Chefs in the U.S. have incorporated microgreens into their dishes since at least the 1980s, although they’ve recently experienced an uptick in popularity. As the name suggests, microgreens are tiny vegetables and herbs. Specifically, they are the baby seedlings of those plants. (Note that microgreens are not the same as sprouts, which lack leaves.) These tiny seedlings pack a big punch in terms of both flavor and nutrition, making them beloved by foodies and nutritionists alike.
Types of Microgreens
Today, chefs commonly use a few dozen varieties of microgreens. Sweetpea and sunflower microgreens are favorites for adorning salads, as are kale, cilantro, arugula, basil, and beets. Other examples of popular microgreens include radish, cabbage, parsley, watercress, broccoli, and Swiss chard. Depending on the variety you enjoy, the taste can be mild, sweet, peppery, spicy, or pleasantly bitter. Because microgreens are so intensely flavorful, chefs typically only use a few tablespoons of them for each dish.
Nutrition of Microgreens
Nutritionists tend to agree that whenever possible, it’s better to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, rather than from supplements. The nutrients in real food are often more bioavailable, which means your body can absorb them better. But it can be tough to eat enough plant-based foods to get all the nutrients you need, which is why many people turn to microgreens. Although they are tiny, microgreens have an incredible dose of vitamins and minerals. The amount of nutrients they contain is roughly 40 times greater than what you would find in the same amount of mature vegetables of the same plant. In fact, one of the few things that microgreens have less of is fiber—so they can’t completely replace grown vegetables.
Use of Microgreens
Chefs can use microgreens in many creative ways. They’re frequently used as salad toppers. They can also be used in tacos, sandwiches, and wraps, or used as garnishes for pizza, soup, omelets, and curries.
You can get a taste of some delicious microgreens when you visit Winona’s Restaurant for lunch. Located in downtown Steamboat Springs, CO, Winona’s offers daily breakfast and lunch specials. A staff member is available to take your questions at (970) 879-2483.