What’s the Difference between Sprouts and Microgreens?

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Quick Answer:
The main difference between sprouts and microgreens is that sprouts are harvested just after the seeds have germinated and before the leaves have developed, while microgreens are harvested after the first true leaves have grown. Sprouts are typically grown in a jar or sprouting tray, while microgreens are grown in soil or another growing medium. Microgreens have a higher nutrient density and a more complex flavor than sprouts.

Are you ever confused by the terms sprouts and microgreens? Don’t worry – you’re not alone! It seems like everyone is asking what’s the difference between them, so I’m here to help. In this article, let’s take a look at how they differ in terms of taste, nutrition and usage.

Sprouts have become increasingly popular over the last few years due to their freshness and convenience. They are basically germinated seeds that can be eaten raw or cooked. Microgreens on the other hand, are young vegetable greens grown from various types of seeds such as arugula, radish, kale and more.

So if you’ve been wondering which one is better for your health or which would bring more flavor to your meals – then keep reading! You’ll get all the answers you need to make an informed decision about which option works best for your needs.

Definition Of Sprouts

Sprouts are the germinated seeds of various vegetables, legumes and grains that have been harvested before they reach maturity. They can be likened to tiny green plants with a short life cycle; sprouting up in just a few days and quickly reaching fruition. Sprouting is an age-old process used to enhance the nutritional value of certain foods while also providing a more palatable taste. This process begins with soaking the chosen seed overnight until it becomes plump and ready for planting. After planting, the seed will begin to grow roots and shoots which emerge as edible sprouts after just a few days.

The definition of microgreens refers to young vegetable greens grown from small or baby plants that are harvested when their cotyledons (seed leaves) fully develop but before true leaves appear. Microgreens tend to contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than mature plants due to their concentrated nutrient content since they haven’t had time to draw on resources from outside sources yet. These punchy little flavorsome bites offer a unique culinary experience full of zest, flavor and nutrition! Moving on, let’s explore how these two differ…

Definition Of Microgreens

Microgreens are a type of vegetable that’s gaining in popularity due to their intense flavor and nutrition. They are much smaller than regular greens, usually only one or two inches tall when harvested. Despite the size difference, microgreens contain even more vitamins and minerals than mature plants do! This makes them an ideal choice for people looking for nutrient-packed foods.

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So what exactly is a microgreen? Microgreens refer to any edible young plant, such as herbs and vegetables, harvested at the cotyledon (first leaf) stage before they develop true leaves. They consist of tender stems with small leaves attached. There are many different types of microgreens available on the market today including arugula, beetroot, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, radish, sunflower seedlings and wheatgrass.

Due to their short growth cycle – about 7-14 days – microgreens can be grown year round indoors using hydroponic systems which require minimal space and water compared to traditional gardening methods. Additionally, they have a milder taste than mature greens making them suitable for salads, sandwiches or garnishes without overpowering dishes. With so many health benefits packed into these tiny little plants it’s no surprise why they’re becoming increasingly popular among home gardeners and chefs alike! Transitioning now into discussing varieties of sprouts…

Varieties Of Sprouts

Did you know that around 20-30% of the global sprouts production is from China? Sprouts are immature plants that are harvested shortly after germination and can be grown from a variety of seeds. Here’s what to know about the different varieties of sprouts:

  • Alfalfa Sprouts: These have a mild flavor and come in small, cylindrical shape with green leaves on top. They contain vitamins A, C, E, K, B6 as well as minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • Mung Bean Sprouts: These are among the most popular types of sprouts due to their crunchy texture and sweet taste. They are considered an excellent source of protein along with vitamin C and other nutrients like potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Radish Sprouts: These have a spicy kick when eaten raw but mellow out somewhat once cooked. Great sources of dietary fiber and antioxidants, they also provide many essential vitamins such as Vitamin B1 and Vitamin K.
  • Broccoli Sprouts: Rich in glucoraphanin which helps support healthy cholesterol levels, broccoli sprouts also contain high amounts of Vitamins A & C as well as sulfur compounds called sulforaphane which have powerful antioxidant properties.
  • Clover Sprouts: These tiny sprouted seeds offer several health benefits thanks to their abundance of plant compounds known for anti-inflammatory effects (isoflavones) and antimicrobial activity (alkaloids). In addition to being packed with phytonutrients, clover sprouts also boast plenty of Vitamin K for bone health and folate for heart function.
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Sprouting is a great way to increase nutrient value while providing delicious options for meals or snacks! There’s no denying that all these varieties pack quite a nutritional punch – so why not give them a try? Moving right along…microgreens tend to differ significantly from standard sprout varieties both in terms of nutrition content and appearance – let’s take a look at those next!

Varieties Of Microgreens

Microgreens are a popular and diverse type of vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. They are typically harvested when they reach between 1 to 3 inches in height, although some varieties can take longer. One main difference between sprouts and microgreens is their size; microgreens tend to be larger than sprouts. There are many different types of microgreens available including radish sprouts, basil sprouts, broccoli sprouts, kale sprouts, and sunflower sprouts.

The flavor profiles of these vegetables vary greatly depending on which variety you choose. Radish sprouts tend to have a spicy kick while the sweetness of basil makes it perfect for adding flavor to salads and dishes. Broccoli adds an earthy taste with its nutty aroma while kale provides a more bitter flavor profile. Sunflower sprouts add texture and crunch along with a mild nuttiness that pairs well with other flavors.

When selecting microgreens, it’s important to make sure there are no discolored areas or signs of wilting as this could indicate spoilage or disease-causing bacteria. It’s also helpful to know how long each type takes to grow before harvesting in order to ensure optimal freshness and quality. With the wide range of colors, textures and flavors offered by microgreens, they’re sure to add interest and nutrition to any dish! From here we move onto comparing nutritional value between both Sprout & Microgreen varieties…

Nutritional Value Comparison

The differences between sprouts and microgreens go beyond their appearance. Another key difference lies in the nutritional value comparison of each type. Sprouts are grown from seeds that have been soaked in water to stimulate germination, while microgreens are small seedlings of edible vegetables or herbs. As a result, the nutrition content of these two types differs significantly.

Sprouts contain more protein and carbohydrates than microgreens, but they also include fewer vitamins and minerals due to their shorter growing period. Microgreens on the other hand, benefit from an extended growth cycle which allows them to absorb more nutrients from soil and light during this time. Therefore, microgreens generally provide higher levels of vitamins A, C and K as well as important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron compared to sprouts.

Both sprouts and microgreens offer health benefits for those looking for a nutrient-packed addition to their diet; however, depending upon your dietary needs it is important to take into account the distinct nutritional values these foods offer before you choose one over another. With this knowledge in mind, let’s move onto discussing some cooking uses for both sprouts and microgreens.

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Cooking Uses For Both

Sprouts and microgreens have a variety of uses in the kitchen. Sprouts are often used as an ingredient in salads, stir fry recipes, juice recipes and smoothie recipes; they can provide crunchy texture to any dish. Microgreens are also versatile and can be added to salad recipes or used as a garnish for vegetable dishes.

When cooking with sprouts, it is important to remember that they should always be cooked thoroughly before consuming them. This will ensure that any bacteria on the sprouts has been killed off. However, microgreens do not need to be cooked before eating – you can simply add them fresh into your recipe.

Both sprouts and microgreens offer fantastic nutritional value so incorporating either one into your diet is sure to give you health benefits! Regardless of how you choose to eat them, both are incredibly flavorful ingredients that work well in many different dishes.


In conclusion, it is clear that there are some distinct differences between sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts are germinated seeds that have just begun to grow, while microgreens are young plants with two true leaves. There is a variety of different types of both available, each offering their own unique nutritional profile and cooking uses. While they may appear similar at first glance, the subtle differences between them should not be overlooked.

Sprouts offer a crunchy texture perfect for salads or as an addition to sandwiches, while microgreens provide a more delicate flavor ideal for garnishing dishes or adding color to meals. Nutritional wise, sprouts tend to contain higher amounts of proteins compared to microgreens which often have higher levels of vitamins and minerals. Both offer up plenty of health benefits when incorporated into your diet regularly!

So whether you’re looking for something crunchy or soft, protein rich or vitamin-packed; sprouts and microgreens can easily fit into your meal plan! We hope this article has helped shed light on the difference between these two types of produce so you can make informed decisions about what works best for you in terms of nutrition and taste preferences.

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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