Bean sprouts are a great way to add flavor, texture, and nutrients to your dishes. They can be used in salads, stir-fries, or even sandwiches!
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to use bean sprouts, but all of the grocery stores were closed?
Have no fear. We’ll talk about the most popular substitutes for bean sprouts today.
What Are Bean Sprouts?
Bean sprouts are one of the most popular vegetables in Asian cooking. They are made from the germination of legume seeds, most commonly mung beans.
There are many ways to enjoy bean sprouts in your cooking; they can be added to soups, salads, stir-fries, or sandwiches for a quick and healthy meal.
Bean sprouts are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal. They are easy to make at home and only require a few simple ingredients.
The following is a simple recipe for making your own bean sprouts at home.
How to Make Bean Sprout
Follow this step-by-step guide to make bean sprouts at home!
- ½ cup dry beans (any kind)
- 2-quart jar or container
- Cheesecloth or mesh strainer
1. Rinse the beans and remove any debris or stones.
2. Place the beans in the jar or container.
3. Cover with water, leaving about two inches at the top of the jar to allow for expansion.
4. Soak overnight, or for at least 10 hours.
5. Drain the water and rinse the beans twice daily (twice is sufficient, but you need to rinse them at least once a day).
6. Cover with cheesecloth and set the jar in a warm, dark place such as a cabinet.
7. Rinse the beans with water once per day, twice if you tend to be forgetful.
8. In about three days, you should see little white sprouts. The sprouts are ready to eat when they're about 1/4 inch long, but they'll keep growing until the beans are used up.
- If you're using a container other than a jar, make sure that it has a drainage hole so the water can escape.
- If you want to grow more than just a few beans, you'll need at least 2 quarts of dry beans.
- You can also grow bean sprouts using a special sprouter, or by placing the beans in a muslin bag and suspending them in a jar of water.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 436mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 6g
11 Best Bean Sprout Substitutes for You
Depending on the meal you would like to prepare or the taste you would like your bean substitute to give your meal, here are 11 alternatives for your next recipe.
Most of the options can also be good substitutes for alfalfa sprouts.
1. Homemade Bean Sprouts
If you don’t need the bean sprouts urgently, why not make your own at home? We’ve introduced an easy recipe above. Just follow the step-by-step guide, you’ll enjoy it!
2. Soybean Sprout
This is our first recommendation for a bean sprout substitute. Soybean has a stronger bean “aroma”, so if you want a strong bean taste in your meal, this should be your choice.
However, soybean is a bit tougher and chewier than bean sprout, this means you might want to spend a little more time cooking it, to achieve the tenderness you desire.
We recommend new, young soybean sprouts with tails just emerging from the bean, as they have a fresh and juicy taste, but the older sprouts have a bitter taste and it makes them a bad option for stir fry dishes.
3. Alfalfa Sprouts
These are sprouts from Alfafa seeds, they have a nutty, sweet, delicate but fresh and crunchy texture. The only downside with Alfafa sprouts is that they are disease-prone, so you must cook properly and discard them when they look slimy or wilted.
4. Sunflower Sprouts
Sunflower sprouts can also be a great bean sprouts substitute. In case you are wondering what they taste like, they taste just like sunflower seeds.
A major difference between sunflower sprouts and bean sprouts is their color and size. Sunflower sprouts have a crispy sharp flavor and they are quite small so you don’t have to bother about slicing them.
Sunflowers make a perfect last resort alternative and on the plus side, you can add them to your sandwiches and smoothies.
If you are out of options for the above substitutes and you don’t mind a bit of sharp crunch to the taste of your meal then you can use Sunflower sprouts.
This is an edible mushroom grown in Japan. Enoki is also a good bean sprouts alternative, as it has a similar size and color, its cap looks like a bean sprout and stems look like tails of a bean sprout. Enoki can be found in supermarkets or grocery stores with other mushroom species.
With Enoki, heat is not a good option, unlike the other substitutes but this makes them a perfect ingredient for raw salads and sandwiches, giving them a crispy taste.
They also add a mild flavor and peppery finish to your dish, so if you like your meal to have a mild, yet spicy feel, then Enoki is your best substitute replacement.
6. Snow Peas
These are edible, small seeds with pods and they are a great replacement for bean sprouts, as they have the same texture as bean sprouts only a more sweet, herbal flavor or taste.
Snow beans will be your best choice if you desire a more robust bean. Snow beans have a crunchier, thicker texture in comparison with bean sprouts, so they might take longer to cook.
They are great for soups, stews prepared at medium heat, and can have a nutty flavor when prepared with hot water. You can slice snow beans into thin strips or just boil the entire pod, it still gives the same great sweet herbal sensation in your meal.
7. Mung Beans
Mung Beans (also known as the green gram or munggo) is a legume that originates from parts of the Asian continent.
For sweet and savory recipes or dishes, Mung Beans is a great ingredient. And a popular substitute for bean sprout as it often has a fresh, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor.
When cooked, mung beans make a perfect combination with vegetables in soups and grains. It can also be blended with rice and oatmeal and used as a spread for bread or rice.
Unlike other substitutes that might require you to cook for a longer time, mung beans have a swift and delectable cooking time in salads, wraps, dips, and soups.
You might wonder “why Cabbage is on this list?”, “After all it is a leafy-vegetable and not a legume”. Well, this quality makes cabbage a perfect replacement for bean sprouts.
Cabbage is one of the bland, plain vegetables we have and this makes it great to mix with any food and still retain flavor.
If you would like your dish to retain a particular flavor, but still have a chewy texture, your best option to instead of bean sprout would be cabbage. It’s cool, fruity, chewy and the plain flavor does not affect the taste of your dish. Simply put, it mixes well with anything!
9. Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots are popular and classic ingredients in Asian dishes, although they can be found as canned food in other regions. They belong to the grass family, they are stout, tender, and are harvested as young and small parts of the bamboo.
Bamboo shoots are a good bean sprout substitute because they have a similar crunch and appealing appearance. They have a mild taste and can blend with any food flavor.
To achieve a delectable stir fry meal, simply slice the bamboo shoots thinly, the way you like them to appear. Bamboo shoots can be prepared boiled, soaked, cooked, or pickled and enjoyed in salads, curries, and soups.
10. Bok Choy
This is White Chinese cabbage, it is a good substitute for bean sprouts in pad thai. Bok choy is a fast-maturing vegetable with the same cooking time as bean sprouts, therefore they can confidently pass for a good replacement.
The leaves and branches of Bok choy can be steamed, boiled, or cooked into a stir fry dish. Although, they do not look the same the texture of both plants is similar.
Bok choy is a great ingredient for soups, salads, and can be used as filings for potstickers, dumplings, spring rolls, and steamed buns. It has a mild flavor that is great for any dish.
You may like: 14 Best Bok Choy Substitutes
11. Canned Bean
Fresh bean sprouts are always the first choice. But in a scenario where fresh bean sprouts are unavailable or still growing. The next substitute would be canned beans.
Canned bean is easy to obtain, so you can always buy them at grocery stores or supermarkets.
They are used for any dish like bean sprouts, they can be used as soups, stir fry, dips, salads, combined with rice and in filings. Canned beans are a great substitute, you must rinse the canned beans sprout quickly before you prepare your meal.
Recipes with Bean Sprouts
Bean Sprouts Stir Fry
Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish
Korean Bean Sprout Soup
FAQs About Bean Sprouts
How long does it take for a bean to sprout?
A bean can take anywhere from 1-5 days to sprout, depending on the temperature and the variety of beans.
For example, lima beans need warmer temperatures than soybeans to germinate. The length of time it takes for a bean to sprout varies depending on these factors.
What temperature do bean sprouts sprout?
The ideal temperature range for best quality sprouts is between 70°-80°F. Although the hotter the temp, the quicker growth, this will result in producing more elongated sprouts.
Soybean sprouts vs mung bean sprouts, any difference?
The main difference between soybean sprouts and mung bean sprouts is their taste. Soybean sprouts have a nuttier, earthier flavor while mung bean sprouts have a slightly sweet flavor.
Another difference is their nutritional value. Soybean sprouts are a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Mung bean sprouts are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as folate.
Now that you’ve known the top 11 bean sprouts. It’s time to get creative with your meals and have some fun in the kitchen. Try one of these nutritious, delicious substitutes for a change. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy them!