Sprout into the Spring with this Mung Bean Salad
by Sophie Slater
As soon as the first suggestions of spring arrive, I crave more colorful, crisp, and lightly cooked food. I look forward to putting the roasting pans, soup pots, and cast iron skillets that have served me so well throughout the cold winter on the back burner in order to make more room for strainers, steamers, salad bowls, and my vegetable mandolin. Though we’ll all need to wait a little longer for Spring’s first edible gifts – ramps, watercress, fiddleheads, sugar snaps, snow peas, and asparagus to name a few – I’m happy to make do with what I can in the meantime. Today, we wanted to share a simple sprouted mung bean salad I created that does just that. It’s very easy and is also a great way to use up any root vegetables that have been lying around in your fridge, such as beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
I first fell in love with mung beans in India, which is where these green legumes originate1. Today, mung beans are widely used throughout Asia and the rest of the world in both sweet and savory dishes. They are a good source of vitamins C, D, E, and K, as well as folic acid, iron, potassium, and zinc. They can be consumed cooked or sprouted, like in the recipe we’re sharing with you today. While you should be able to find sprouted mung beans at your local health food store, it’s very easy and more cost-effective to sprout your own at home. All it requires is a bit of time.
Consider the recipe below as a loose guideline and feel free to take a lot of creative liberty! Add whatever complimentary fresh vegetables you have on hand. For a nice sweet and savory kick, you can throw in some mango, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno in place of the root vegetables.
Here’s the 101 on how to make a Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
- 1 cup Mung Beans
- 1 Tomato
- 1 thinly cut or julienned Carrot
- 1 Avocado
- 1 roasted Sweet Potato (I like to roast a few at 375º-400ºF for about 45-55 minutes. They’re great to have on hand for quick lunches or snacks.)
- 1 roasted Golden or Red Beet (feel free to roast with the sweet potatoes, it’ll take about 10-15 minute longer to roast that the sweet potatoes)
- ¼ cup of Shredded Coconut
- 1 tablespoon or so of fresh Cilantro or Parsley
- A generous squeeze of Lemon Juice
- Drizzle of Good Quality Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
What to do:
1. Unless you purchased pre-sprouted mung beans, you’ll need 2 1/2-3 days to sprout your own. Fear not, the process is really easy:
- In a colander or strainer, rinse the dry mung beans thoroughly.
- Next, put them in a shallow baking dish or bowl and cover with 1 inch of water. Let them sit in a warm place for 8-12 hours. Drain and thoroughly rinse. Remove any hard, dark beans.
- Unless you have a seed sprouter, transfer the sprouts-to-be into a bowl or jar with a couple inches of water at the bottom. Cover with cheesecloth or foil with some holes punched into the top and let sit for another 8-12 hours. Drain, rinse, and repeat this step once more or until the seeds are sprouted to the desired amount.
- When the sprouts are ready, rinse them well and either use immediately or store them in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Here are a couple good online resources that break down the sprouting process in greater detail: Padhu’s Kitchen & A Couple Cooks
2. Once your mung sprouts are ready, the rest will only take a few minutes. Rinse and cut up the vegetable. Place them in a larger bowl with the sprouts, coconut, and herbs. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and toss together.
1 The word mung comes from the Tamil word mūngu. Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world and remains the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, as well as the Union Territory of India islands of Andaman and Nicobar.