whole food ~ well made

Sprouted Seeds to Eat in Winter

It all started with a full-page photograph of a sandwich in Bon Appetit magazine called the California veggie sandwich, and it featured sprouts.

Since I’m from the other coast, sprouts weren’t a big deal. But a stacked all-vegetable sandwich brought me right back to my family’s all-time favorite sandwich shop called The Mason Jar in downtown Harwichport, Mass.

One of my favorites was a carrot, cucumber, tomato and swiss with Russian dressing, and it’s still on the menu.

Somehow the memory of that sandwich with the image of the California veggie morphed into my own quest for a stacked vegetable sandwich.

stacked veggie sandwich closeup

And that sandwich required sprouts.

How to grow sprouts in a jar

It’s shockingly simple and nearly foolproof to sprout seeds unless you neglect to keep the seeds moist like I did the first time. Which is why I recommend keeping the jar with your sprouting seeds in a windowsill. Not only because they’ll get whatever glimmers of post-winter solstice sunlight peeks through the snow clouds on any given winter day. But also because you’ll see them and be reminded.

Oh yes, water. That is all the seeds require.

Growing anything from seed is one of the most life-affirming acts I know. But growing anything in winter is downright miraculous.

What type of seeds? I bought an organic salad blend that included radish, mung bean, alfalfa and red clover. I’ll be on the lookout for these other seeds, including broccoli, chia, fenugreek, kale, and sunflower to grow into sprouts for salads, sandwiches, noodle bowls and more.

They all require the same treatment: soak a tablespoon or two (I did 2 tablespoons) in 1 cup cool filtered water in a sterilized mason jar for 4-8 hours. Fit the ring with a piece of cheesecloth, then drain. Rinse the seeds twice a day, propping the jar at an angle until they are sprouted in 4 or 5 days. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


growing sprouts in a jar

How long will they keep? In this small quantity (2 tablespoons yielded about 2 cups), I eat them up in just a few days. Due to concerns about microbial activity in sprouts (the #1 reason I never bought them at the store), it’s best to buy seeds specifically selected for sprouting and to eat them within three to four days.

Some sources recommend cooking them, but their fresh, crisp qualities in winter are their whole reason for being in my kitchen, at least.

Why sprout seeds

For the same reason that sprouting beans and nuts, germinating seeds offer up a host of B complex vitamins, fiber, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, proteins and vitamin C. Read more.

But honestly, I just grew them to construct the sandwich of my dreams.

In the end, my sandwich became an amalgam of the California veggie–with ample mashed avocado and the sprouts–and The Mason Jar’s Veggie Classic–with carrot, cucumber and tomato. I held the cheese but didn’t hold back on a homemade spicy version of Russian dressing.

stacked veggie sandwich sideview

All of it between two slices of this honey whole wheat sandwich bread. (This is not a sandwich for crusty toothsome bread; you need a tender sandwich bread, preferably wholegrain.)

It was tall, it was stacked. I packed it as my lunch for a day of skiing and kept ducking into the lodge for more bites. I called it the Stacked Vegetable & Sprout Sandwich, and it was better than I imagined.

Start those sprouts soon and you can have a bite, too.


and become a forager

stacked veggie sandwich sideview
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5 from 7 votes

Stacked Vegetable & Sprouts Sandwich

It's probably not a great selling point that it takes 5 days to make this sandwich. But making your own sprouts is worth it. Once you have sprouts, the rest comes together easily: a quick pickle of the cucumber and carrots with seasoned rice wine vinegar, a spicy Russian dressing and then mindful layering and stacking of ingredients for the ultimate vegetarian sandwich.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 sandwiches
Calories 543kcal
Author Lynne


  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp pinch salt
  • 1 medium ripe tomato thinly sliced
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh sprouts


  • Use a sharp vegetable peeler to make long slices of the cucumber, turning when you encounter the seeds. Peel the carrot and then make long slices of carrot. Put the cucumber slices and carrot slices in a shallow bowl and add the rice wine vinegar. Let them marinate while you prepare the dressing and other sandwich components.
  • To make the spicy Russian dressing, combine the mayonnaise, relish, ketchup and sriracha in a small bowl until well blended. Taste for seasoning and set it aside.
  • Mash the avocado with the salt in another small bowl and set it aside.
  • Drain the cucumber and carrot slices well and pat them dry with a paper towel. Arrange the vegetables, along with the tomato, near your work space.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, place 2 slices of the bread on a cutting board and spread thickly with the avocado from edge to edge. Layer over the avocado with by folds of the carrot slices followed by folds of the cucumber slices to make a thick and even layer as in the photos. (You may have some leftover slices.) Arrange the tomato in an even layer on the top.
  • Top the vegetables with the sprouts. Spread the remaining 2 slices of bread with the spicy Russian dressing and top the sandwiches with them. Use a very sharp bread knife and a gentle sawing motion to slice them in half, if desired. Or, serve them whole and have plenty of napkins on hand.


Calories: 543kcal


  1. 5 stars
    This is vegetarian sandwich looks very delicious and helps with my daily calorie count. But 5 days though, oh my… But I have to say it’ll worth it. Thanks Lynne!

    1. Too funny, Fred! Of course, you could *buy* good-quality organic sprouts and get the sandwich in like 5 minutes. The choice is yours.

  2. Never knew sprouting your own seeds and using them in such a manner was possible!! Awesome thing to share!!

    1. Even if you’re not a gardener, growing your own sprouts is so easy. And then you get to eat it within just a few days. Hope you give it a try, Dene’!

  3. I have not tried sprouting, but this looks interesting and that sandwich is scrumptious! We recently started growing living salads our kitchen. It’s so cool – and we get to enjoy freshly picked greens for our salad!

    1. Anything green and homegrown at this time of year sounds incredible, Jacquee. I want to grow microgreens next. Oh, and the sandwich was amaze.

  4. 5 stars
    I have never sprouted my own seeds. However, I do buy sprouts all the time. Love adding them to sandwiches…and they are perfect as garnish too.

    1. Sprouting is a great reprieve from winter and the quality is amazing compared to store bought. Hope you give it a try, Gloria. I’m definitely eating more sprouts than ever before and that seems like a good thing.

  5. Jane

    Where do you buy your seeds? Grocery store? Online?

    1. I bought my most recent package of organic mixed sprouting seeds from a natural foods store. I see them now in the seed catalogs that I’m getting in the mail almost daily. And I noticed that Amazon has a sampler pack of 10 different seeds, which is cool except for the fact that 2.5 pounds is a lifetime supply! Since you only sprout 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, I recommend finding a source that sells sprouting seeds (either mixed or single variety) in packages of 4 ounces or less.

  6. I do love sprouted seeds but I am concerned about the bacteria growing in that lovely warm environment too, so I stopped sprouting years ago. Do you have any suggestions? This is one gorgeous looking sandwich!

    1. Yeah, I thought about this too, Elizabeth. First off, I’m far more comfortable eating homegrown sprouts from quality organic seed (this is a key–more on this in a moment) than any sprouts from the supermarket, including alfalfa and mung bean. They are ripe for salmonella and E. coli contamination from many sources along the supply chain!
      The main hazard with home sprouting, according to food scientists at the University of California, is the seed if it contains even trace amounts of pathogens that can bloom during the sprouting window. The other hazard in home sprouting is the containers and sprouting trays. So, the recommendations are to buy from a certified (pathogen-free) source and sanitize all sprouting containers. This source lists several other precautions to take: Personal health is another consideration and people with immune issues or the very young or elderly shouldn’t consume them. I feel confident that the sprouts I grow from certified seed are no more pathogenic than what I grow in my garden in the summer or the mixed lettuces I buy at the store in the winter. But I’m fortunate to have no health issues whatsoever.

  7. I’m so glad to have found your site. Your writing and photos are so engaging and clearly filled with a passion for good quality food. Growing something from seed is truly incredible – I love the my small backyard urban garden more than just about anything!

    1. Wow, that’s pretty wonderful given that I just relaunched this blog yesterday. Thank you Leslie-Anne. Sounds like we have a lot in common!

  8. 5 stars
    Oh nice! Never thought of doing my own sprouts! It seems quite easy, I’m so going to try it out! Plus I totally agree, sandwich should always have a touch of sprouts! Nice post!

    1. It’s crazy easy, and when you think about growing something from seed, super-quick! Thanks, Marie-Pierre!

  9. 5 stars
    What a delicious sandwich Lynne. I used to sprout my own seeds but stopped after all the scares. I’ve just read your reply to Elizabeth so I’m going to have a look at some organic seed suppliers, I’ve really missed homegrown sprouted seeds.

    1. I read the Food Safety News updates all the time in my job as a food journalist. But I think some of our common food safety concerns are often misplaced (don’t get me started on ground turkey, which is one of the single most recalled food item on the market). Of course, we have to take precautions, but in the greater scheme of things, my money is one what I make in my own kitchen practicing good sanitation. Good luck with your sprouting endeavors, Sarah!

  10. 5 stars
    I have a seed sprouter that I have always wanted to use, now I think I need to! This sandwich looks awesome!

    1. This sandwich is the best reason I know to start sprouting, Sarah. Now that I am, I’m finding lots of unexpected places to put those sprouts, too. I should look into getting an actual sprouter; I just use a jar.

  11. I love food blogs, because I come across great things like this. I love anything diy, and the sandwich looks great. Gotta try that dressing!

    1. Perfect! I hope you do try it and let me know what you think, Jacqueline.

  12. 5 stars
    I love sprouting grains and seeds and love putting them in sandwiches. The place I used to work several years ago had a small family owned deli in the building and they made a really awesome sprouts sandwich that I loved so much! This recipe reminds me so much of that.

    1. I’m kind of stuck on using sprouts in sandwiches and haven’t really moved much beyond that, to be honest. I’d love to hear about the sprouts sandwich they made at that deli.

  13. Cary Bradley

    5 stars
    Thanks for this wonderful idea! There is surely something about that beloved food memory, isn’t there? I love making sprouts all the time and best source I’ve found is Sproutpeople online. They’ve been at it for decades and are adorable. Fun, tasty mixes are available as well as bulk plain fresh seeds and beans. Loved having a spicy blend of their brassicas with your French dressing. Delicious!!! Thanks again!

    1. I was just thinking that it was time to start sprouting again now that fall is here. Thanks for the resource, too.

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