Microgreens certainly aren't news to you if you're a restaurant regular or farmers' market lover. And while I can say microgreens have graced my plate a time or two, I didn't start to incorporate them into my at-home meals until very recently. In fact, I didn't even realize I could buy them at the grocery store. I've been hearing all about the amazing health benefits of microgreens through the holistic nutrition program I'm in, so when I spotted the little beauties in the refrigerated section, I promptly popped them into my basket.
If you're newer to microgreens, like me, you're in for a treat! Not only do they have all the amazing health properties I've been having so much fun highlighting in my Inside Out Beauty Foods blog series, but they are also super flavorful, and so versatile. They are almost like having all the wonderful properties of greens and fresh herbs in one!
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are essentially a teenage version of a vegetable. As far as the growing cycle goes, they're somewhere between a sprout and a baby green. And because they are the sprouted seedlings of vegetables and herbs, they are packed with nutrients. While their flavor profiles and nutrient content are reflective of the plants they come from, they actually contain a higher concentration than their mature counterparts.
While there are as many types of micro greens as there are vegetables, some common ones you'll find at your local grocery store include:
The amazing properties of microgreens...
- They are rich in enzymes, making them more easily digestible and aiding your overall digestion process - a major skin health beauty-booster!
- They contain bioavailable polyphenols, micronutrients that have been shown to reduce degenerative diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease. Polyphenols are essentially a type of antioxidants; in other words, they combat and reduce the buildup of harmful free radicals and oxidative stress (source). Another wonderful property essential for youthful, balanced skin.
- Rich in chlorophyll, a powerful cleanser and detoxer for our livers and our bodies in general. Also great for skin smoothness and expelling impurities from the inside-out.
Is there a difference between sprouts and microgreens?
Yes. Sprouts are grown in water, whereas microgreens are grown in dirt. Because of this, sprouts are more commonly not recommended for people with compromised immune systems as the humidity needed to grow them makes them susceptible to bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Microgreens also undergo more photosynthesis than sprouts, making them richer in nutrients and chlorophyll.
If you want more information on the difference between sprouts and microgreens, check out this informative resource.
Can I grow my own?
Yes! Microgreens are expensive and go bad quickly. They are also simple to grow (not that I know from experience, but I would like to try!). Each of these factors make them a great candidate for at-home growing. Plus they are small (and adorable), so they are conducive to growing, even if you don't have much room!
I found this great resource for growing microgreens.
Tips for when you buy them packaged...
As I mentioned, microgreens can be expensive and, as I quickly realized, tend to go bad quickly. If you buy them at the store, make sure you start using them immediately, as they will be freshest within the first few days.
Microgreens can be added to most dishes as a finish. Definitely consume them raw for the best flavor and nutrient content. Unlike other harder-to-digest greens, since microgreens are rich in enzymes, they are easier for your body to process.
Microgreens make a great topper for the following; tacos, enchiladas (or any Mexican food really!), soups, roasted veggies, salads, any egg dish like an omelette, quiche or scramble, added to a sandwich.
I found that a hearty "bowl" was a fun way to use them. I skipped the lettuce, and just did microgreens instead. See below for my recipe. It turned out better than I expected :-) All of the components in my bowl are clean ingredients and specifically chosen for optimal nutrient content. Let's delve into a few...
Goat milk cheese is easier for our bodies to digest and has fewer inflammatory proteins (A1 casein) than cows milk. The vitamin A and lactic acid found in goat's milk are great for both brightening skin and reducing acne (source). While I typically keep my recipes dairy free, when I do use dairy, I love choosing goat or sheep's milk cheeses. Especially when they are locally-sourced and you know where they're coming from, they are minimally processed and they don't include the hormones that cow milks and cheeses do. Sheep that produce milk also graze in their natural habitat instead of being fed an unnatural diet of pesticide-laden GMO corn that's commonly fed to cows and makes them (and us!) sick.
Black rice is full of antioxidants, a great detoxer, and rich source of naturally gluten-free fiber. Black rice also slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood, which supports heart health and diabetes prevention.
Mushrooms are a phosphorus and sulphur-rich food, which supports healthy cell regeneration (read: cancer-preventer!). They also contain copper, protein, selenium and potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function).
Beets are a wonderful detox-food. They are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and the B vitamin folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
Carrots are great for not only eye health, but also boost skin radiance. Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene has also been shown to prevent aging (inside and out) and cancer.
Sesame seeds (tahini sauce) are effective in balancing hormones, and are a healthy fat that actually helps burn unwanted fat. They are rich in iron, and help boost absorption of all the nutrients you are eating.
All in all, this bowl packs a punch. It will leave you feeling satisfied, yet not overly full. And your body will be stoked about all the goodness you just fed it!
WITH CURRY TAHINI SAUCE
(makes two hearty servings, takes ~40 minutes)
INGREDIENTS FOR BOWL
- 1 cup black rice
- 2 medium sized beets (I used one red, one golden)
- 1 tsp. avocado oil
- 1 carrots
- 8 small cremini mushrooms
- 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (I use Laura Chenel Chèvre)
- 1 cup microgreens (I used the mixed microgreens package)
CURRY TAHINI SAUCE
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, raw and unsalted if possible)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 tsp. curry powder
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
- dash sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook black rice according to package directions, using water or broth of choice. You'll have some leftover.
3. To prepare beets: wash well, no need to peel. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss lightly in avocado oil. Spread in single layer in sheet pan. Put in oven and set timer for 18 minutes.
4. Meanwhile grate carrots, slice mushrooms, and crumble goat cheese. Set aside (you will be adding mushrooms to oven once the timer goes off.
5. TO MAKE CURRY TAHINI SAUCE: Combine all ingredients in high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
6. When oven timer goes off, add sliced mushrooms to sheet pan, stir to coat lightly in oil and turn beets so they brown evenly. Place back in oven for additional ten minutes, checking half way through and flipping mushrooms.
7. Divide ingredients between two large bowls. Drizzle generously with tahini sauce. Enjoy!!!
I would love to hear your favorite ways of using microgreens.
Today's food and recipe were designed to align with Beautycounter's No. 3 Balancing + Charcoal line. I have the facial mask and absolutely love it! Tomorrow we move on to HYDRATING beauty foods - I can't wait! :-)
Thank you for reading!