The Top 5 Most Nutritious Microgreens to Grow at Home: A Comprehensive Guide for the Green-Fingered Gourmet

Updated: 14/12/23

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens, the young seedlings of various plants, have become increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers and urban gardeners alike. These tiny, flavourful greens pack a powerful nutritional punch and can be easily grown at home, even with limited space. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top five most nutritious microgreens to grow in your own home, along with detailed information on their nutritional benefits, growing techniques, and culinary uses.

Microgreens are typically harvested between 7 to 21 days after germination. Despite their diminutive size, they contain concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a valuable addition to a healthy diet. Microgreens can be grown from a variety of seeds, including vegetables, herbs, and even edible flowers. They offer a unique combination of flavours, textures, and colours that can elevate any dish.

organic radish microgreens

The Benefits of Microgreens

Microgreens offer a wealth of benefits, making them an excellent addition to a healthy and balanced diet. These miniature powerhouses are:
  • Nutrient-dense: Microgreens contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to their mature counterparts, providing a concentrated source of essential nutrients in a small serving.
  • Space-efficient: Growing microgreens requires minimal space, making them perfect for urban dwellers with limited gardening areas or those without access to outdoor spaces.
  • Easy to grow: Microgreens have a short growing cycle, with most varieties ready to harvest within 7-21 days, making them a low-maintenance and fast-growing option for home gardeners.
  • Eco-friendly: Cultivating microgreens at home reduces the environmental impact associated with transportation, packaging, and food waste.
  • Versatile: Microgreens can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, adding unique flavours, textures, and visual appeal to your culinary creations.

The Top Five Most Nutritious Microgreens

Here are the Top 5 most nutritious microgreens to consider growing at home:

Microgreen Vitamins (mg) Minerals (mg) Other Nutrients (mg)
Pea Shoots A: 65 mg, C: 40 mg, K: 47 mg Folate: 40 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Sunflower Shoots A: 50 mg, E: 35 mg, B1: 0.8 mg Protein: 25 mg, Essential Amino Acids: 20 mg
Radish Microgreens A: 60 mg, B6: 0.1 mg, C: 25 mg, E: 2.5 mg, K: 232 mg Antioxidants: 20 mg
Kale Microgreens A: 80 mg, C: 45 mg, K: 389 mg Calcium: 25 mg, Iron: 1.5 mg
Broccoli Microgreens A: 35 mg, C: 50 mg, E: 5 mg Sulforaphane: 10-100 mg (cancer-fighting compound)

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (2015) 

Selecting the Right Seeds

Choosing the right seeds is crucial for a successful microgreens harvest. Opt for organic and non-GMO seeds to ensure the highest quality and nutritional value of your microgreens. Organic seeds are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilisers, which means they have a lower environmental impact and are less likely to contain harmful residues. Non-GMO seeds, on the other hand, are not genetically modified, making them a safer and more natural option.

When selecting your seeds, consider the microgreen varieties that appeal to your taste preferences and nutritional goals. By choosing a diverse range of microgreens, you can benefit from a wide array of flavours, textures, and health benefits. Make sure to research the specific requirements of each variety, as some may have unique growing conditions for germination times.

Six Steps for Growing Microgreens at Home

Growing microgreens is an enjoyable and rewarding activity that requires minimal space and resources. Here's a detailed step-by-step guide to help you cultivate your own nutritious microgreens:

  1. Choose your growing medium: Fill a shallow tray or container with 1-2 inches of organic, well-draining potting mix or a coconut coir-based medium. Both options are eco-friendly and promote healthy root growth.
  2. Sow your seeds: Scatter the seeds evenly across the surface of your growing medium, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Lightly press the seeds into the soil or cover them with a thin layer of soil or vermiculite. Some microgreens, such as sunflower and pea shoots, may require soaking prior to sowing to promote faster germination.
  3. Provide adequate moisture: Keep the growing medium consistently moist by misting it with water daily or as needed. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to mould or fungus growth. Some gardeners prefer using a spray bottle for gentle and consistent moisture application.
    watering microgreens with a spray bottle
  4. Ensure proper lighting: Place your microgreens in a sunny windowsill or under full-spectrum grow lights to provide them with the necessary light for photosynthesis. Most microgreens require at least 6-8 hours of light per day.
  5. Monitor temperature and humidity: Maintain a temperature of 18-22°C (65-72°F) and a relative humidity of around 50-70% to create optimal growing conditions for your microgreens.
    microgreens under LED lights at home
  6. Harvest your microgreens: Once your microgreens have developed their first set of true leaves, they are ready to harvest. Use clean, sharp scissors to snip the stems just above the soil line. Rinse and enjoy your freshly harvested microgreens!

    microgreens being harvested with scissors

 

Creative Culinary Uses for Microgreens

using microgreens to enhance meals

Microgreens can enhance the taste, texture, and visual appeal of various dishes. Their vibrant colours and unique flavours make them a delightful addition to your culinary creations. Below, we've provided a more detailed and descriptive look at some innovative ways to incorporate microgreens into your meals:

Salads

Elevate your salads by combining microgreens with a diverse range of leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce, and kale, to create a nutrient-dense and flavourful base. Experiment with different microgreen varieties, like peppery arugula or earthy beet greens, to add depth and complexity to your salad. Don't forget to incorporate a mix of textures and colours by adding a range of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Drizzle with a homemade dressing made from olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, or your choice of seasonings to further enhance the flavours. Finally, sprinkle some additional microgreens on top as a garnish to make your salad visually appealing and delicious.

elevate a salad with microgreens

Sandwiches and Wraps

Microgreens are a great way to add nutrition and flavour to your sandwiches and wraps. They can replace traditional lettuce or herbs, providing a unique texture and taste. When using microgreens in your sandwich or wrap, consider pairing them with your favourite proteins, vegetables, and spreads. For instance, use sunflower shoots with sliced turkey, avocado, and hummus for a protein-packed sandwich. You can also pair red cabbage microgreens with grilled chicken, roasted bell peppers, and tzatziki sauce for a Mediterranean-inspired wrap.
microgreens open sandwiches

To make your sandwich or wrap more exciting, consider incorporating a variety of textures and flavours. Use crunchy radish microgreens with soft cheese and sliced cucumber for a refreshing sandwich. Alternatively, try pairing kale microgreens with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers for a sophisticated flavour. Adding microgreens to your sandwich or wrap can elevate the overall nutritional value while providing a burst of colour and flavour.

When making a wrap, be mindful of the type of wrap you choose. A spinach wrap or collard green wrap provides an additional layer of greens and nutrition, while a gluten-free wrap or rice paper wrap is a great option for those with dietary restrictions. You can also experiment with different sauces or dips, such as avocado, pesto, or salsa, to add more depth to your sandwich or wrap.

Sandwiches and wraps are versatile options that can be easily customised to your preferences. By adding microgreens, you can create a nutritious and flavourful meal that is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. Whether you choose to go with classic or exotic flavours, microgreens can make your sandwich or wrap more exciting and satisfying.

Smoothies and Juices

Blend microgreens with fruits, vegetables, and liquids to create nutrient-rich smoothies and juices. For instance, try combining kale microgreens with banana, spinach, and almond milk for a healthy green smoothie.

Garnishes

Microgreens can make a stunning and tasty garnish for a variety of dishes. They are an easy way to add a touch of elegance, nutrition, and flavour to your plate. So, the next time you prepare a soup, stew, pasta dish, or grain bowl, consider garnishing it with microgreens to impress your guests and your taste buds!

Microgreens make a beautiful and flavourful garnish for soups, stews, pasta dishes, and grain bowls. They add a pop of colour and a fresh taste to your dish, making it more visually appealing and appetising.

When it comes to selecting the right microgreens for garnishing, think about the flavour and texture you want to achieve. Red cabbage microgreens, for example, provide a striking purple hue and a slightly spicy flavour that pairs well with rich stews or creamy pasta dishes. Beet microgreens, on the other hand, offer a vibrant red colour and a sweet earthy flavour that works well with grain bowls or light soups.

To garnish your dish with microgreens, simply sprinkle a small amount on top of the finished product just before serving. Be mindful of the quantity, as too much can overpower the other flavours in your dish. Use a mix of microgreens to add a variety of colours and textures, and choose microgreens that complement the flavours of your dish. You can also use microgreens to create beautiful patterns or designs on your plate, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication.

microgreen garnish on pasta

Apart from adding a burst of flavour and colour, microgreens can also provide additional nutritional benefits to your dish. For instance, pea shoots are high in vitamins A, C, and K, making them a perfect addition to soups or stews. Similarly, sunflower shoots are a good source of protein and essential amino acids, making them an excellent garnish for grain bowls or salads.

Egg dishes

Microgreens can elevate the flavour and nutrition of your favourite egg dishes. Whether you prefer omelettes, frittatas, or scrambled eggs, microgreens provide a simple and delicious way to add more greens to your diet. So, the next time you prepare an egg dish, don't forget to add a handful of microgreens for a nutritious and tasty breakfast or brunch!

Incorporating microgreens into egg dishes is an excellent way to boost the nutrition and flavour of your breakfast or brunch. Microgreens add a refreshing taste and a pop of colour to your eggs, making them look and taste more appealing.

When it comes to selecting the right microgreens for your egg dishes, consider the flavour and texture you want to achieve. For example, arugula microgreens offer a peppery taste that goes well with cheese and bacon in an omelette. Alternatively, spinach microgreens offer a mild flavour that pairs well with tomatoes and mushrooms in a frittata. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favourite flavours.

To incorporate microgreens into your egg dishes, mix them into the egg mixture before cooking, or sprinkle them on top of your scrambled eggs or omelettes before serving. You can also use microgreens as a garnish on the side of your plate, adding a pop of colour and nutrition to your dish.

In addition to providing taste and texture, microgreens can also offer numerous health benefits. For instance, Tuscan black kale microgreens are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, while broccoli microgreens are high in sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound. By adding microgreens to your egg dishes, you can boost their nutritional value and support your overall health and well-being.

Pesto and dips

Microgreens can add a delightful twist to your favourite pestos and dips. By blending them with nuts, seeds, oil, and seasoning, you can create a nutritious and flavourful spread that will impress your guests and your taste buds. So, the next time you prepare a dip or spread, don't forget to incorporate microgreens for a unique and healthy twist!

Microgreens are a versatile ingredient that can add a unique twist to your favourite pestos and dips. They offer a fresh taste and vibrant colour that can enhance the overall flavour and appearance of your dip. By blending microgreens with nuts, seeds, oil, and seasoning, you can create a nutritious and flavourful dip or spread.

When it comes to selecting the right microgreens for your pesto or dip, consider the flavour profile you want to achieve. Arugula microgreens offer a peppery taste that pairs well with almonds and garlic in a pesto. Beet microgreens, on the other hand, offer a sweet earthy flavour that works well in a hummus dip.

microgreen pesto

To create a microgreen pesto or dip, start by blending a handful of microgreens with nuts or seeds of your choice, such as almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds. Add a generous amount of olive oil or another neutral oil to the mixture to achieve the desired consistency. For additional flavour, add garlic, lemon juice, or your choice of seasoning. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Serve your pesto or dip with fresh vegetables, crackers, or bread, or use it as a spread for sandwiches or wraps. Microgreen pestos and dips are a delicious and healthy alternative to store-bought options, as they are free from preservatives and additives.

Pizza and Flatbreads

Microgreens are a tasty and nutritious topping for pizza and flatbread. By adding them to your dish, you can elevate its overall taste and appearance, while reaping the numerous health benefits of these miniature superfoods. So, the next time you make pizza or flatbread, don't forget to add a handful of microgreens for an extra burst of flavour and nutrition!

pizza with microgreens topping

Microgreens are a delicious and healthy topping for freshly baked pizza or flatbread. They provide a pop of colour, texture, and flavour to your dish, making it more visually appealing and appetising. When it comes to selecting the right microgreens for your pizza or flatbread, consider the flavour and texture you want to achieve.

For example, arugula microgreens provide a peppery taste that pairs well with spicy sausage and pepperoni on pizza. Alternatively, broccoli microgreens offer a mild flavour that goes well with roasted vegetables on a flatbread. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favourite flavours.

To incorporate microgreens into your pizza or flatbread, sprinkle them on top of your dish after it comes out of the oven. The heat of the dish will slightly wilt the microgreens, releasing their flavour and aroma. You can also add microgreens to your pizza or flatbread before baking, but be mindful of the quantity, as too much heat can wilt the greens too much.

Microgreens can also provide additional nutritional benefits to your pizza or flatbread. For instance, kale microgreens are high in vitamins A, C, and K, while pea shoot microgreens offer a good source of folate and iron. By adding microgreens to your pizza or flatbread, you can boost their nutritional value and support your overall health and well-being.

Sushi and Rice rolls

Microgreens are an easy and nutritious way to elevate your sushi and rice rolls. They provide a refreshing taste, vibrant colour, and numerous health benefits, making them an excellent addition to any sushi or rice paper roll. So, the next time you make sushi or rice rolls, don't forget to incorporate microgreens for a unique and healthy twist!

Incorporating microgreens into sushi and rice rolls is an excellent way to add flavour, colour, and nutrition to your meal. Microgreens can replace traditional fillings like cucumber or avocado, providing a unique taste and texture. They are also low in calories and high in nutrients, making them an excellent addition to any healthy diet.

When selecting microgreens for your sushi or rice rolls, consider the flavour and texture you want to achieve. Radish microgreens offer a spicy taste that pairs well with fish or crab in sushi rolls. Alternatively, spinach microgreens offer a mild flavour that works well with tofu or mushrooms in a rice paper roll. You can also experiment with different combinations to create your own signature rolls.

To incorporate microgreens into your sushi or rice rolls, start by preparing your filling. Spread a layer of cooked rice on your sushi mat or rice paper, and add your desired fillings, such as crab, avocado, or cucumber. Then, add a handful of microgreens on top of the filling, distributing them evenly. Roll up the sushi or rice paper, making sure the microgreens are tucked inside.

Microgreens can also provide additional nutritional benefits to your sushi or rice rolls. For instance, sunflower shoot microgreens are high in protein and essential amino acids, while red cabbage microgreens are rich in antioxidants. By adding microgreens to your sushi or rice rolls, you can create a nutrient-dense meal that supports your overall health and well-being.

Grain bowls and Buddha bowls

Microgreens are a delicious and nutritious addition to grain bowls and Buddha bowls. They provide a unique taste, texture, and colour, making your meal more visually appealing and satisfying. So, the next time you prepare a grain bowl or Buddha bowl, don't forget to add a handful of microgreens for a well-rounded and healthy meal!

Microgreens are a great addition to grain bowls and Buddha bowls, as they provide a burst of flavour and nutrition to your meal. They add texture, colour, and freshness to your bowl, making it more visually appealing and appetising. When it comes to selecting the right microgreens for your bowl, consider the flavour and texture you want to achieve.

buddha bowl of mushrooms and microgreens

For example, beet microgreens offer a sweet and earthy flavour that goes well with roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa in a grain bowl. Alternatively, Swiss chard microgreens provide a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with grilled chicken and roasted peppers in a Buddha bowl. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favourite flavours.

To incorporate microgreens into your grain bowl or Buddha bowl, start by preparing your base. Choose your favourite grain, such as brown rice, quinoa, or bulgur, and add your desired proteins and vegetables. Then, top off your bowl with a handful of microgreens, distributing them evenly. Drizzle with your favourite dressing or sauce, and enjoy!

Microgreens can also provide additional nutritional benefits to your grain or Buddha bowl. For instance, pea shoot microgreens are high in vitamins A, C, and K, while kale microgreens are a good source of calcium and iron. By adding microgreens to your bowl, you can increase its nutrient density and support your overall health and well-being.

Desserts

Incorporating microgreens into desserts may sound unconventional, but it can add a unique and healthy twist to your sweet treats. Microgreens can offer a subtle flavour and vibrant colour to your desserts, making them more visually appealing and appetising. When selecting the right microgreens for your desserts, consider the flavour and texture you want to achieve.

For example, beet microgreens offer a sweet and earthy taste that pairs well with chocolate in a cake or brownie. Alternatively, mint microgreens offer a refreshing taste that compliments lemon or lime in a tart or sorbet. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favourite flavours.

desert with microgreens

To incorporate microgreens into your desserts, start by selecting your recipe and preparing your ingredients. Then, chop a handful of microgreens finely and mix them into your batter or filling. Be mindful of the quantity, as microgreens can have a strong taste if used in excess. You can also use microgreens as a garnish on top of your desserts, adding a pop of colour and flavour.

Microgreens can also provide additional nutritional benefits to your desserts. For instance, sunflower shoot microgreens are high in vitamin E, while broccoli microgreens are abundant in sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound. By adding microgreens to your desserts, you can make them healthier and more nutritious.

Microgreens can add a unique and healthy twist to your favourite desserts. By incorporating them into your recipes or using them as a garnish, you can elevate the taste, appearance, and nutrition of your sweet treats. So, the next time you make a dessert, don't be afraid to experiment with microgreens for a surprising and delicious result!

Conclusion

Growing and enjoying microgreens is a delightful and rewarding experience that allows you to incorporate nutrient-dense and flavourful greens into your daily diet. By selecting the five most nutritious microgreens and following the provided cultivation and culinary tips, you can enjoy the numerous health benefits and versatility of these miniature superfoods. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice with limited space, cultivating microgreens at home is an accessible and enjoyable activity that promotes a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Embrace the green-fingered gourmet in you, and start growing your own microgreens today!

Further Resources and Inspiration

To help you on your microgreen-growing journey, consider exploring these additional resources and tools:

Books on microgreens: Expand your knowledge and expertise with comprehensive books on microgreens, such as "Microgreens: A Guide to Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens" by Eric Franks and Jasmine Richardson or "The Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening" by Peter Burke.

Online forums and social media: Connect with fellow microgreen enthusiasts on online forums or social media platforms, where you can share tips, tricks, and inspiration.  e.g. https://www.facebook.com/groups/microgreensforbeginners

Local workshops and classes: Look for local workshops or classes on growing microgreens, where you can learn hands-on techniques and network with like-minded gardeners.

Specialty seed suppliers: Find high-quality, organic, and non-GMO seeds from reputable suppliers like us, either locally or online. Check out our Organic GMO-Free Seeds

Experiment with new varieties: As your confidence and expertise grow, try experimenting with new microgreen varieties to expand your culinary horizons and nutritional benefits. Some lesser-known but equally nutritious and delicious options include red mustard microgreens, amaranth micro-herbs, and coriander microgreens.

Track your progress: Document your microgreen growing journey through a gardening journal, photography, or even social media. This can help you monitor your progress, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate your successes.

Share your harvest: Spread the joy and benefits of microgreens by sharing your harvest with friends, family, or neighbours. You might even inspire others to start their own microgreen gardens!

By diving deeper into the world of microgreens and connecting with fellow enthusiasts, you can continue to refine your skills, broaden your knowledge, and enrich your microgreen-growing experience.

In summary, microgreens offer a versatile, nutrient-dense, and eco-friendly option for home gardeners and health-conscious individuals. By selecting from the top five most nutritious microgreens, cultivating them with care, and incorporating them into a variety of dishes, you can enjoy the many benefits of these miniature superfoods. So, embrace your green thumb and embark on your microgreen-growing adventure today!

happy person holding home-grown microgreens

We stock all the equipment you need to start growing microgreens at home.

 

About the Authors

Thanks for stopping by. We're a small family-run business based in rural South Devon. As keen gardeners with a dedication to achieving self-sufficiency, our focus is firmly on finding positive ways to impact the planet. To that end, it's our goal to help as many people as possible move away from industrialised agriculture with its soil-destroying chemical fertilisers and dangerous pesticides. Even if the only space available to you is a small balcony or terrace, we believe, as home gardeners, you have the power to effect real change, growing better quality veg at the same time.

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