Not all greens are created equal. In fact, the smallest of them all is by far the biggest nutritional powerhouse. Say hello to microgreens.
Very simply, microgreens are baby plants. They are young greens grown from the seeds of vegetables and herbs and harvested at 7-14 days old when they are only about two to three inches tall. These little guys are packed with flavor and nutrients. In fact, they are much more nutrient dense than their fully grown relatives.
According to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), almost all microgreens contain about five times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plants. While nutrient density varies widely depending on how the greens are grown, I think we can agree that microgreens pack a pretty good nutritional punch; especially considering that the adult plants are fairly nutrient dense in their own right.
Plus, they look really great on a salad.
Their flavor is more intense as well. The greens pictured above are pea microgreens. They taste like peas just picked fresh from the garden. Since I am sensitive to legumes, but I love the taste of raw peas right out of the pod, I ador these little guys. They taste just like garden-fresh peas! They’re also crunchy and a nice break from the same old greens.
One thing about microgreens, though. They have a short shelf life. Grow them yourself on a sunny windowsill or get them fresh picked from the farmer’s market to assure quality. You want them crunchy, not wilted. Here are some tips on how you can grow microgreens in your own kitchen from Hippocrates Health Institute.
The difference between sprouts and microgreens are that sprouts are harvested younger and don’t need sunlight or even soil. Sprouts are usually grown in winter and harvested around 48 hours post-germination as opposed to the one to two weeks required for microgreens. This alters the nutrient profile, taste, and texture.
Are you unfamiliar with microgreens? Never heard of them? I’ve got your back! Pick some up at your local health food store, farmer’s market, or grow your own. Then start experimenting.
Here are some simple ideas about how you can start using microgreens today:
- Top a salad. Add a crunchy, tasty, beautiful, nutrient-packed boost to your lunch. I love a handful of pea, daikon radish, red amaranth, or cabbage microgreens for a new twist on the same old green salad. Plus they’re pretty. Your boring green salad will be Instagram ready!
- Make a new salad. Check out this one from My California Roots Cabbage and Pea Sprout Salad with Oriental Dressing or this one from Vegetarian Times Microgreens with Strawberry-Lime Vinaigrette for a new, zesty, beautiful lunch idea.
- Use them to top (grain free) toast. I love avocado toast. Leveling it up with microgreens gives this classic a nutrient advantage. Here’s a great way to do it from the Malibu Kitchen Blog. By-the-way, next week’s Nourish Me Wellness recipe is keto-friendly (0 net carbs!) bread that you’re going to want to use with this.
- Top a sandwich. Any sandwich will love the addition of microgreens. They’re crunchy and tasty. I plan on having this one for lunch today Egg Salad Sandwiches with Fresh Herbs.
- Add them to breakfast. Making eggs and bacon for breakfast…again? Add some much needed nutrition to your go-to keto breakfast by placing a handful of microgreens on the side. Now your breakfast is Instagram ready!
For more information on these fantastic greens, check out the Microgreens Directory. I found a ton of great ideas on how to use these beauties by simply typing Microgreens into the search bar on Pinterest. Have fun!
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