November 27, 2022

Sprouts vs. Microgreens: What’s the Difference?

Table
of
Contents

More
people
are
adding
microgreens
to
their
menus
for
good
reasons.
These
superfoods
are
flavorful
and
appealing.
Who
would
have
thought
that
even
high-end
restaurants
would
serve
these
inch-long
greens? 

Or
are
more
people
eating
sprouts
thinking
they’re
microgreens?

That
brings
us
to
the
sprouts
vs.
microgreens
debate.
It’s
possible
to
confuse
the
two
as
they
are
both
tiny,
colorful
plants.
They
come
from
grains,
herbs,
and
vegetables.
You
can
tell
them
apart
by
their
size,
how
they
grow,
the
edible
part,
harvest
time,
and
flavor. 

Let’s
get
started!


Main
Differences
Between
Sprouts
vs.
Microgreens

woman holding sprouts of sunflower beet and radish packed in paper

The
main
differences
between
sprouts
vs.
microgreens
are:

  • Sprouts
    grow
    in
    water,
    whereas
    microgreens
    grow
    in
    soil-based
    compost
    and
    sometimes
    through
    hydroponics.
  • Sprouts
    are
    ready
    to
    consume
    in
    three
    to
    five
    days,
    whereas
    microgreens
    mature
    in
    seven
    to
    25
    days.
    Some
    microgreens
    take
    up
    to
    25
    days.
  • Sprouts
    are
    germinated
    seeds
    with
    cotyledon,
    whereas
    microgreens
    have
    true
    leaves
    and
    a
    stem.
  • Sprouts
    are
    edible
    in
    their
    entirety,
    meaning
    both
    seeds
    and
    stems,
    whereas
    only
    the
    leaves
    and
    stems
    of
    microgreens
    are
    edible.
  • Sprouts
    offer
    crunch,
    antioxidants,
    and
    some
    fiber,
    whereas
    microgreens
    give
    higher
    nutritional
    value
    and
    flavor.
  • Sprouts
    come
    in
    limited
    varieties,
    whereas
    there
    are
    over
    100
    microgreens
    in
    the
    market.
  • Sprouts
    are
    excellent
    in
    stir
    fry
    and
    salads,
    whereas
    microgreens
    fit
    in
    almost
    every
    raw
    or
    cooked
    dish.

Microgreens
stand
out
for
this
high
nutritional
value
as
that’s
the
main
reason
we
want
them
on
our
plates.
However,
sprouts
also
have
fiber
and
other
nutrients,
but
most
importantly,
they
are
easy
to
grow.


Sprouts
vs.
Microgreens:
Introduction

Both
microgreens
and
sprouts
grow
out
of
a
seed,
and
you
can
pre-soak
them
before
planting.
What’s
more,
you
can
grow
both
of
them
indoors.
So,
how
do
you
tell
them
apart?

Sprouts,
as
the
word
suggests,
come
out
of
the
seed.
On
the
other
hand,
microgreens
are
longer
as
they
have
the
first
leaves
and
a
stem.

different types of microgreens

Microgreens
have
and
will
continue
to
be
favorites
for
people
looking
for
nutritious
greens
to
eat
raw
or
cooked.
They
don’t
replace
mature
greens.
Instead,
they
offer
a
source
of
more
nutritional
value
to
supplement
what
the
other
mature
greens
lack.
They
are
small,
they
have
a
short
shelf
life,
and
they
are
colorful.

Sprouts
aren’t
short
of
benefits
either,
as
they
are
cheaper
and
less
demanding
as
they
grow.

Read
on
to
know
how
sprouts
and
microgreens
differ
and
their
diverse
nutritional
value.


Features
Comparison


Growing
Medium

To
grow
sprouts,
you
only
need
water.
They
don’t
need
soil
or
light.
You
may
rinse
them
at
least
once
daily
so
that
they
don’t
mold,
but
that’s
it.

It’s
a
different
story
with
microgreens.
First,
you
need
soil-based
compost
to
provide
nutrients
to
the
growing
plants.
Second,
these
greens
need
up
to
12
hours
of
light
daily
because
it
converts
to
chemical
energy
for
growth
during
photosynthesis.
Misting
is
another
must-do
activity
as
the
microgreens
grow.

When
you
grow
microgreens
hydroponically,
you
have
to
supplement
their
source
of
nutrients.

green beans fresh sprouts

Sprouts
grow
in
a
moist
environment,
so
they
pose
a
greater
health
risk.
That’s
why
it’s
preferable
to
cook
them
to
kill
bacteria
and
minimize
the
health
risk. 

Plus,
every
part
of
sprouts
is
edible,
but
the
roots
of
microgreens
stay
in
the
growing
medium,
meaning
a
lower
risk
of
contamination. 

Sprouts
win
this
round
as
you
don’t
need
soil
to
plant
them
indoors.
You
also
don’t
need
to
find
a
ventilated,
well-lit
room
to
grow
them.


Edible
Part

Cotyledons
of
microgreens
make
excellent
garnishes,
but
you
can
also
wait
for
true
leaves.
The
roots
remain
in
the
soil
when
you
harvest
the
leaves
and
the
stem.
You
cut
the
stem
just
above
the
soil
with
a
pair
of
scissors,
then
wash
the
microgreens.

Sprouts
form
when
germinated
seeds
crack
open.
They
offer
a
different
culinary
experience
as
you
eat
everything,
from
the
roots
to
the
cotyledon
above
the
water.
After
harvesting
them,
you
have
to
wash
them
several
times
then
dry
them.

We
can
sum
it
up
and
say
that
sprouts
are
young
microgreens.
They
are
smaller,
and
they
have
no
true
leaves.
However,
you
eat
both
the
cotyledon
above
the
soil
and
the
roots.


Flavor

Microgreens
have
intense
flavors,
and
they
come
in
all
manner
of
colors,
from
green
to
purple
and
red.
For
instance,
chickpea
microgreens
have
a
nutty
taste,
beets
are
sweet,
and
lentils
are
bitter.
They
also
tease
your
palate
with
many
textures.

Sprouts
also
bring
a
variety
of
flavors
from
mild
to
sweet
and
spicy.
Garlic
sprouts
bring
a
garlic
flavor
to
the
salad.
If
you
add
some
lentil
sprouts,
you
get
a
peppery
flavor.
Pumpkin
and
onion
sprouts
taste
like
mature
plants. 

As
you’re
adding
all
of
these
sprouts
to
your
salad,
you’ll
also
bring
with
them
varied
colors
from
tan
to
yellow,
red,
and
green.
But,
sprouts
don’t
win
this
round
as
the
tantalizing
flavors
of
microgreens
are
unforgettable.


Time
to
Harvest

Microgreens
take
about
a
week
to
25
days
to
harvest.
If
you
leave
them
in
the
compost
longer
than
you
should,
they
get
more
texture
and
are
less
flavorful.
Basil,
beets,
celery,
and
carrot
microgreens
are
some
of
the
slowest
growers,
while
broccoli,
Brussels
sprouts,
cabbage,
and
cauliflower
take
up
to
14
days.

Sprouts
take
a
shorter
time
as
you
can
harvest
them
within
three
to
five
days.
At
that
time,
they’re
about
two
to
three
inches
long.

Hence,
growing
sprouts
is
fast
and
easy.


Nutritional
Value

Microgreens
have
numerous
vitamins,
minerals,
and
other
nutrients.
They
have
a
higher
antioxidant
content
than
mature
greens.
Plus,
you’ll
get
more
fiber
content
in
microgreens
than
in
sprouts.

For
example,
red
cabbage,
green
daikon
radish,
and
garnet
amaranth

contain

about
five
times
more
vitamins
than
their
mature
greens.
This
unique
nutritional
value
makes
microgreens
beneficial
to
heart
health,
blood
sugar
regulation,
and
skin
health.
Some
microgreens
like
broccoli
also
have
cancer-fighting
compounds.

Microgreens
have
more
carotenoids
and
chlorophylls
and
fewer
sugars.
You’ll
also
get
more
anti-diabetic
activity.

But
that
doesn’t
mean
there’s
nothing
to
gain
from
adding
sprouts
to
your
stir
fry,
as
they
are
anti-diabetic
and
they
regulate
blood
sugar.

Sprouts

have
more
antioxidants
like
polyphenols,
amino
acids,
and
pectins.

We
can
say
they
both
bring
nutritional
value,
and
they
sometimes
offer
more
of
one
nutrient
than
the
other.


Cooking
Ideas


Microgreens

make
an
excellent
garnish.
You
can
stuff
them
in
your
veggie
burger,
omelet,
avocado
toast,
or
tacos.
They
are
also
delicious
in
dips,
salads,
and
smoothies.
Plus,
you
can
cook
them
in
soups
and
meat
dishes.

You’ll
also
get
sprouts
in
salads
and
stir
fry
though
their
minimal
flavors
make
more
people
prefer
microgreens.


Varieties

There
are
over
100
varieties
of
microgreens,
from
broccoli
to
mung
beans,
chard,
beets,
and
kale.
Sprouts,
on
the
other
hand,
have
limited
types.
The
popular
ones
include
lentils,
alfalfa,
and
mung
beans.

If
you’re
looking
for
variety
to
grow
and
enjoy,
go
for
microgreens.


Price

Microgreens
cost
more
than
sprouts,
so
growing
them
at
home
is
the
way
out.
A
pound
of
microgreens
can
cost
up
to
$40.
Beets,
arugula,
and
broccoli
are
cheaper
at
between
$5
and
$10.
The
more
expensive
ones
include
amaranth,
basil,
and
sunflower.


Sprouts
vs.
Microgreens:
The
Winner

Microgreens
are
a
few
days
older
than
sprouts.
They
have
higher
nutritional
value
than
mature
plants
as
they
are
rich
in
antioxidants
and
minerals.
These
immature
greens
have
numerous
flavors,
textures,
and
tastes.
That’s
why
they
are
preferable
to
sprouts.

But,
sprouts
also
stand
out
if
you’re
looking
for
plants
that
are
easy
to
grow
at
home.
Microgreens
have
a
more
tedious
growth
and
harvest
process
as
you
have
to
get
a
medium
and
harvest
the
leaves
only
by
cutting
what’s
above
the
soil. 

With
sprouts,
you
take
everything
that
grows
and
turn
it
into
your
next
meal
without
removing
the
roots.
That’s
not
all.
Microgreens
will
have
you
waiting
for
up
to
two
weeks
to
harvest
them,
yet
sprouts
will
be
ready
in
days.


FAQs


Why
are
microgreens
healthier
than
sprouts?

They
contain
more

nutritional
value

because
they
are
at
a
stage
when
plants
need
nutrients
to
grow.
Sprouts,
however,
are
seeds
just
past
the
germination
stage
that
springs
them
up
from
dormancy.


What’s
the
difference
between
sprouting
seeds
and
microgreens?

As
we
mentioned
earlier,
there
are
differences
in
the
time
it
takes
to
harvest
them,
their
size,
the
nutritional
value,
and
the
price.
On
your
plate,
sprouts
have
the
entire
plant
from
the
root
to
the
tiny
cotyledon
from
which
leaves
form,
while
microgreens
don’t
have
roots.


Are
broccoli
sprouts
or
microgreens
better
for
you?

Broccoli
sprouts
are
rich
in
antioxidants.
They
also
have
a
slightly
spicy
flavor,
and
they
add
color
to
your
plate.
However,
broccoli
microgreens
have
more
sulforaphane
which
fights
cancer.
They
also
have
vitamins
like
A
&
D,
calcium,
iron,
and
magnesium.


What
are
the
healthiest
sprouts
to
eat?

The
healthiest
ones
include
broccoli
sprouts
for
their
antioxidants
and
spicy
flavor
and
clover
for
calcium
and
crunch.
Alfalfa
sprouts
have
a
mild
taste,
so
they
go
with
any
meal.
Their
crunch
is
unmatched.
If
you
want
to
add
color
and
nutritional
value,
go
for
beets. 

They
are
sweet
with
a
distinct
earthy
taste.
Others
are
soybean,
green
lentil,
mustard,
onion,
and
sunflower.

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