinsed to remove any soil and any slimy substances that the seeds may release when they come in contact with water. The seeds are then soaked in water for a few hours in order to trigger the sprouting process. The seeds must then be kept constantly moist but not drenched. Some seeds (such as soy beans) can be germinated in layers a few centimetres thick, while others are best sown in a single layer with the seeds not touching. Most types of sprouts can be germinated without using soil, but for some soil (or filter paper) is necessary to ensure constant humidity.

The question then becomes why germinate seeds? Why the extra work when you could just eat the seeds? Well, a few reasons. Firstly, the flavour. Generally, the flavours are enhanced in sprouts as opposed to in seeds. Additionally, the different colour and texture they add to a dish can be very inviting. Perhaps the best reason though is the nutrition content, which improves when the seeds are sprouted. The nutrients in seeds are basically there as food for the baby plant to help it begin growing. When we eat the seeds, we obtain these substances. But when we sprout the plants first, these compounds are partially broken down by the plant and thus become more accessible to us. Germination also serves to reduce certain undesirable compounds such as lectins in legumes and phytates in cereals. Vitamin content often increases, and beneficial substances like antioxidants are produced.

Here we need to add a warning though. In some rare cases, plants may produce toxic chemicals when sprouting. This is the case with buckwheat, which has almost no toxic phagopyrin in the seeds, but develops it as it grows. Phagopyrin is a phototoxic substance, which means the effects occur when we are exposed to light. This can cause rashes to form on the skin. A small amount of buckwheat sprouts (up to 10) can’t hurt you, especially if you aren’t going out into the sun. Another potential danger is the development of bacteria and moulds as a result of the humidity. That being said, proper germination hygiene and water changing can avoid this. Though you can buy germinated sprouts, you can also grow them at home! Try to find a nice local company selling seeds for sprouts and let your meals grow!


Recipe, preparation, and price

 

Quantity (ml or g)

Price for 4 person (EUR)

Main dish

Olive oil

20

0,12

Kale

300

0,39

Eggplant

250

0,50

Couscous

100

0,48

Peanut butter

10

0,1

Salt

4

0,00

Salad

Lettuce

300

0,67

Pumpkin seeds

40

0,50

Sunflowers seeds

30

0,09

Olive oil

5

0,03

Salt

3

0,00

Dessert

Sunflower seeds

30

0,09

Pumpkin seeds

30

0,37

Almonds

40

0,58

Dry apricots

50

0,39

Dry prunes

50

0,25

Coconut oil

5

0,08

Chia seeds

30

0,46

Bananas

200

0,26

Strawberries

200

0,56

Together

5,98

 

A few hours before lunch, we made our cake as we wanted to let it sit in the fridge for a while before serving. To really get the most of the tastes, we started by roasting almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a hot pan with no oil. These roasted seeds and nuts were then ground up in a food processor, to which we added dried apricots, prunes, and coconut oil as needed. This formed a sticky mass that could not really be kneaded or rolled, but it sufficed to push it into a cake pan that would serve as the mould. To really make the cake something special, we added a creamy and fruity bit on top. For this, we blended up bananas, strawberries, and chia seeds along with a bit of lemon juice. Not only does the lemon juice enhance the taste, but it also helps keep the colour of the fruit as it prevents it from oxidising as quickly. We have written about this phenomenon previously. The resulting fruit mixture was poured on top of the cake and refrigerated for a few hours to cool it and to allow the mucous of the chia seeds to set and act as a binding agent.

When it was time to prepare the lunch, we started with the vegetables. We cut out kale into strips and eggplant into small pieces, which we then cooked in some olive oil for a bit before adding watering and allowing it all to simmer. We salted it and added seasonings during this period. You can use anything you please, but we chose to use pepper, cardamom, and cumin. When the vegetables were almost cooked, we added a tablespoon of peanut butter and couscous as well as some more water as we needed a bit extra. Better to add too little at first than too much! You can always add more water, but it is awfully tricky to take it away… We also sprinkled mustard sprouts and strawberry pieces over the dish when we served it.

To complement the main dish, we also prepared a lettuce salad that we added roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds to. The salad was seasoned with olive oil and salted, and sprouts were added at the end.

The price for this lunch for 4 people came to 5.98€, so about 1.5€ per person. The highest cost in this meal was for the cake ingredients, which cost us over 3€. The main course and salad together were less than this.


Nutritional value

With lunch consumed quantity

% From daily needs

Energy

515,20

kcal

25,80

Proteins

14,95

g

26,70

Total fats

27,64

g

62,80

Carbohydrates

60,87

g

 

Starch

5,22

g

 

Sugar

22,04

g

 

Fibers

17,50

g

70,00

Calcium (Ca)

178,83

mg

17,90

Iron (Fe)

3,99

mg

39,90

Magnesium (Mg)

177,34

mg

44,30

Phosphorus (P)

406,43

mg

58,10

Potassium (K)

1239,98

mg

62,00

Sodium (Na)

734,19

mg

133,50

Zinc (Zn)

3,98

mg

39,80

Copper (Cu)

0,79

mg

88,10

Manganese (Mn)

1,72

mg

74,80

Selenium (Se)

25,23

µg

50,50

Vitamin A

297,28

µg

29,70

Vitamin E

8,51

mg

56,70

Vitamin D

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin C

69,97

mg

70,00

Thiamin (B1)

0,26

mg

20,30

Riboflavin (B2)

0,37

mg

24,60

Niacin (B3)

4,46

mg

30,70

Pantothenic acid (B5)

1,98

mg

33,00

Vitamin B6

0,62

mg

41,10

Folic acid (B9)

148,63

µg

37,20

Vitamin B12

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin K

167,05

µg

238,60

 

With today’s meal, we consumed 25% of our daily caloric requirements. We also managed to get 26% of our daily requirement for protein, mainly from the pumpkin, sunflower, and chia seeds, though also some from the salad. We managed to get 70% of our daily needs for fibre, which we can thank the kale, eggplant, pumpkin seeds, and almonds for. The meal also had lots of iron (39.9%), magnesium (44.3%), potassium (62%), selenium (50%), zinc (39.8%), and other minerals. We were a bit low on calcium (17.9%), which could be added in with broccoli, radishes, arugula, or tofu. We also did quite well for vitamins, especially vitamin C (70%) and E (56.7%). As always, there was no vitamin D or B12 in the meal. Daily carbohydrate and starch requirements are not indicated because differences between individuals depend on the nutrients consumed.

If you have any questions about today’s lunch or ideas for future liunches then send them off to us at hungry.pumpkin.blog@gmail.com!

Have a great week and stay safe!

The Hungry Pumpkin Team

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