Find the best types of sprouts and master the art of sprouting them in your own home! This post also showcases delectable recipes featuring each unique sprout variety.
Sprouts are like baby plants that start growing from seeds. They are typically harvested within a few days of the seed germinating, and the first shoots appear.
Sprouting is the process of germinating seeds by soaking them in water and providing a humid environment. This encourages the seeds to start growing into small plants called sprouts.
These tiny plants also come in lots of different tastes and textures. Some are a little spicy, like radish sprouts, and others smell really nice, like onion sprouts. The diversity not only enhances culinary experiences but also offers an opportunity to explore different flavors and textures.
To explore more different types of sprouts, this blog post will introduce you to various options and recipes for incorporating them into your diet.
How To Sprout
Sprouting is the process of germinating seeds to eat them raw or cooked. Here’s a simple guide to sprouting:
- Select Seeds. Choose seeds like beans, lentils, or sunflower seeds.
- Cleanse. Wash the seeds to remove dirt.
- Soak. Place the seeds in a container and cover them with water. Leave them for about 8-12 hours, usually overnight.
- Drain. After soaking, drain out the water from the container.
- Rinse and drain. Rinse the seeds with water and drain again. Do this twice a day to keep them moist.
- Observe Growth. As you rinse and drain, you’ll see tiny roots and maybe even small leaves emerging.
- Harvest time. When the sprouts are the size you prefer, usually within 2 to 5 days, you can harvest them.
1. Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are the immature shoots of the alfalfa plant, Medicago sativa. They are grown by soaking alfalfa seeds in water for several days until they have developed roots and shoots.
These sprouts have a mild, earthy flavor and a crunchy texture, excellent for salads, pasta dishes, dips, and pizza. Some people add them to casseroles and baked goods.
Here are some of the best recipes with alfalfa sprouts.
2. Mung Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts are edible plump silvery-white shoots with two small yellow leaves at one end, a result of germinating mung beans. They are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and are often used in stir-fries, soups, salads, and spring rolls.
These sprouts feature a mild, subtly sweet, vegetal, and nutty taste and crisp, crunchy texture. Adding them towards the end is best to maintain their texture when cooking.
3. Lentil Sprouts
Lentil sprouts are lentils that have been soaked in water and allowed to germinate. This process activates enzymes in the lentils that break down phytic acid, a compound that can inhibit the absorption of nutrients.
These sprouted lentils have a subtly nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. They can be enjoyed as a standalone snack, added to wraps and sandwiches, or used to add texture and protein to stir-fries and soups.
4. Radish Sprouts
Radish sprouts are the edible young shoots of radish plants. They are typically grown from daikon radish seeds, but other radish varieties can also be used.
This variety features a slightly spicy flavor and a crisp texture that are excellent to be eaten raw in salads or cooked like other sprouts.
5. Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are young, immature broccoli plants that are grown from seeds. They are typically harvested after 3 to 5 days, and these sprouts are well-known for their mild, slightly peppery flavor.
They’re versatile and can be eaten raw, cooked, juiced, or blended into smoothies. One of the popular recipes that use this sprout variety is this
Some recipes that include broccoli sprouts are Cheesy Fried Walnuts, Apple & Broccoli Sprouts and Broccoli Sprout Salad with Matcha-Ginger Vinaigrette.
6. Sunflower Sprouts
Sunflower sprouts are the young shoots that emerge from germinated sunflower seeds. They belong to the microgreens family, which are essentially seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs harvested less than 14 days after germination. These sprouts are grown for their tender leaves and stems, not for their flowers.
The sprouts have a crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavor, somewhat akin to the sunflower seed itself but greener in taste. They can also be blended into soups and smoothies or used to make pesto or hummus.
One great recipe that uses sunflower sprouts is this Sunflower Sprout Smoothie.
7. Pea Sprouts
Pea sprouts, or pea shoots or tendrils, are young, tender leaves and stems of pea plants. They’re a popular edible garnish and ingredient in many Asian cuisines and have been gaining popularity in other parts of the world for their crisp texture and sweet pea flavor.
Pea sprouts can be harvested from many pea plants, including garden peas, snow peas, and snap peas. They are often used in salads, stir-fries, or as a garnish.
8. Mustard Sprouts
Mustard sprouts are the edible young shoots of mustard seeds. They are a type of sprout that is grown from seeds in water or a moist environment. Mustard sprouts have a strong, peppery flavor that is similar to horseradish.
Besides being a great addition to salads, mustard sprouts can also be pickled or fermented.
9. Chickpea Sprouts
Chickpea sprouts are the young shoots that emerge from germinated chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). They’re popular for their noticeably nutty taste and crunchy texture.
Chickpea sprouts can be added to salads, stir-fries, or even blended into smoothies. You can also cook them as you would with other legumes.
10. Buckwheat Sprouts
Buckwheat sprouts refer to the young shoots grown from buckwheat seeds, which belong to the same family as rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is not a cereal grain like wheat or rye but is actually a pseudo-cereal, meaning it is a seed consumed the same way as cereal grains but doesn’t grow on grasses.
The sprouts’ nutty, slightly sweet flavor and crunchy texture are great in salads, smoothies, and baked goods like bread, muffins, and pancakes.
Here’s a great recipe featuring this ingredient: Carrot & Fennel Slaw With Sprouted Buckwheat.
11. Fenugreek Sprouts
Fenugreek sprouts are the edible shoots of the fenugreek plant (Trigonella foenum-graecum). The sprouts are a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine, ideal for wraps, omelets, scrambles, dips, and baked goods.
They are also known for their slightly bitter, nutty flavor, and when they’re sprouted, this taste becomes milder but is still noticeable. Some people describe the flavor as being similar to a combination of celery and maple.
12. Adzuki Bean Sprouts
Adzuki bean sprouts are the edible sprouts of the adzuki bean, a small, red bean that is native to East Asia. They are similar in appearance to other bean sprouts, such as mung bean sprouts, but they have a slightly sweeter flavor and a crisper texture.
Some cooks add the sprouts to their casseroles and stir-fries, but they can also be enjoyed raw in salads, as a garnish, or as a fresh filling in sandwiches.
13. Clover Sprouts
Clover sprouts are the young shoots grown from clover seeds, specifically from red or crimson clover varieties. They are commonly consumed as a raw ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
These sprouts are similar in appearance to alfalfa sprouts but have a slightly different taste, which some describe as being more earthy or nutty than the milder flavor of alfalfa sprouts.
14. Onion Sprouts
Onion sprouts are the shoots that emerge when onion seeds are germinated and begin to grow. The sprouts have a thin, white stem with a pale green top and a mild, onion-like flavor, which can add a sharp note and spice to dishes.
They are similar in concept to other sprouted seeds like alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, or radish sprouts, which are commonly used in salads and sandwiches for added crunch.
15. Soybean Sprouts
Soybean sprouts are a culinary vegetable grown by sprouting soybeans. They can be grown by placing and watering the sprouted soybeans in the shade until the roots grow long.
Soybean sprouts are one of the most common and basic ingredients in Korean cuisine and can be found in various dishes, including kimchi, doenjang, soups, and salads.
16. Flax Sprouts
Flax sprouts are the young plants that emerge when flax seeds (from the Linum usitatissimum plant) are germinated and allowed to grow for a short period. They are typically harvested and consumed within a few days of sprouting. These sprouts have a slightly nutty flavor, akin to the seeds, but with the fresh taste characteristic of young greens.
17. Quinoa Sprouts
Quinoa sprouts are the young shoots that emerge when quinoa seeds are allowed to germinate and grow in the presence of water and air without being planted in soil.
They have a slightly nutty flavor that is similar to brown rice and a slightly crunchy texture with a sweet note. You can sprinkle them on top of soups, stir-fries, or bowls for added texture.
18. Pumpkin Sprouts
Pumpkin sprouts are simply pumpkin seeds that have started the process of germination. They are characterized by their small size, usually no more than a few inches tall, and their distinctive shape.
While the sprouts aren’t as commonly consumed as other sprouts, they can be used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. Just ensure they’re fresh and washed thoroughly if you intend to consume them raw.
19. Barley Sprouts
Barley sprouts are young, tender shoots that emerge from germinated barley seeds. These sprouts are notable for their mild, slightly nutty flavor and crisp texture, which can be incorporated into salads, wraps, and soups.
20. Chia Sprouts
Chia sprouts are the young seedlings of chia seeds. They are not technically sprouts in the traditional sense, as they do not develop roots. Instead, they form a gel-like coating around the seed as they absorb water. This gel coating makes chia sprouts a bit slippery to handle, but it also gives them a slightly crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavor.
Cucumber Hummus Appetizer is a great recipe that uses chia sprouts.
The bottom line
The various types of sprouts offer a range of flavors and textures that can add interest to various dishes. Their versatility in culinary applications, from salads to sandwiches, provides a fresh and crunchy element.
It’s important to note that different sprouts have unique characteristics, making them suitable for different recipes. For example, alfalfa sprouts have a mild, nutty flavor–making them great for salads and sandwiches, while mung beans are a good choice for spirng rolls and wontons for their slightly sweet flavor.
More About Sprouts
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Mung Bean Sprouts
- Lentil Sprouts
- Radish Sprouts
- Broccoli Sprouts
- Sunflower Sprouts
- Pea Sprouts
- Mustard Sprouts
- Chickpea Sprouts
- Buckwheat Sprouts
- Fenugreek Sprouts
- Adzuki Bean Sprouts
- Clover Sprouts
- Onion Sprouts
- Soybean Sprouts
- Flax Sprouts
- Quinoa Sprouts
- Pumpkin Sprouts
- Barley Sprouts
- Chia Sprouts
- Find your favorite sprout from our Types of Sprouts list.
- Decide what dish you're going to make using the chosen variety.
- Share your journey to our Facebook page.