Difference Between Microgreens and Sprouts: A Quick Comparison

HomeBenefitsDifference Between Microgreens and Sprouts: A Quick Comparison

Quick Answer:
Microgreens and sprouts are both young plants that are harvested early in their growth stage, but they are not the same. While sprouts are germinated seeds grown in water, microgreens are grown in soil or a growing medium, and only the stem and leaves are consumed. Microgreens have a longer growth cycle than sprouts and are typically harvested after they have developed their first true leaves. Microgreens are more nutrient-dense than sprouts and have a more complex flavor profile.

Have you ever been to the grocery store and noticed microgreens and sprouts sitting side by side in the produce section? Do you know what the difference is between them, or are they just two terms for different types of vegetables? It can be confusing when trying to decide which one to buy. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between microgreens and sprouts so that you can make an informed decision on what’s best for your meal.

From their appearance to how they’re grown, there are a few key points that differentiate these two vegetables from each other. Microgreens are harvested earlier than sprouts, once the first set of leaves have developed. They also contain higher levels of nutrients like vitamins C and E as well as beta-carotene compared to their sprout counterparts. Additionally, microgreens tend to have more intense flavors due to having longer exposure to sunlight during growth.

On the other hand, sprouts develop faster since they don’t need light for photosynthesis. Sprouts require less time before harvesting too – usually within 7-10 days after planting while it takes up 2-3 weeks for most kinds of microgreens. While both types offer nutritional benefits, understanding these distinctions will help you determine which type is right for your needs. Let’s take a deeper look into why microgreens and sprouts differ from each other!

Overview Of Microgreens And Sprouts

As the old adage goes, “big things come in small packages.” This is certainly true when it comes to microgreens and sprouts. Both are incredibly nutrient-dense foods that can be grown quickly and easily with minimal space or equipment required. They offer a unique flavor profile and visual appeal, making them ideal for adding variety to meals. In this overview of microgreens and sprouts, we’ll compare their characteristics, types, and growing requirements.

Microgreens refer to young plants harvested shortly after germination – usually within 2-3 weeks after planting. They have tender leaves, thin stems, and edible cotyledons (seed leaves). Sprouts are also harvested at an early stage but differ from microgreens in that they do not have visible leaves yet; instead they consist of just the seed itself or its root system. While both offer similar nutritional benefits due to their high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, they can vary greatly in taste depending on the type of seeds used.

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When comparing types of microgreens vs sprouts, there is no one single answer as each has numerous varieties available for purchase or home cultivation. Microgreen options include cabbage, kale, radish, arugula/rocket as well as herbs like basil and coriander/cilantro while popular sprout choices range from alfalfa and mung beans to broccoli and lentils. Each offers its own distinct flavors which make them great additions to salads or sandwiches without overpowering other ingredients’ tastes. With so many possibilities out there for experimenting with different combinations of microgreens and sprouts you’re sure to find something that suits your palate! Now let’s take a look at what it takes to grow these tiny powerhouses…

Growing Requirements

Moving on from the overview of microgreens and sprouts, it’s now time to look at the growing requirements for each. Microgreens require a light source such as sunlight or grow lights in order to thrive. While soil type is not necessary, if used it should be nutrient-rich and well-draining. Temperature wise, they prefer warm temperatures between 60 – 75 °F (16 – 24 °C). Germination time can take anywhere from 4 – 10 days depending on their variety. Watering with either rainwater or filtered water is best since tap water could contain too many minerals that can hinder growth.

Sprouts also need sunlight or some kind of light source but unlike microgreens do not need soil, rather just an absorbent medium like paper towels will suffice. They prefer cooler temperatures between 45 – 55° F (7 – 13 °C) and germinate quickly within 2 – 5 days regardless of their variety. As for watering, again either rainwater or filtered water works best due to its purity compared to tap water which may have too much chlorine that would harm the sprouts’ root system.

With these distinct differences between microgreens and sprouts outlined regarding the needed growing conditions, let us now delve into what nutritional content they both offer…

Nutritional Content

Surprisingly, microgreens and sprouts contain similar levels of calories. Both tend to have an average of 20-30 calories per serving. This can vary depending on the vegetables or herbs used in either case. When it comes to vitamin content, microgreens are generally richer than sprouts with some vitamins reaching up to six times higher concentrations. Minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron also appear at greater levels within the former. Protein content is relatively low for both, but fat content tends to be higher in microgreens compared to sprouts.

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In terms of nutrition, microgreens offer a slightly more satisfying choice over traditional sprouts. The next section will discuss how this difference in nutritional value affects flavor profile between these two food sources.

Flavor Profile

When it comes to flavor profiles, microgreens and sprouts have some distinct differences. Microgreens tend to have more unique flavors than sprouts, with a range of taste characteristics. The most flavorful varieties of microgreens include spicy radish, mustard greens, sunflower shoots and cilantro. On the other hand, sprouts are known for having milder tastes that can vary depending on the type of plant used. Common sprout flavors include alfalfa, clover or wheatgrass.

The intensity of each type’s flavor profile also differs greatly; microgreens usually provide a much stronger taste experience than sprouts do. This is because they take longer to grow and develop their full-bodied flavor compared to sprouts which require little time in comparison. Therefore, those looking for bolder tasting ingredients should opt for microgreens while those seeking subtler tastes might prefer using sprouts instead.

In terms of providing interesting and flavorful options for recipes, both microgreens and sprouts offer chefs plenty of choices when creating dishes. Depending on what type of meal you’re making, one may be better suited than the other due to its specific taste profile – so make sure to consider all options before deciding! Moving forward into usability in recipes…

Usability In Recipes

Usability in recipes is like a rainbow of options; microgreens and sprouts provide colorful benefits to any meal. When it comes to cooking, both are incredibly versatile ingredients when creating something new or putting an innovative spin on traditional dishes. Menu planning and kitchen tips can be spiced up with the addition of these two fresh flavors for unique recipe ideas that will tantalize taste buds.

Microgreens have a milder flavor than their mature counterparts, and they add texture as well as flavor to many dishes. They can be used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, tacos, pasta dishes, soups, stews and more! Sprouts also add great texture but tend to have a stronger flavor profile due to the presence of natural enzymes. These tiny greens make excellent toppings for burgers and pizzas or additions to stir-fries, omelettes and other cooked dishes.

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No matter what type of cuisine you’re creating in your kitchen, there’s no doubt that microgreens and sprouts offer plenty of possibilities for adding nutrition as well as flavor. As we move into the section about health benefits next, let us consider how much benefit these simple superfoods can bring beyond just pleasing our palette.

Health Benefits

Moving on from the usability of microgreens and sprouts in recipes, let’s examine their health benefits. Microgreens are known for having higher levels of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than mature plants. The nutrient content depends on how much light they received during growth as well as the variety that is grown. Compared to sprouts, which are germinated seeds, microgreens have more nutrients due to their longer growing period.

In addition to higher vitamin and mineral content, some studies suggest that microgreens contain up to 40 times more antioxidant content than mature greens! This means eating them regularly can provide your body with powerful protection against oxidative damage caused by environmental toxins. Sprouts also have a high amount of antioxidants but not nearly as much compared to microgreens.

Microgreens and sprouts both offer impressive health benefits such as providing the body with vital nutrition, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and promoting healthy skin and hair growth. Eating either one regularly can help support overall wellbeing while giving you an extra dose of antioxidant power!


In conclusion, microgreens and sprouts are both small yet mighty superfoods that can add a nutritional punch to any meal. They have different growing requirements and flavor profiles, but ultimately they provide us with a wealth of health benefits.

Microgreens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals while sprouts contain more proteins and amino acids. Both can be used in recipes for added texture, color, nutrition—the possibilities are endless! Sprinkle them on salads, sandwiches or soup; use them as garnishes; blend into smoothies; the list goes on and on.

The bottom line is that these tiny greens pack quite the proverbial punch when it comes to improving our overall health. Whether you choose microgreens or sprouts, you won’t regret adding either one to your diet—they’re like two peas in a pod!

Kathy Turner
Kathy Turnerhttps://mastermicrogreens.com/
Kathy Turner is the founder of MasterMicrogreens.com, 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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