What can I use instead of bean sprouts? Some of the best replacements are sprouts from beans, seeds, or nuts such as soybean, alfalfa, sunflower, beet, lentil, chickpea, and green pea sprouts. Also on the list are Enoki mushrooms, snow peas, and bok choi.
Bean sprouts add texture and crunch to a variety of dishes, from salads to stir-fries and sandwiches, but what do you use when you can’t find bean sprouts, go to the next best thing, of course.
So, let’s have a gander at what we can use as substitutes:
The Best Bean Sprout Substitutes
Soybeans may be one of the more common know replacements for bean sprouts.
Soybean sprouts are bigger than bean sprouts with a yellow-capped head. They have fewer calories than other sprouts but are high in protein.
They come from sprouting soybeans and are very popular in Korean cuisine.
Soybean sprouts have a slightly sweet note but have a pronounced vegetal flavor compared to bean sprouts and can be a bit chewier.
These sprouts are perfect for salads to add volume and crunchy texture but also fare well in stir-fries and noodles.
You can substitute bean sprouts with the same generous helping of soybean sprouts.
Alfalfa sprouts are a tasty treat to replace bean sprouts.
Alfalfa sprouts are thin string masses of white shoots with small green clove-like leaves that come from the alfalfa seed.
Native to western Asia, it was first domesticated in Turkey and Iran. When fully grown, the plants are used for animal fodder, also known as lucerne.
These delicate microgreens offer a crunchy texture while adding a mild nutty flavor with sweet grassy notes.
This superfood pairs nicely in salads to add volume and moisture or added to sandwiches for that extra bit of texture.
Use it in equal quantities to replace bean sprouts in a recipe.
Not just suitable for oil, sunflower sprouts are a healthy replacement for bean sprouts.
Sunflower sprouts are slender white stems that sprout from hulled sunflower seeds with two small green oval leaves.
Native to North America, sunflowers have been growing wild for a long time before being cultivated for their many benefits.
Sunflower sprouts offer a variety of textures and tastes, with their crispy, juicy stems delivering a nice crunch. In addition, they have vegetal nuances with a slightly nutty savor and hints of lemony notes.
These sprouts are great for adding texture to salads, sometimes replacing lettuce altogether. They can also be finely chopped for making pestos and dips or rolled into sushi.
They mix well with warm or cold dishes and can be paired with numerous flavors.
Use liberally on your favorite sandwich, salad, and smoothies.
Beet sprouts are a sweet replacement for bean sprouts.
Beet sprouts are microgreens from beet plants. They have brightly colored red stems with small green leaves that add color and depth to dishes.
Beet sprouts are believed to have their roots in the Mediterranean, spreading eastward as they became a popular vegetable in ancient times.
They have a fresh earthy flavor with sweet notes, much like beetroot.
Suppose you’re looking to add some vibrant color to your salad. In that case, beet sprouts are the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, and toppings.
Thanks to their earthy and sweet flavors, you can use as much as you want.
A yummy substitute for bean sprouts is the colorful lentil sprouts.
They come from the legume, lentil seeds, found in various hues, offering a palette of colors to spruce up dishes.
There is evidence of lentils dating back to 8000B.C. in what is known today as Northern Syria. This delicious superfood is considered the poor man’s food and a staple in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.
Depending on the color, lentils have a slightly different characteristic flavor that sets them apart, ranging from earthy notes with fresh grassy vegetal hints. Some have a peppery taste, whereas others enjoy a buttery, nutty savor with sweeter tones.
They can be added as a trio to enjoy the full spectrum of flavors or individually to accompany any salad or sandwich. Lentils sprouts can also be added to stir-fries and soups for texture and depth.
Enjoy it as an equal replacement for bean sprouts.
For a more filling substitute, chickpeas are an excellent replacement for bean sprouts.
Chickpea sprouts are small, round, beige-colored peas with a grainy texture, when sprouted, have a small white tail.
Probably one of the earliest cultivated legumes in the Middle East, it is still extremely popular in cuisines in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and India.
They are hearty little peas with a wholesome, earthy note and nutty flavors.
Try roasting chickpeas and adding them to a salad for a crunchy roasted textured that brings in a nutty savor to the recipe.
Chickpeas are also great to add to soups and stews for volume and provide a satiated feeling.
Enjoy at liberty, but remember they have a robust nutty flavor that could overpower other milder ingredients depending on the dish.
Although Enoki mushrooms are not a sprout, they make a great substitute for bean sprouts.
Enoki mushrooms are slender edible mushrooms with a small white cap reaching five inches tall. They are also known as golden-needle, velvet foot, and lily mushrooms.
These dainty mushrooms have been around for hundreds of years. They are native to Asia and North America, with a strong footprint in Asian cuisine.
They have a mild earthy note to them with a surprising sweetness giving an umami flavor to dishes with a delightful crunch effect that makes for a great substitute.
Enoki mushrooms can be enjoyed raw in a salad but are just as delicious, steamed or blanched, and added to stir-fries or soups.
They can be swapped out for the same amount of bean sprouts to add flavor and texture to your favorite dish.
Another great alternative if you can’t find sprouts is snow peas.
Snow peas are the young pods of the pea legume. They are cultivated before the peas mature, so they have a flat pod with underdeveloped peas, also known as Chinese pea pods.
Originating from the pea plant, they have roots in ancient times and are commonly used in Chinese stir-fries.
Snow peas have a mild vegetal taste with sweet notes and plenty of crispy crunches.
You can finely chop these up in julienne to replace the crunch factor of sprouts in salads. These are also delicious blanched or steamed in mixed vegetable dishes or for adding a sweet note to stir-fries.
In our opinion, snow peas are easily exchangeable for sprouts in an even quantity, but you can never have too much.
Here is a cabbage alternative to replace sprouts.
Bok Choy may look more like a short, stout celery plant, but it is, in fact, a member of the cabbage family. It radiates leafy stems from a bulbous foot.
This little cabbage evolved in China and has been cultivated for culinary uses since the fifth century.
Bok choy has a mild green flavor with a slight bitterness that translates to a peppery undertone; its nutty traces get pronounced the more it cooks.
To add that crunch effect to salads, chop up into thin strips, or you can roast, braise and blanch them to eat on their own or add them to stir-fries or grills.
Replace bean sprouts with the same amount of bok choy but keep in mind their slight bitterness.