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Sprouts
Published January 12, 2023 by Nicole Burke

My Favorite Types of Sprouts to Grow at Home

Filed Under:
sprouts
microgreens
indoor gardening
winter garden
varieties of sprouts to grow at home

Sprouts Meaning

To grow a sprout simply means to take a seed through its first stage of growth. Seeds germinate by swelling with water, and then they burst open, sending out a root to dig into the soil (AKA a radical) and a shoot to reach toward sunlight (AKA a cotyledon). Together, this initial root and shoot make up a sprout. Sprouts are typically pale because they have not yet begun photosynthesizing and producing chlorophyll, which is what gives them that nice green color.

If we wanted these little sprouts to continue growing into first microgreens and then a mature plant, we would need to give them soil, nutrients, and light (either sunlight or an artificial source). But we're just after sprouts. That means we don't need soil, fertilizer, or even light. We just need seeds and water.

(Read more on sprouts vs microgreens.)

sprouts vs microgreens

Here's Why I Think Everyone Should Try Growing Their Own Sprouts

If you were paying attention to how sprouts grow, you're probably thinking they sound really easy to try at home, even for brand-new gardeners—and you're right. Sprouts are incredibly easy to grow, and you only need a couple of supplies, plus some seeds and water. You can buy special sprouts jars or sprouts kits or use materials you already have at home.

Since you can grow sprouts indoors—I literally grow mine on my kitchen countertop next to my sink—you can have batches of sprouts going year round no matter where you live. Rain or shine, heatwave or snowstorm, it doesn't matter what the weather's doing. You can still have that garden-fresh flavor thanks to sprouts.

how sprouts grow

Plus, Sprouts Are So Good for You

When you eat a sprout, you're getting the initial nutrition of the seed. Basically, seeds aren't sure what the situation will be for the seedlings as they're getting established, so the seeds themselves store enough of the good stuff to get those seedlings started. Sprouts, as a broad term to cover many different varieties of plants you can grow for their initial stage, are a great source of vitamin K, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, and beta-carotene. Obviously, the amounts of each would vary based on which type of plant you're growing as a sprout.

The really cool thing is that all those nutrients would eventually be spread out through the parts of the plant: the leaves, the flowers, the fruit, and so on. You actually get more nutrition in each sprout than you would in the mature version of the plant. That's reason enough for me to throw some sprouts on my sandwiches and salads!

sprouts meaning

Let's Recap the Benefits of Growing Your Own Sprouts

Sprouts benefits include the following:

  • Sprouts can be grown indoors 365 days a year
  • Sprouts require little setup or tending
  • Sprouts are easy to start and only need 2 to 7 days to grow to the point at which they're enjoyed
  • Sprouts are filled with nutrition
are sprouts good for you

The Best Varieties of Seeds to Grow as Sprouts

Many people's first association with sprouts are mung beans, but the easiest seeds to use for sprouts are actually seeds for leafy greens and radishes. Any plant that you would typically see being grown for its leaves in a kitchen garden will likely do well as a sprout, as will things that grow very quickly from seed. So seeds for plants like radishes, arugula, and lettuce basically translate into the perfect seeds for growing sprouts at home.

Even though broccoli normally takes a long time to grow in your garden, broccoli seeds are easy and relatively quick to sprout. Growing broccoli sprouts is a great way to get all the nutrition of broccoli without giving up a lot of time or space in your raised beds.

You can also grow larger plants like peas and chickpeas and tons of other varieties, but if you're just getting started, I highly recommend simple greens and radishes.

Note: Microgreens seeds can typically be grown as sprouts unless specifically marked as not intended for sprouting. Also, it's a good idea to buy in bulk (like 1 lb. of seeds) since you'll need a lot of seeds to create every delicious leafy bite of sprouts for your sandwich or salad.

A List of Common Sprouts

  • alfalfa sprouts
  • arugula sprouts
  • beets sprouts
  • broccoli sprouts
  • cabbage sprouts
  • cilantro sprouts
  • dill sprouts
  • fenugreek sprouts
  • garbanzo bean sprouts
  • kale sprouts
  • kohlrabi sprouts
  • lettuce sprouts
  • mizuna sprouts
  • mung bean sprouts
  • mustard sprouts
  • pak choi sprouts
  • parsley sprouts
  • radish sprouts
  • red clover sprouts
  • romaine sprouts
  • spinach sprouts
  • sunflower sprouts
  • Swiss chard sprouts
  • tendergreen sprouts
  • turnip sprouts

If you're weighing the best type of sprouts to eat, start with flavors that you know you enjoy. If you love the spice of a fresh radish, for example, try radish sprouts. They're super easy to grow (and very spicy!).

You can also grab a mix of sprouts. Let's look at some of my favorite mixes.

sprouts to eat

Some of the links in this article are Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click on the link and purchase the item. The other links are for products that are not sponsored; I just really enjoy them and think you might too. All opinions remain my own.

Some of My Favorite Sprout Seed Mixes to Buy

There are lots of sources to buy sprout seeds mixes, but I'm going to highlight just two.

Botanical Interests makes it really easy to get started with their Sprout Sampler Seed Collection. If you're growing sprouts for sandwiches, check out their Sandwich Mix, likewise for salads and their Salad Mix.

I also like the bulk mixes from Rainbow Heirloom Seed Co. They're non-GMO, heirloom seeds, and they come in resealable bags. Here are some I've enjoyed or am currently trying out:

All of these seeds could, of course, be grown instead as microgreens or even planted out in the garden. Really, the only thing that distinguishes seeds for sprouts/microgreens is (one) the leaves and stems are safe to consume and (two) the seeds come in larger quantities.

sprouts vegetable varieties to try

A Quick Note on Food Safety and Sprouts

There is a very small risk of consuming bad bacteria like salmonella along with your sprouts. You can reduce your chances of getting sick by washing your sprouts thoroughly before eating them, purchasing your seeds from reputable growers, storing sprouts in the fridge once they're ready, and checking that sprouts are still fresh before enjoying them (no musty smell or slimy appearance).

I typically eat sprouts raw, but if you're worried about food-borne pathogens, you can always cook your sprouts or toss them onto dishes near the end of the cooking process to reduce your risk.

sprouts salad bowl

It's Sprouts Time!

Go on—what are you waiting for?! Grab some different varieties to try out, and you just might unlock flavors you've never tasted before. Plus, you're going to be adding so much nutrition to your plate with each little sprout you've grown yourself.

My goal this year is to start at least one tray of sprouts every week for the entirety of the year. I hope you'll join me!

Shop Our Super Sprout System by Gardenary

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We will teach you how easy it is to grow your own healthy, organic sprouts in a matter of days! Each kit includes:

  • Stainless steel sprout container
  • Seed packs of our favorite sprouts (8)
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My Favorite Types of Sprouts to Grow at Home