Mung Beans in Food

The mung bean is a powerful legume with both health and planet-benefitting properties. Because of the mung bean plant’s ability fix nitrogen into the soil, keeping the soil rich and healthy, it is a great cover crop to plant between other harvests. Using cover crops is one of the important ways to reduce emissions from the agricultural industry.

Plus, mung beans are a nutrient-rich food that have been used in dishes for thousands of years. Recently, due to their high protein content and the array of other vitamins and minerals they possess, they are becoming an increasingly popular part of protein-powders and meat alternatives (Beyond Burgers include mung beans to achieve their protein punch).

The mung bean was originally domesticated in India, but it is now grown in many parts of the world. Mung beans are a common ingredient in dishes in East, Southeast, and South Asia. They can make delicious additions for many meals, but they can also remain fairly flavor-neutral for use in powders and supplements.

In short, the mung bean is an especially great addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet.

Nutrients in Mung Beans

First of all, mung beans are great sources of protein, but it doesn’t stop there. They are also rich in fiber, B vitamins (especially thiamine and folate), iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Plus, they contain notable amounts of potassium, zinc, and calcium.

Additionally, mung bean carbohydrates are easy to digest, which sets them apart from many other types of beans that can cause gas and indigestion. Because of their carbohydrate level, they can also be made into flour and take the place of certain cereal-based flours (like wheat and oat), offering fewer calories than the usual cereal flours.

Mung Bean Dishes

Mung beans are a highly flexible food. Both the beans and the bean sprouts are edible. If cooking with the beans, the usual approach is to boil dried beans. The bean can also be hulled, cooked, and blended into a paste.

In Indian dishes, mung beans are most commonly included without their skins, though there are also recipes for the whole bean. They can be part of a soup or porridge or ground down and made into a crepe-like bread called dosa.

In East Asia, the mung bean most frequently appears in sweet dishes. Mung bean paste can be made into ice cream or pancakes or a filling for Chinese moon cakes or rice dumplings. Mung beans also appear in sweetened dessert beverages.

In the Middle East, mung beans are paired with rice in a pilaf-like dish. And in Southeast Asia, mung beans appear in both savory and sweet dishes.

Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts are a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine, where they are often served as part of a stir-fry. You will find uncooked mung bean sprouts in Vietnamese spring rolls and as garnish for pho. In Korea, lightly cooked mung bean sprouts with sesame oil, garlic, and salt (and sometimes other ingredients) serve as a tasty side dish. And they are a key ingredient in many Malaysian dishes.

Mung bean sprouts can be easily prepared at home. They make great additions to many meals, especially stir-fries and soups. In most cases, it is safest to cook them rather than to eat them raw, because the moist environment required to make the bean sprouts can increase the likelihood of bacteria growth.

You can also make your own mung bean sprouts from raw mung beans by soaking them in water for the appropriate amount of time with the right sunlight and darkness ratio.

Mung Beans in Your Foods and Supplements

You can include mung beans in your diet in a whole bunch of ways. You can use mung bean flour to make noodles, pancakes, or flatbreads. Or you can find food products, such as breads, crackers, pastas, and snacks, that include mung beans amongst the ingredients.

Asian cookbooks and recipe pages are great resources for expanding your familiarity with mung beans and all that you can do with them. From there, you can experiment with adding mung beans or mung bean sprouts to some of your favorite dishes.

Ground mung beans are also showing up in powders and supplements because they bring such wealth of vegan protein and nutrients.

At Natura.Punkt, we have added mung beans to our protein powder collection with the Alver Super Protein Golden Bean Mix, which also includes the valuable superfood Golden Chlorella. The powder is fine and flavor-neutral so that it can blend in with any number of dishes or drinks.

You can add it to smoothies, or plant-based milks, or pancake and cookies batters, or bread dough. You can even sprinkle some on your morning cereal or muesli. By increasing your protein intake, you’ll be ensuring you get the amino acids you need, and you’ll be helping your body feel full for longer since protein takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates do.