Crunchy Sprout Salad

Rich in essential nutrients, an excellent source of enzymes, high in protein and fiber, and low in calories, sprouts are little sparks of life -- the time in a plant’s life cycle when a hard-coated seed is activated by enzymes to transform from its dormant stage to become a live, growing plant. The term "sprouts" can refer to a variety of vegetables, since all seeds "sprout" when they begin the growing process, but not all sprouted seeds should be eaten raw. Worldwide, the seeds most commonly sprouted for eating are mung and soy beans, though a variety of other legumes (such as alfalfa and clover), cereals (wheat), seeds (sunflower) and Brassicas (radish) are common. In the Northeast, sprouts must be cultivated indoors in the winter -- a fresh reminder that spring will someday again appear!

Tips

Delicate sprouts, such as the alfalfa, radish and clover mix coming in this month’s share, should be stored in a ventilated container in the fridge and kept no more than two days.

* Before eating, rinse well under running water for 1-2 minutes, then allow to drain. Place atop a slice of bread with hummus or cream cheese, or use as a garnish for soup or salad.

* Sprouts are also great stir-fried or sautéed, but should be cooked for only 30 seconds or less; longer cooking will wilt the sprouts. 

Crunchy Sprout Salad

Ingredients: 

Salad

* 1 cup alfalfa sprouts

* 2 cups greens such as chard or mustard greens

* 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

* 1 apple, thinly sliced, or 1/4 cup raisins

* 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

* 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

Dressing

* 2 T. balsamic vinegar

* 1 clove garlic, minced

* 1 T. honey

* Salt & pepper to taste

* 2 T. olive oil

Directions: 

1. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl and toss completely.

2. Whip together the first four ingredients for the dressing, then whisk in oil to blend.

3. Pour dressing over salad.