The other thing everybody talks about in January, I mean, besides resolutions and, well, this year in mainland America, the pipes-freezing cold that stretches all the way from the Upper Pennisula to our version of it here in Tennessee, is sickness. Everybody’s sick. Or if you aren’t sick, you’re getting over being sick or trying desperately not to get sick, and so, in the name of boosting immunity for you, you, and all of us, maybe it’s time to talk about sprouts? I love sprouts. I mean, I looooove sprouts. Sprouts are fresh and crunchy and weirdly easy to learn to enjoy, even if the first time you ever ate them was when you were, oh, in your late 20s. They run a little pricey in the produce section (although you could always grow your own), so buying a container of them at the store feels like a luxury, sort of like buying a cherry chocolate bar, but in a tossup between the two, while of course I’d choose the chocolate, the sprouts would come very close (what? I know.). Also, to be fair, the sprouts last a while; sometimes I’ve said to Tim, “They keep coming and coming, like we’ve got an oil at the Widow of Zarephath’s situation on our hands!” He usually laughs because he’s kind like that.
Sprouts are super concentrated in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, having been harvested in their young, sprouting stage of growth—In alfalfa sprouts, for example, you get Vitamin K (good for blood clotting!), Vitamin C (go immunity!), and, here’s an important one, phytoestrogens, which may reduce your risks for all kinds of diseases bigger than winter colds, such as heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, according to Michael T. Murray, author of Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. One of the big nutritional components that people are also always talking about with broccoli sprouts is the sulforaphane, which, I know, is another big word that doesn’t come up in regular conversation, but it’s worth knowing because it works against cancer, according to a study from John Hopkins.
Anecdotally, I can tell you sprouts are probably the #1 food in the entire world that I am guaranteed to feel an energy boost after eating. Mark it down, documented fact, Shanna Mallon, age 31: Sprouts make me feel good!
You can put sprouts in smoothies, you can put sprouts on sandwiches, you can pile them on a plate with a little salt and go to town (surprisingly delicious!). Also, as we did in this recipe, you can add them to a leafy green salad with a crazy, complex, tangy, spicy, sweet vinaigrette. My brother-in-law said it was one of the best salads he’s had in a long time. Actually, he stopped eating, looked at us both across the table, and then said it was one of the best salads he’s had in a long time, with such authority and confidence, I laughed out loud. He was right, though. This is some salad.