If you’re considering growing your own food or creating a “tiny plant garden” there’s not much that’s more uplifting, rewarding, easier, faster, or nutritious than growing sprouts and microgreens. 

Sprouts provide health benefits and a freshness that can be enjoyed year-round with a minimum investment in equipment. They’ve been an integral part of the diet in several civilizations for over 5,000 years and are known for their healing and nutritive properties. In the sailing world, sprouts made their debut with Captain Cook who, for over a decade, never lost a single man to the dreaded scurvy. His secret? A daily ration of limes, lemons, and low heat malt made from sprouted beans.

The seed is the sprouts anchor. Each seed contains vitamins, fats, proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates that lie waiting for a suitable environment to begin germination. Air, water, and the appropriate temperature allow sprouting to commence and with it a super charged flow of energy. Natural chemical changes occur that result in the activation of enzymes, proteins, starches, minerals, vitamins, and chlorophyll. After 2 to 5 days the seed pod consumes all the nutrients and to flourish sprouts with new leaves require sunlight. 

When purchasing seeds look for “sprouting” seeds. Some dry bean seeds, like lentils are intended to be cooked so they don’t have a verified germination rate. Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains can be sprouted. Popular choices include adzuki beans, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, chickpeas, kamut, lentils, millet, mung beans, oat groats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, radish seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, wheat berries, and wild rice. 

There are several different ways you can sprout: 


Variety: alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, cabbage sprouts, clover sprouts, radish sprouts.

Equipment: mason jar and mesh lid 

Directions: Add 1-2 tablespoons of seeds to mason jar. Soak seeds overnight, drain, then rinse twice a day. Invert the jar and lay it at an angle so that air can circulate, and excess water can drain. Place the jar in sunlight to develop green leaves.


Variety: alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, cabbage sprouts, clover sprouts, radish sprouts.

Equipment: container and paper towel

Directions: Soak 1-2 tablespoons seeds overnight. Drain then rinse seeds twice a day until tails appear. Wet a paper towel and place in the base of a container. Arrange a layer on top of the paper towel. Keep paper towel moist and grow to your desired length. Place in sunlight to develop green leaves.


Variety: mung beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa and buckwheat

Equipment: container, sieve, and towel

Directions: Soak sprouts of choice overnight. Rinse twice per day, leave in the sieve over a bow. Keep covered with a towel.


Variety: pea sprouts, hulled buckwheat sunflower sprouts, wheat grass

Equipment: casserole dish, brown paper and organic soil

Directions: line dish with brown paper, add 1-inch organic soil, sprinkle with seeds then soak with water, spritz seeds with water every day to keep moist. Place in sunlight to develop green leaves. Harvest with scissors.


This refreshing side dish salad should be served immediately.

4 cups 1-inch long fresh mung bean sprouts 1-inch long

1 teaspoon fine se salt – to add to the water

6 cups of water 

1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 

1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Bring the water to a boil and add salt. Add mung sprouts and blanche 1 minute. Drain water and run cold water over sprouts 1 minute. Squeeze the mung bean sprouts with your hands to remove excess water. In a large bowl combine sprouts with remaining ingredients. Serves 4.


A bright salad that pairs well with the following Peanut Lime Dressing.

3/4 lb. flank steak – sliced

½ head green leaf lettuce – shredded

¼ cup cabbage finely shredded

2 cups micro-greens/sprouts

5 leaves mint fresh – chopped

4 leaves Thai bail – chopped

1 carrot – shredded

1/4 cup sliced red onion 

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

¼ cup sesame seeds

salt and pepper

Season steak with salt and pepper, preheat the grill to high, about 500 F. Cook meat 4 minutes for nice grill marks. Give it a 1/4 turn and grill for another 4 minutes. Flip it over and repeat. Meat should be cooked to medium well. Place meat on a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Combine next 7 salad ingredients, top with beef then garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce 

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 lime juice fresh squeezed

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1/4 teaspoon palm sugar

1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste

2 tablespoon peanuts – finely chopped

salt and pepper

In a small bowl add oil, fish sauce, vinegar and lime juice; whisk to combine. Add remaining ingredients. 


8 slices whole grain bread

1 cup sundried tomato hummus

1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

½ cup diced red onion

1 avocado, sliced

1 cup baby spinach 

1 cup micro-greens/sprouts

Create sandwiches staring with a spread of hummus before adding the remaining ingredients.


These patties, accompanied with chutney, are delicious in a pita pocket or served with a tossed salad. 

1 1/3 cups mung beans – just sprouted

3 potatoes – cooked and mashed

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 cloves garlic – crushed

2 Serrano peppers – minced

½ teaspoon turmeric 

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped

2 tablespoons mint – chopped

1 pinch salt

Cook mung sprouts, for 15 minutes, in just enough water to cover them for 15 minutes. The mung sprouts should be al dente and not too mushy. Mash mung sprouts, but leave a little texture, then combine with remaining ingredients. Form 12 patties; patting them out on your palm and shaping the edges with your fingers. Spray skillet with cooking oil and sauté patties over medium-high heat until golden-brown. Flip and cook the other side. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4.