Sprouted Mung Beans
By now you know that I take great pleasure dabbling in all manner of edible DIY projects that improve nutrition, enhance flavor, save money, or are simply fun + intriguing.
To appeal to my inner crunchy-granola-ness: Homemade sprouted mung beans.
Unlike garden sprouting, sprouting in the kitchen requires no green thumb, and is addictively simple. And fascinating!
Mung beans, also known as moong beans, are popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisines, and are easily sourced in packages at most Indian, Asian, or Middle Eastern markets. You will likely have luck at organic/health food stores, and may find them packaged or even in bulk bins at larger, well-stocked supermarkets. If you cannot find mung beans near you, they’re only an Internet search away.
Like with most other legumes the price of mung beans is very low — some of the cheapest protein sources around. Our local Asian market sells a 14-oz bag for $1.49. That’s roughly $1.70 per pound, or $0.11 per ounce!
What’s in it for me?
In the company of black beans + kidney beans, chana dal + black or red lentils, mung beans are pulses — the edible, highly nutritious seeds of plants in the legume family. Beans in general are good sources of polyphenols called lignans, and can act as phytoestrogens to, among other things, enhance lactation for breastfeeding mums. (Read more about the nutrition of beans.)
For just over 30 calories and virtually zero fat, cholesterol or sodium, a 1-cup serving of raw sprouted mung beans provides roughly 3 grams of protein. They contain only about 6 grams total carbohydrate per serving, with 2 grams of those coming from fiber — mostly in the form of insoluble fiber + resistant starch, resulting in a low glycemic value Also packed with the B-vitamin folate and vitamins C + K, raw sprouted mung beans offer roughly 16%, 23% and 43% of your daily recommendations, respectively.
You may recall from my recent Nutrient Spotlight on Iron post that phytate, or phytic acid, is a compound common in whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, like mung beans, that may decrease absorption of iron. Fortunately, toasting, fermenting, soaking and sprouting these ingredients helps reduce these effects of phytates.
These techniques also help break down complex sugars called oligoscaccharides that trigger gas + bloating, increase overall availability, digestibility + absorption of nutrients in the soaked legume/grain, and studies suggest that they may give a small boost to the total capacity of antioxidant phytochemicals.
Add the crunch of these white-tailed green beans to salads or sandwiches, on top of soups or toast, or as a garnish to pizza or the messiest-ever socca flatbread. They’re delicious, healthy, and perfectly snackable on their own as well. Happy sprouting!
Tell me… Have you ever tried mung bean (or lentil) sprouts? Have you made your own?
- 1 cup (200 g) whole mung (moong) beans, picked through to discard any dirty or broken beans
- Rinse the dry mung beans under cool water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl or jar and add enough cool water to cover by 1 1/2 inches -- they will roughly double in size. Set aside on the counter at room temperature to soak for 8 to 12 hours, or up to overnight. (It is not necessary to cover them, but if you wish to do so, use a piece of cheesecloth or a clean thin tea towel loosely draped over; do not seal airtight.)
- Drain and rinse the beans well. Transfer to another large, clean jar with plenty of space to provide ample room for growth. Cover with a piece of cheesecloth or kitchen-safe rubber mesh (see HGN Notes), and secure with a rubber band or piece of string tied around, allowing air in so the sprouts can "breathe." Invert the jar and prop up against something so it is at an angle, set on a small plate or dish. Keep in a cool, dark, draft-free place on the counter.
- Every 6 to 12 hours for the next 1 to 2 days -- at least 2x daily, the beans must be drained and rinsed a couple times to prevent spoilage and growth of bacteria (see HGN Notes). You can do this one of two ways: Fill their sprouting container with cool water, shake, and pour the water out through your hand placed over top to prevent the beans from escaping; OR Pour the beans into a large fine-mesh sieve/colander, and rinsing with cool water a few times before transferring back into the sprouting container.
- You will begin to see the sprouts after day 1, more visible on day 2. You can sprout up to 5 days, but our kitchen runs warm, so I err on the side of caution (to prevent bacteria growth) and usually halt the process at day 3, at which point the mung beans have sprouted tails nearly 1-inch long. When the sprouts are to your liking, eat immediately raw added to salads, atop soups, in sandwiches, etc. Mung bean sprouts will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days in a clean container.
Save the $15 to $20 you'd spend on store-bought sprouting jars and DIY! They look simple enough (now on my to-do list), and probably cost no more than $5 to make a few. A couple options for the breathable covering:
+ clean window screen -- https://buff.ly/2f6SVMq
+ plastic needlepoint canvas -- https://buff.ly/2j6APyt
Note: Raw sprouts (including mung bean, alfalfa, clover, radish and lentil) are not recommended for children under 5 years of age, the elderly, pregnant women, or individuals with weakened immune systems, due to the slight risk of food poisoning.
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