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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking with Sprouts?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best tips for cooking with sprouts include frying or blanching them to reduce the risk of E. coli and salmonella poisoning. Outbreaks of food poisoning worldwide have been linked to eating raw sprouts contaminated with bacteria. Cooking with spouts reduces the risk of becoming sick because heat destroys bacteria in the seed and sprout.

When cooking with sprouts, the best choices generally come from beans and lentils. These sprouts are more hearty and hold up well in stir-fry recipes or when blanched. Mung beans, soybeans, and lentils can be added to meat and rice dishes at the end of the cooking process to keep them crisp.

Cooking with sprouts adds vitamin B and vitamin C, along with protein, to the diet. Popular Korean recipes use soybeans as a side dish, cooked with garlic, soy sauce, green onions, and spicy pepper flakes. Sesame seed oil typically provides the base for stir-frying these sprouts. Cooking with sprouts might also include steaming them with rice in Korean kitchens.

Garbanzo beans or mung beans might be substituted for soybeans in these recipes. They can be blanched in boiling water to kill bacteria before being added to other dishes. Blanching also removes trypsin, an enzyme that inhibits natural protein found in these sprouts.

Cooking with sprouts from grasses generally changes the texture of the food, making them unsuitable for some recipes. Onion, alfalfa, radish, and red clover sprouts are best eaten raw, but pose a risk of illness if they are contaminated. This also holds true for rye, barley, wheat, and sunflower sprouts. Cooking with sprouts from wheat might be accomplished by toasting them in the over to provide a nutty texture in place of nuts in baked foods.

Alfalfa sprouts are high in protein, folic acid, and a whole list of essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain amino acids necessary to support the human immune system, and are considered an antioxidant. Some people eat alfalfa sprouts to control cholesterol, fight the aging process, and control symptoms of arthritis. Drinking alfalfa tea might serve as a method of using sprouts to address E. coli risks.

Seeds contain all the nutrients necessary for a plant to grow. Once a seed sprouts, these nutrients pass into the sprout, which makes cooking with sprouts a viable way to add nutrition to the diet without adding extra calories. Sprouts can be sautéed and added to rice and vegetable dishes while preserving their crunchy texture.

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Discussion Comments
By pastanaga — On May 29, 2014

@croydon - They are pretty good for you as well. I don't know if they are as mystically good for you as some people claim, but they definitely add fiber and nutrients to your diet.

I don't even cook them a lot of the time. I just use them as a snack food with a little bit of vinaigrette for flavor.

By croydon — On May 28, 2014

@browncoat - My mother used to add them to her pepper steak recipe, because it was cooked in a slow cooker and they were the only thing that kept a little bit of crunch. They kind of take on the flavor of what's around them without becoming overwhelmed, which is nice.

I really should use them more. I just really use them when a recipe calls for it and I don't cook many things that do call for sprouts. They are generally pretty inexpensive though.

By browncoat — On May 28, 2014

I just keep a bag of sprouts in the fridge and add them to the meal whenever they seem to go with it. They have great texture, even though they don't taste very strong, so you kind of have to just get a feel for when they will be suitable.

You can add them at the last minute as well, which is handy, especially if you're making some kind of soup or something that just needs a little bit extra.

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