Are Bean Sprouts Microgreens? Defining The Differences

HomeGrowingAre Bean Sprouts Microgreens? Defining The Differences

Quick Answer:
Bean sprouts are not technically considered microgreens, as they are sprouted from beans, not grown from the seedling stage. However, they can have a similar flavor to microgreens and are a great addition to salads and other dishes. Bean sprouts are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and can be grown at home relatively easily.

Have you ever heard of bean sprouts and microgreens? If so, you may be wondering what the difference is between them. Bean sprouts and microgreens are both popular additions to many dishes, but they each have their own unique qualities. In this article, we’ll explore how these two ingredients differ to help you decide which one is right for your recipe.

Bean sprouts have been enjoyed in Asian cuisine for centuries – and more recently in Western culture. They’re usually grown from mung beans or soybeans, and contain a lot of fiber as well as minerals like iron and vitamin C. On the other hand, microgreens are tiny greens that can be harvested just seven to fourteen days after planting. These little plants deliver intense flavor along with a range of vitamins and minerals.

So what’s the difference between bean sprouts and microgreens? Read on to find out!

Definition Of Sprouts

Sprouts have been around for centuries, a valuable source of sustenance and nutrition. But what exactly is the definition of sprouts? A sprout is defined as a young plant grown from seed, often eaten raw in salads or cooked. Bean sprouts specifically are obtained by germinating beans like mung beans and soybeans. Microgreens refer to edible greens that are harvested much earlier than traditional vegetables, when they are still small enough to be considered seedlings. These microgreens can include any type of vegetable such as radish, cabbage, kale, arugula, basil, cilantro and more.
In essence then, bean sprouts and microgreens both fall under the umbrella term “sprouts”. The main difference between them lies in their size: bean sprouts tend to be longer whereas microgreens remain quite small. With this understanding in place, it’s time to explore the various varieties of bean sprouts available today.

Varieties Of Bean Sprouts

Sprouts are produced from a range of beans, including mung bean sprouts, adzuki bean sprouts, kidney bean sprouts, black bean sprouts and chickpea sprouts. Each type has different characteristics that make them distinctive in their own way.

Mung bean sprouts have small yellowish-green leaves and a crunchy texture. They’re often used in salads or as toppings for dishes like sushi rolls. Adzuki bean sprouts are slightly sweeter than mung beans and they have large white buds at the end of each stem. Kidney bean sprouts also have a sweet flavor but they’re more fibrous in texture compared to other types of bean sprouts. Black bean shoots are similar to kidney beans, although they’re darker in color. Finally, chickpea sprouts tend to be slightly nutty with a soft texture that makes them perfect for adding to soups or stews.

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Each variety of sprout offers its own unique taste and texture profile that can enhance any dish you choose to include it in. With so many varieties available, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs perfectly! As we move on to discuss microgreens, it is important to note the differences between these two forms of edible plants – both providing nutritional value and culinary appeal.

Characteristics Of Microgreens

Microgreens are young, edible plants that are harvested a few weeks after germination. They typically have more intense flavors than their mature counterparts and can be used as an ingredient in salads, sandwiches or other dishes. Microgreens come in many varieties, with some of the most popular being basil, arugula, kale, cilantro and radish. Each type has its own unique flavor profile and nutritional benefits.

Harvesting microgreens is quick and easy – simply snip off the stems when they reach about 2-4 inches high. When harvesting for recipes, it’s best to harvest them just before use so you get maximum nutrition from each plant. To maximize shelf life, store microgreens unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

There are countless delicious ways to incorporate microgreens into your diet! Try adding them to soups or sauces for extra flavor and nutrients; tossing them into salads or grain bowls; topping tacos with them; blending them into smoothies; making pesto out of them; turning them into spreads like hummus or guacamole; using them as garnishes on burgers or pizza…the possibilities are endless! Not only do these tasty greens add color and texture to meals but they also provide important vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, K, E & A plus iron, potassium and magnesium.

With all their wonderful health benefits, it’s no wonder why people love incorporating microgreens into their diets! With this knowledge of microgreen characteristics behind us let’s move on to compare bean sprouts with microgreens…

Comparison Between Bean Sprouts And Microgreens

Now that we have learned about the characteristics of microgreens, let’s take a look at how they compare to bean sprouts. Bean sprouts and microgreens are both edible seedlings that come from different types of beans; however, their nutritional benefits differ significantly. Here is a comparison between bean sprouts and microgreens:

  • Nutrition: Microgreens contain four to forty times more nutrition than the same weight in bean sprouts. This is because microgreens mature for longer and become nutrient dense plants.
  • Flavor: Microgreens tend to be more flavorful than bean sprouts due to their higher concentration of essential oils and antioxidants.
  • Appearance: Bean sprouts usually appear long, thin and light green in color while microgreens are short, thick and dark green in color.
  • Size: Bean sprouts can grow up to three inches tall while microgreens only reach two inches or less in height when harvested.
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When comparing the nutrition, flavor, appearance, and size between bean sprout and microgreen it is clear that there are distinct differences between them. With this knowledge we can now move onto examining the growing conditions for each type of plant.

Growing Conditions For Bean Sprouts And Microgreens

Growing conditions for bean sprouts and microgreens can vary, but there are generally some similarities. Bean sprouts need to be grown in a warm environment with plenty of moisture whereas microgreens require cooler temperatures and less water. To compare the two types of greens, we’ll look at their soil requirements, growth cycles, and watering needs.

Soil Requirements Growth Cycles Watering Needs
Bean Sprouts
Lightweight & Aerated
Organic Fertilizer Optional
Bean Sprouts
2-3 Weeks
Bean Sprouts
Frequent & Consistent
Nutrient Rich Soil
Organic Fertilizer Recommended
7-14 Days
Less Frequent

The most significant difference between bean sprouts and microgreens is the type of soil needed for optimal growth. For bean sprouts it’s important to use lightweight and aerated soils that provide good drainage. Adding organic fertilizer as an additive is optional. On the other hand, nutrient rich soil works best when growing microgreens; adding organic fertilizer is recommended but not necessary. The length of time each takes to grow also varies greatly – bean sprouts take around 2-3 weeks while microgreens only take 7-14 days before they’re ready to harvest. Finally, both types of greens have different watering needs – consistent and frequent irrigation for beansprouts versus less frequent for microgreens.

Overall, understanding how these two vegetables differ in terms of their required growing conditions can help you make informed decisions about which one is right for your garden or kitchen windowsill! From here we’ll move on to exploring the nutritional value of sprouts and microgreens.

Nutritional Value Of Sprouts And Microgreens

Moving on from growing conditions, let us take a look at the nutritional value of sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts are known to have higher levels of nutrition than their mature plant counterparts due to their brief period of growth. Microgreens also boast high levels of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. The nutrient content varies from crop to crop but usually consists of:

  • High calorie content
  • Many essential vitamins and minerals
  • Significant amounts of dietary fiber
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These nutrients make sprouts and microgreens incredibly beneficial for overall health. They provide many valuable antioxidants that can help fight off free radicals in the body. Additionally, these greens are very low in calories which is great for those looking to lose weight or manage it better. Sprouts and microgreens offer an abundance of other health benefits such as improved digestion, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, aiding in bone development, and much more. With all these wonderful benefits, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to include sprouts and microgreens in their diet!


In conclusion, bean sprouts and microgreens are two distinct types of nutritious produce that have their own characteristics. Bean sprouts are a type of germinated seed with a crunchy texture and mild flavor, while microgreens tend to be more nutrient-dense than sprouts due to their higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. Growing conditions for both bean sprouts and microgreens can vary depending on the variety chosen, though they will generally require sunlight, water, soil or other growing mediums.

Both bean sprouts and microgreens offer many health benefits as they contain high amounts of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As the saying goes “you get out what you put in” – this rings true when it comes to these two powerhouses of nutrition; if grown properly in quality soil with adequate light and water then one can reap the rewards from their efforts! I personally love adding them to salads or stir fries for an extra nutritional kick.

Overall, understanding the differences between bean sprouts and microgreens is key when looking to incorporate these superfoods into your diet. With careful selection of varieties suitable for your climate along with proper care during cultivation, you’ll soon be reaping all the nutritional benefits from these delicious additions to meals!

Kathy Turner
Kathy Turner
Kathy Turner is the founder of, a popular blog dedicated to helping people become master microgreen growers. Kathy is passionate about helping others learn how to grow the healthiest, most nutrient-rich microgreens. She believes that with the right knowledge and resources, anyone can become a successful microgreen grower. Learn more about Kathy by viewing her full Author Profile.

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