There’s no feeling like growing your own food and then getting to sit down and eat it. That feeling is carnal and ancient; our ability to do this is part of what makes us human. This is why we get such a rush when we walk into our kitchens to check on our sprouting jars and see those very first signs of growth. In that moment, the realization that we have the power to create life strikes us like lightning.
The miracle of life aside, sprouts are a powerhouse food. They aid the body in digestion, increase fiber content and protein availability, and they’re excellent for skin and hair. Their essential fatty acid content aids in fat-burning and their minerals improve body chemistry balance. Sprouts nourish us with a myriad of vitamins and nutrients and some sprout varieties even produce a cancer-fighting compound called isothiocyanate when consumed, and research by the American Chemical Society suggests that these compounds are the most potent when untreated. What better way to ensure their strength than by growing them in your very own kitchen? Not only are they healthy, but sprouts are also incredibly versatile. Here are 11 ways to incorporate sprouts into your cooking.
1 | Sandwiches
A super simple way to introduce sprouts into your diet is by adding them to any meat or veggie-based sandwich. In addition to their health benefits, any leafy sprout adds a satisfying crunch to your lunch.
2 | Superfood Salads
The fresh superfoods movement is booming and for good reason- we’re all acknowledging that our bodies deserve the very best. Adding sprouts to salads makes them more filling and it’s such an easy way to incorporate more vitamins and nutrients into your diet.
3 | Veggie Burgers
While sprouts make an excellent addition to any type of burger, they can also be used as a veggie patty base. Sprouted mung beans or chickpeas are best for texture and there are dozens of recipes online to choose from.
4 | Wraps and Rolls
Similarly to the classic sandwich, wraps are excellent for packing some extra sprout nutrients into a light meal. Bean sprouts are also perfect in Vietnamese spring rolls, wraps for which are readily available at specialty Asian markets or even Whole Foods.
5 | Dips and Spreads
Sprouted chickpeas are the perfect base for hummus because homegrown sprouts pack more nutrients than their processed counterpart. From there, you can create any flavor of hummus using the simple ingredients of your choosing (for example, salt, olive oil, and lemon).
6 | Stir-Fries and Sautés
Now, be careful with this because most sprout varieties soften when heated for too long, but if you’re quick, sprouts are an excellent addition to, or base for, stir-fries. Try putting ginger, soy sauce, and lime on high heat and stirring bean sprouts into it for just a couple minutes; try the same with butter and salt if you’re looking for something simple.
7 | Toasts
If we had to identify a single dietary staple of this decade, it would probably be avocado toast. Adding sprouts to an avocado spread on your bread of choice packs in tons of extra flavor and texture. You can keep it simple with a sprinkle of salt or make it fancy with a poached egg, tomatoes, or goat cheese and bacon.
8 | Soups
Sprouts of all types are excellent in any soup or stew: vegetable medley, chicken noodle, potato and leek, pho, chili, you name it. As I mentioned with stir-fries and sautés, make sure you throw the sprouts in at the very last moment so as to avoid any unwanted heaviness.
9 | Smoothies
If you’re in a hurry and want to get a good, nutritious meal in to start your day, smoothies are the way to go. For a simple smoothie, use apple juice as a base with pineapple, the sprouts of your choice, and spinach. Quick, easy, healthy, delicious, and it fits in one hand.
10 | Baking
Sprouted grain baked goods are incredibly nourishing, plus they’re wonderful for those of us who have gluten sensitivities to worry about (the enzymes in sprouted grains aid your body in breaking down gluten proteins). Baking with sprouted grains is easy- the only extra steps are drying your sprouted grains in the oven and grinding them into flour with a blender or mill if you have one. Now you can substitute it for all of your baking needs!
11 | Four-Legged Friends
Sunflower, broccoli, radish, clover, mung bean, and pea sprouts are actually an excellent source of nutrition for dogs and cats. If you’ve ever seen your four-legged friend nibbling on grass, it’s because they know that some plants aid in digestion. However, the grass we usually grow in our yards is pretty weak in nutritional value, so if you catch your cat or dog munching on the lawn, try growing some sprouts and mixing a little bit at a time into their food.
One of the greatest things about sprouts is that they’re so easy to get your hands on. They’re the ultimate superfood because they are so simple and straightforward, and growing them at home means you can be confident in their quality and lack of chemicals. Sprouted foods have a massive array of applications; this list is just the tip of the iceberg. And don’t be afraid to experiment because, after all, you can always grow more!
Writer and Sprouting Enthusiast
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Devon is a freelance writer and traveler. After graduating from Occidental College in 2017, she embarked on an indefinite world tour to, you know, “find herself.” Currently in Australia, she spends her time working, surfing, and getting beat up at her local MMA gym.