Farmers are now offering tiny baby seedlings of familiar plants, called microgreens, to many dining establishments as a trendy addition to their menus. They’re even appearing in recipes prepared by your local food trucks. What are microgreens and why are they so popular now?
Microgreens, not to be confused with ‘sprouts,’* are very young leafy shoots of some of your favorite vegetables such as wheat grass, buckwheat, radish, lettuce, broccoli, arugula, and many more. They’re usually no larger than 1-1/2 inches and no older than two to three weeks between germination and harvest.
Recent research reported in the Journal of Food Chemistry has suggested that microgreens could hold more nutrient value than their grown-up counterparts.** Looking at four different nutrients, they found that microgreens have four to six times the nutrient value of mature plants! Their flavors are more intense, too.
This doesn’t mean you should stop eating a big leafy green salad made with mature vegetables, but microgreens can offer additional flavor and texture to your everyday meals. You can find fresh microgreens at your local farmers’ market. Give their intense wonderful flavor a try.
Omelet with Microgreens
4 large eggs
4 tbs milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 spring onion, minced
Handful of micro greens (about 1 cup)
Salt & pepper to taste
Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Sauté onion and tomato in a large nonstick pan for 2-3 minutes on medium heat with a little oil or butter. Pour egg mixture into pan. As the omelet starts to set, lift an edge of the omelet with a spatula and tilt the pan so that the runny, unset portion of the omelet can run underneath and start to set. Repeat on the opposite side. Top omelet with cheese, add salt and pepper, and cook for a minute more. Sprinkle greens across the omelet and fold in half.
*Sprouts are grown in water without sunlight and are susceptible to E. Coli; the US Government recommends against eating sprouts.
**Journal of Food Chemistry, 2012, 60 (31), pp 7644–7651.