These small seeds have some of the biggest benefits.
Here's your mission: next time you're at the grocery store, venture over to the lettuce and cabbage section and pick up a package of broccoli sprouts. While sprouts may not seem very exciting, they're some of the healthiest produce you could eat, especially ones that derive from broccoli seeds.
Not a huge fan a broccoli? No big deal. These nutrient-dense sprigs don't even taste like broccoli—instead, they have a refreshing, earthy flavor that complements countless cuisines.
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts, like many other sprout varieties, are baby plants that haven't quite matured yet. But just because they haven't grown to their fullest potential, doesn't mean they aren't incredibly nourishing. Broccoli sprouts are 3-to-5-day old broccoli plants that have a very mild flavor, but they contain more nutrients than most other vegetables.
While these little green veggies are packed with plenty of health benefits, there are also some safety concerns to be aware of. This is because sprouts are grown in humid, warm areas which promotes germs and bacteria. And since they're usually eaten raw, it can lead to foodborne illness such as Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria. But don't worry, you can still safely enjoy sprouts by sanitizing them before adding them to your favorite home-cooked meal.
Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts can help enhance any dish by adding crunch, freshness, and color, but more importantly, they're full of important nutrients. Registered dietitian Dan Gallagher, explains, "Broccoli sprouts are packed full of vitamins and minerals like fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, K and C." He also mentions that these sprouts are, in fact, more nutrient-dense than mature broccoli. We already know that vitamin C has immune-boosting properties, but one serving of these delicate seeds has a whopping 60 percent of the daily value needed.
Aside from being a produce powerhouse, broccoli sprouts also contain sulforaphane, which is a chemical that helps the body absorb and digest nutrients quickly and efficiently. "Sulforaphane is known to improve our overall health", says Gallagher. According to scientific studies, it can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
How Long Do Broccoli Sprouts Stay Good For?
Broccoli sprouts can stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator when stored in a ventilated container. If you're harvesting broccoli sprouts from your garden or picking them up from a farmer's market, they may last up to two weeks when stored properly. Once you notice your sprouts have a funky smell or slimy texture, it's time to toss them.
How to Cook With Broccoli Sprouts
Because broccoli sprouts have a subtle, earthy taste, they're perfect to add to any salad or sandwich for some extra crunchy texture. You can also sauté them with other veggies or cook them down in a sauce.
Broccoli Sprouts Recipes
The great thing about broccoli sprouts is that they're extremely versatile and can be added or substituted in countless recipes. Try incorporating them in any of the dishes below:
Vegetable Fried Rice
This comforting classic is full of flavor and hearty vegetables like carrots, snow peas, and sprouts. Not only is this dish tastier than takeout, but it's better for you too.
Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich
This simple sandwich is perfect any time of day. It's full of protein from the rotisserie chicken, and sprouts help add a nutritious crunch.
Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad
There's nothing better than a fresh, crunchy salad, and this Asian-infused shrimp recipe does not disappoint. Broccoli sprouts can help give this salad some extra texture, while also serving as a beautiful delicate garnish.
Spring Pasta Salad
Here's a pasta salad recipe that's so good, you'll want to make it all year round. It's quick, flavorful, and perfect for any dinner party or gathering.
Chicken, Rice, and Vegetable Soup
Break out the Dutch oven and make a big batch of this warm, comforting, veggie-packed soup. You can also store the leftovers in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.