You may be familiar with black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and various lentils, but how about mung beans? They are small green legumes that have been a part of Chinese cuisine for thousands of years, where they are referred to as nga choi or nga choy. For plant-based eaters, there are many reasons why you need more mung beans in your life. They can be eaten either raw or cooked, you can add their sprouts to just about anything, and you can easily grow them yourself. Since they are slightly sweet in flavor, try throwing them into your desserts. This is already the case in some Asian countries, where mung bean paste is used to make frozen desserts.
Also, they pack a nice nutritional punch – they are high in potassium, fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins, and they are also a good source of vitamin C. Try using these little beans in your own plant-based cooking. Here are a few ways to eat mung beans.
1. Form Into Falafel
Though falafel is often made with chickpeas, try mixing up your cooking by substituting those garbanzo beans for mung beans. Try this Ayurvedic Falafel recipe, which also calls for onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, potato starch, and salt. Make sure to soak the mung beans overnight before using them.
2. Make Pizza
Who needs pepperoni and cheese as pizza toppings? On a plant-based diet, use beans and spice them up to make a super flavorful topping that’s also much healthier than the classic toppings. Make a mung bean topping with coconut oil, onion, coriander, cumin and garlic for this Cauliflower Crust with Mung Bean Curry. For this recipe, the cook used black mung beans, but you can use green mung beans if you’d like.
3. Sip on Soup
Like most legumes, mung beans are also delicious in soups. When making soup, cook the broth and vegetables first, then add the mung beans toward the end. Then simmer until everything mixes together well. Try this Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup.
4. Cook Curry
Mung beans are an Indian staple and also therapeutic since they have the capacity to cleanse the heart and vascular system, as well as reduce toxicity. These beans are also great for the liver, gallbladder and for detoxing the body. Are you convinced to try cooking with them yet? Try this Mung Beans and Root Vegetable Curry. You’ll make a mung dish separate from the root vegetable curry.
5. Throw Together a Salad
Sprouted mung beans are excellent salad toppers, and out of the whole legume world, they’re among the easiest and quickest to sprout. They’re even great as the main ingredient of a salad, like in The Ultimate Clean Food Sprouted Mung Salad.
6. Use Sprouts as Toppings
Here is where you can go mung-bean crazy. Top everything with mung sprouts, be it pizza, pasta, soup, hummus, salad, curry dishes or stir-fries. Try this Sprouted Green (Moong) Lentils and Peanut Salad.
Lead image source: Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup