An everyday ingredient in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, bean sprouts are basically sprouts that come from beans. Although sprouting can come from any beans, the most common ones we use in cooking are mung beans and soybeans. Mung bean sprouts are slightly slimmer and have a smaller tip than soybean sprouts.
Bean sprouts can be eaten raw or cooked. With a refreshing crunch, lightly sweet and juicy taste, they can be enjoyed in so many different ways. In Japanese cooking, we love tossing them in salads, topping them on ramen, stir-frying them with other vegetables or pan-searing them with eggs for okonomiyaki.
Health Benefits of Bean Sprouts
We love bean sprouts for many reasons, but do you know bean sprouts are also good for you? These delicious sprouts are small but mighty! With its significant levels of nutrients and vitamins, they have been known to help improving digestion, promoting healthy bones, improving the immune system, aiding weight loss, and preventing birth defects etc. Here are just some of the health benefits they offer:
Low in Calorie, high in nutrients and fiber – Bean sprouts are high in fiber and practically fat-free, which makes them a healthy yet filling addition to a meal. These tiny sprouts also have an extremely low level of fat, no cholesterol, and no saturated fat.They are also high in vitamin C and iron. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, bean sprouts are definitely a great source of extra iron to be added to the diet.
Great source of folate – Bean sprouts also offer an excellent source of B-vitamin complex like folate. Folate is known to help the body to produce amino acids, neural tube formation, and red blood cells. Folate is also critical for brain development, making it especially essential for babies and pregnant women.
Vitamin K and minerals for strong bones – Vitamin K and the additional minerals, such as manganese and zinc, found in bean sprouts are important sources for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
Cooking with Bean Sprouts
There is some concern with bacterial contamination when comes to consuming bean sprouts, but you can minimize the risk with proper storage and preparation. To enjoy them safely, you can cook the bean sprouts with a quick blanch to help kill the bacteria.
Where to Buy Bean Sprouts
Aside from Japanse and Asian grocery stores, you can find bean sprouts at major grocery stores such as Walmart, Whole Foods or even Target grocery section these days. Look for those that are and fresh looking and free of blemishes or rot.
Recipes using Bean Sprouts