Bean Sprouts are a versatile vegetable. They may not be a vegetable that you have considered using in your daily diet, but they certainly have some great benefits.
There are many reasons to eat bean sprouts. Bean sprouts come in different varieties and are used in many cultures, cuisines, and dishes. When I say ‘Bean Sprouts’… what sprout exactly am I referring to? Well – traditionally Bean Sprout refers to the Mung bean sprout.
Bean sprouts have been around for a long time and have been used in ancient times as a vital part of dishes adding nutrients and minerals for a healthy lifestyle. Two major types of bean sprouts are mung bean sprouts and soybean sprouts.
As well as looking at 5 Reasons to Eat Bean Sprouts, I will also include some examples of different kinds of bean sprouts and dishes in which you can use them.
Bean Sprouts Are Easy To Grow At Home
There are different techniques you can use to grow your own bean sprouts at home. Growing them yourself not only gives you the security that no chemicals were used on them, but also the satisfaction of your own handy work.
How To Prepare Your Beans For Planting
For best results, it is necessary to soak your beans of choice in warm water between 12 and 24 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. Do not place it in direct sunlight. A poorly lighted place will be the best place to put them to soak. By doing this you soften the husk and it helps the germination process to go faster. After soaking the beans, make sure you rinse them thoroughly.
You will need the following to start growing your own bean sprouts:
- Soaked and rinsed beans
- A container like a glass jar, paper towel, or cotton wool. If you choose to use a jar you will need some good potting soil
If your choice is to use cotton wool or paper towel, make sure that the cotton or paper towel is damped with water. Put your beans on the surface of your choice and make sure they are spread more or less 1 – 1.5 cm apart. Cover them with another thinner layer of cotton or paper towel and lightly drizzle water so that they are not too wet or too dry then leave them in an area where you get some light but not fully direct sunlight.
Within 3- 4 days your sprouts should be ready. You will know they are ready for use when the white stalk part is about 1.5 cm long.
When using a jar or any other container of your choice, you can add a layer of potting soil of about 3 cm. Place your beans in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Spray with water so you are sure not to make the soil too wet.
Your sprouts should be ready in about 3 -4 days with the white stem being 1.5 cm in length.
Bean Sprouts Have Nutritional Benefits
Bean sprouts are known for their health benefits and are even considered to help in some health issues.
Bean sprouts are known for their make-up of:
- Vitamin K
Each cup of bean sprouts, alfalfa in this case contains:
- 8 Calories
- 1 gram Protein
- Less than 1 gram of fat
- 1 gram Carbohydrates
- 1 gram Fibre
- Less than 1 gram of sugar
The specific ratio of nutrients depends on the type of sprout. Besides the nutritional value and benefits of bean sprouts, they also have a few health benefits. However, bean sprouts should never be eaten raw or lightly cooked because of toxins and bacteria that might be found in them.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Controlling blood sugar levels
- Digestive health
- Heart health
- Lower cholesterol levels
Bean Sprouts Are Low in Calories
Although bean sprouts have much nutritional value and health benefits, they are very low in calories.
Below is a list of some bean sprouts and how many calories they contain.
- Kidney bean sprouts contain 53 calories per 184 grams (1 cup)
- Lentil sprouts contain 82 calories per 77 grams (1 cup)
- Pea sprouts contain 149 calories per 120 grams (1 cup)
- Mung bean sprouts contain 31 calories per 104 grams (1 cup)
- Soybean sprouts contain 85 calories per 70 grams (1 cup)
- Adzuki bean sprouts contain 466 calories per 133 grams (1 cup)
Bean Sprouts Are A Crucial Ingredient In Pad Thai
You just can’t beat a good Pad Thai! Pad Thai is a popular dish that is native to Thailand. It is commonly known as street food and is a stir-fried dish made with rice noodles. Use a wok to stir-fry the ingredients. Traditionally you will need rice noodles, shrimp, peanuts, bean sprouts, scrambled eggs and the high-temperature stir-fry cooking method.
Pad Thai can also be made as a vegan dish using tofu instead of shrimp and egg. A variety of other vegetables can also be included in the vegan Pad Thai. (Hints for Vegan Beginners)
Different varieties of Pad Thai include:
Bean Sprouts Make A Great Addition To A Quick Meal
Bean sprouts do not only add nutrients to dishes but also flavour, texture, and garnish. When used in salads make sure that it is indicated on the packaging that the sprouts are ready for use. If you are using bean sprouts that you have grown yourself, make sure that they are properly cooked for 6 minutes.
Apart from stir-fries and salads, you can fry bean sprouts with other vegetables like broccoli florets, fried onion, julienne carrots, and any other vegetable you like and use it as a filling for an omelette.
Beans sprouts can be used in salads and there is no limit to the different kinds of salads you can prepare. Bean sprouts add colour, crunch and flavour to any salad. Below are just some of the ingredients you can use to make a salad. From the list below you can use any of the ingredients and you will have a salad.
When choosing a starch, it’s best to just pick one.
- One of many different kinds of lettuce
- Fresh herbs like basil, rocket, mint, sage, etc
- Any vegetable like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, baby corn and many more
- Fruits like apple, citrus, melons, grapes, etc
In Asian cuisine, bean sprouts have been used for thousands of years in various dishes. Some of these dishes include:
- Different kinds of stir-fries
- Bean sprouts with fried garlic
- Chinese fried rice
- Tasty beef and bean sprouts
- Tofu and bean sprouts
- Chicken chow mein with vegetables
- Corn, noodles and bean sprout soup
- Korean bean sprout salad
Most of the recipes where bean sprouts are used are either stir-fry or salad. All recipes can be altered to become vegetarian or vegan dishes.
- Vegetarian dishes contain no meat
- Ovo vegetarian dishes contain no eggs
- Lacto vegetarian dishes contain no dairy
- Vegan dishes contain no animal products whatsoever
With a creative imagination, you can add bean sprouts to any dish you desire. Flavour, texture, garnish and nutritional benefits are just a few reasons to eat bean sprouts.