Microgreens have become a grocery store staple as much as they are a social media standard. These tiny, leafy greens line the produce department in aesthetically pleasing rows just like they adorn your favorite health and wellness influencer’s dinner plate.
If you’re feeling left out, we’re here to help. We’ll explain what microgreens are and talk about their nutritional benefits. We’ll also discuss how to maximize their usage and give you some hacks for getting the nutrients you need easily and conveniently.
What Are the Best Ways To Use Microgreens?
We grew up with greens: spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens were staples for many of our diets. These leafy green vegetables, however, are different from microgreens.
Microgreens are the seedlings of other edible vegetables. You probably remember them best by being the garnish on your plate that you carefully avoided. Parsley and cilantro, for instance.
These tiny leaves are harvested about ten days after they begin to sprout, which means they are more rapidly available than other greens. Because they have to be cultivated in new soil, turnover is high. That means the price of microgreens is also high.
The most popular types of microgreens are radish greens, arugula, beet leaves, pea shoots, chia sprouts, radish microgreens, and kale microgreens. These tiny, tender leaves are available at your local grocery store, but they need to be used within a few days of purchase to prevent them from spoiling. Here are some of our favorite ways to use them.
If you’re typically a lettuce and tomato sandwich purist, try swapping out your lettuce for fresh microgreens. You’ll get a flavor boost and more nutrients than you’d get with regular lettuce. Arugula microgreens have a slight black pepper taste, which works well on a sandwich and spices up the flavor.
Add a bit of dijon mustard, and you’ve got a healthy lunch you can make at home that rivals anything you can get at your local sandwich shop.
In Soups, Stir-Fries, and Stews
Your favorite soups, stir-fries, and stews can get an upgrade if you add in a handful of different microgreens. Not only does adding microgreens to your mix add nutritional value, but it also adds color and helps create a richer flavor that is delicious and savory.
If adding baby greens to your smoothie makes you less apt to drink it, we’ve got a solution. L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens is a greens powder that contains over 30 superfoods and nine greens in every scoop. You’ll get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients without growing a garden of your own microgreens on your apartment’s windowsill.
On Top of Salads
Adding more salad to your salad leaves? Yes!
Topping your salad greens with different varieties of microgreens adds flavor to a basic salad and helps improve the nutrient profile. You can also make a microgreens salad with only these leaves, but keep in mind that it takes a lot of baby leaves to make a large salad. You can also add some hummus, lemon juice, and feta cheese to take your salad to the next level.
How Can You Maximize the Benefits of Microgreens?
Although microgreens offer health benefits, it’s hard to get those health benefits unless you’re eating a large portion of these delicate greens. Although they are more nutrient-dense than fully grown greens, their small size means you’d need to eat larger quantities.
This can be a problem if you aren’t willing to shell out the cash for pricey lettuce or if you can’t find a way to squeeze them into every meal. Here are a few hacks for getting the most out of your microgreens.
1. Eat Them Raw
If you’ve tried to cook spinach, you know that an entire bag of it cooks down to virtually nothing. Microgreens cook similarly, shrinking when exposed to heat. In addition, some research points to a less dense nutrient profile once these vegetables have been cooked.
To avoid degrading the nutrients, make sure you eat them raw. For optimum flavor, always pick fresh microgreens. Most growers harvest microgreens within ten days of the cotyledon stage.
2. Eat Them Frequently
Microgreens need to be consumed often if they are to provide the full nutritional benefits they have available. Finding new microgreen recipes can help ensure you’re eating your greens frequently.
Simply sprinkling a few leaves on your salad will help, but it’s not enough to provide the health benefits you want.
3. Use Them at Peak Freshness
If you are growing microgreens, you’ll learn to pick them at peak freshness and use them before they spoil. Most microgreens can be kept fresh in the fridge for several days, while some may last up to 14.
You’ll know your microgreens have passed their shelf life when they develop an off-putting smell, begin to wilt, and have slimy stems and roots. Once this happens, your veggies need to be trashed or composted.
4. Use Proper Serving Sizes
Although microgreens have classically been used for garnish, you won’t get much nutritional benefit just adding them atop your pesto-covered pasta. Instead, add a cup of them to your pesto when you’re creating it, or blend them into your protein shakes, soups, and stews.
You’ll need at least a cup of these greens to get the nutritional value, and it can be hard to consume that much, especially if you don’t like the peppery taste of arugula or the texture of bean sprouts.
Can I Freeze Microgreens To Keep Them Fresh?
It is possible to freeze microgreens, which may make it easier for you to consume more of them. To freeze, make sure you have fresh microgreens that are not on the verge of spoilage.
Here are the steps to take to freeze them once they’ve been picked:
- Wash the greens. Allow them to air dry.
- Squeeze out excess moisture with a paper towel.
- Place the greens in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow the greens to freeze.
- Once the greens have frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag or container.
The greens will last in your freezer for up to six months and take relatively little time to defrost, so you can quickly use them in recipes.
What Are Some Alternatives to Microgreens?
Although microgreens are nutrient-dense, they can be expensive to purchase, difficult to grow, and complicated to use in foods. An easier solution for getting in your greens? A greens powder.
L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens offers a full lineup of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that helps support your health, along with benefits you can’t get from eating microgreens alone:
- Each scoop has essential vitamins, like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. You’ll also get minerals like magnesium and iron.
- Digestive blend. We fortify our greens powder with probiotics and prebiotics to support gut flora and improve digestion.
- M-Charge Complex. Your energy begins in your cells, inside tiny organelles called mitochondria. Our M-Charge complex supports your mitochondria, helping them function fully so you’ll feel energized over time.
- Antioxidant and anti-aging blend. Oxidative stress can damage your cells, lead to damage, and even lead to disease. Antioxidants support cell health during exposure to free radicals.
- Mushroom blend. A blend of mushrooms that supports healthy cholesterol and sodium levels rounds out the formula. It also helps support a healthy mood and overall cognitive function.
With just one scoop (mixed into water, greek yogurt, or a smoothie), you can get the nutrient-dense profile you crave without all the effort (or all the salad). No offense to salads or hard effort; we’d just like to save some of our energy for other tasks.
While it’s true that microgreens are more nutrient-dense than their fully-grown counterparts, it doesn’t mean their counterparts aren’t void of nutrients. Fully grown greens are still jam-packed with essential vitamins and nutrients and usually come at a more accessible price.
The Bottom Line
Microgreens are incredibly nutritious and offer added flavor and texture to your meals. You can even grow them on your own and try out your green thumb. Even with small vegetables, supporting your health can feel like a big task — but small steps lead to big changes.
Adding more leafy greens to your diet is a good first step in supporting your diet. Another easy step? L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens. It’s easy to get the nutrition you need no matter how busy you are with the benefit of our daily greens powder.