Even though mung bean sprouts are nothing new for Southeast Asian-inspired salads, soups and stir-fries, the actual tiny mung bean is having its moment. The little army-green legume and its derivatives have been used forever in Indian, Persian and Southeast Asian cuisines as satiating beans, sprouts and noodles. And the mung bean delivers not only a mild, savory flavor but also contributes a great fiber-filled addition to many entrées and sides with a host of flavor profiles besides curries or beef-and-vegetable noodles.
Mung beans are the little legume with lots of nutrition. A one-half cup cooked portion contains just more than 100 calories and a whopping 7.7 grams fiber (about 30 percent of your daily needs) for virtually no sodium. What’s more, that portion size also contains a good source of phosphorous, plant-based protein and magnesium plus an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. If you are looking for an economical, bean-based option for a meatless Monday, mung beans would be an ideal choice with their nutritious profile and cooking merits.
Dried mung beans are a great legume to keep in your pantry for last-minute meal boosters. The little oval-shaped beans don’t need to be soaked before cooking, and they are ready for meal-time action after about 25 minutes of simmering in plenty of water. And that’s great news because the bean can be added to all manner of dishes you could whip up on the fly for dinner: stir-fries, curries, entrée salads or a riff on pasta e fagioli. We’ve even tried the nutty-flavored dried sprouted mung bean, and love the results in this no-cook Mediterranean salad.
Here are some other easy ways to incorporate mung beans into your meals:
- Make this mung bean pilaf for a hearty vegan entrée.
- Try them in a brown rice and beans bowl with curry or Thai flavors.
- Toss into a stir-fry with broccoli and cabbage.
- Use them in place of the edamame or green beans in this light vegetarian entrée or side.
- Use cooked mung beans in place of lentils in recipes.
- Substitute cooked mung beans for the in this three-bean salad.
- Sauté cooked beans with diced shallot and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Include the beans in minestrones or vegetable soups.
- Use about 4 1/2 cups cooked mung beans in place of the canned beans in this beans and ham entrée.
- Try mung beans in a soup, such as this vegan chili. Leftovers would be great over a baked sweet potato.
- Add one-half cup of cooked, cold mung beans to zestylettuce wraps.
- Riff on Pad Thai flavors, using cooked, cold mung beans instead of their sprouts.
- Substitute some of the black-eyed peas in Hoppin’ John for mung beans.
- Use the tiny beans in a succotash.
- Use overcooked mung beans in hummus with this rich flavor profile.
Have you tried mung beans? How do you incorporate the little legumes in your cooking? Tell us below!