Bean sprouts are a popular ingredient, used to cook many delicious Asian food recipes. This tender, edible vegetable is easy to grow, requiring almost no care, other than a steady supply of clean water.
If you haven’t started growing bean sprouts at home, you might be wondering what can you use instead in recipes.
So, what is the best bean sprout substitute? The best substitute for bean sprouts is soybean sprouts. Soybean sprouts have a stronger bean aroma, are thicker, and have a crispier texture. Alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts, canned bamboo shoots, bok choy, snow peas, or mung beans can also be used to replace bean sprouts in recipes.
This article lists the best substitutes for bean sprouts and tells you how to prepare them in your favorite recipes.
6 Best Substitutes for Bean Sprouts
Listed below you’ll find the best substitutes you can use instead of bean sprout to achieve a similar grassy and nutty flavor and crunchy texture in recipes.
1. Soybean Sprouts
The best substitute for bean sprouts is soybean sprouts. This culinary vegetable is commonly cultivated and eaten in Asian countries and is used in salads and stir-fries.
Soybean sprouts have a stronger bean flavor than bean sprouts and a slightly chewier texture.
Because of their tougher texture, soybean sprouts should be cooked longer than bean sprouts to achieve a similar chewy texture. Cook stir-fries using soybean sprouts as a 1:1 replacement for bean sprouts.
2. Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are another suitable substitute for bean sprouts. You can easily grow these microgreens at home. Simply soak alfalfa seeds in clean water for several days and watch them sprout.
Although full of beneficial nutrients, alfalfa sprouts tend to carry food born diseases such as E.coli. Cook alfalfa sprouts long enough to kill any potential bacteria.
In addition to a mild, nutty, and sweet aroma, alfalfa sprouts give dishes a yummy and crunchy texture. Substitute alfalfa sprouts for bean sprouts at a 1:1 ratio to prepare chewy and flavorful stir-fries and salads.
3. Sunflower Sprouts
Sunflower sprouts are an excellent replacement for bean sprouts when you’re in a pinch. Use sunflower seeds to grow sunflower sprouts at home for a never-ending supply of these healthy microgreens.
The sweet and nutty flavor of sunflower spouts is ideal for stir-fries. In addition to being tasty, sunflower sprouts have a chewy texture, making every bite crunch under your teeth.
Sunflower sprouts are a versatile substitute for bean sprouts.
4. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms are a great substitute for bean sprouts in recipes. With long, thin shafts and small delicate caps, enoki mushrooms are used in Japanese cuisine and are very similar to bean sprouts.
Enoki mushrooms aren’t as crunchy as bean sprouts, but they have a mildly fruity and slightly earthy flavor that pairs well with stir-fries and soups.
The delicious Enoki mushrooms are available at most supermarkets and grocery stores. When cooking stir-fries, soups, stews, and noodle and rice dishes, replace enoki mushrooms at a 1:1 ratio for bean sprouts.
5. Snow Peas
Although it may not seem like it, snow peas are another excellent replacement for bean sprouts in recipes. The snow pea, also known as the Chinese pea, is an edible pod pee that’s eaten whole while it’s still unripened.
Snow peas have the same crunchy texture and a mild and sweet flavor as bean sprouts. Prepare stir-fries, soups, and salads using snow peas as a substitute for bean sprouts.
6. Mung Beans
Mung beans are an excellent replacement for bean sprouts in various dishes. Also known as green gram, mung, monggo, Maash, or munggo, the mung bean is a legume used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Although small in size, mung beans are bursting with flavor. The slightly sweet, fresh, and nutty flavor of mung beans blends nicely with ingredients used to cook soups, wraps, salads, and dips.
Can I use Canned Bean Sprouts Instead of Fresh Ones?
Canned bean sprouts aren’t a good substitute for fresh bean sprouts as they lack the crunch and the flavor. Once added to a stir-fry or another dish, canned bean sprouts tend to steam too much and develop a mushy consistency that ruins the dish.
What Can I Put in Pad Thai instead of Bean Sprouts?
Soybean sprouts are a great substitute for bean sprouts in pad thai. Fresh soybean sprouts are thicker and chewier than bean sprouts. But they become tender once cooked and are a great alternative for pad Thai.
Can I Substitute Celery for Bean Sprouts?
Use celery as a substitute for bean sprouts when you’re in a pinch. Celery has an earthy aroma and a crisp, watery, and fibrous texture that will add crunch to any dish.
Can I Substitute Cabbage for Bean Sprouts?
Yes, you can substitute cabbage for bean sprouts in any recipe. The plain flavor and chewy texture of cabbage work well in stir-fried dishes, salads, and soups and won’t overwhelm the aroma of other ingredients.
To replace cabbage with bean sprouts, chop the cabbage into thin strips and prepare it in dishes the same way you would bean sprouts. Substitute shredded cabbage for bean sprouts in soups and salads for extra crunch and mild flavor.
Bean sprouts are a commonly used culinary vegetable grown by sprouting beans. They have a crisp and tender texture and a mild earthy flavor.
A common ingredient in Asian cooking, bean sprouts can be found in most supermarkets and grocery stores. If you can’t find bean sprouts in your local store, there are several ingredients you can use instead. Enoki mushrooms, sunflower sprouts, soybean sprouts, snow peas, and mung beans make great replacements for bean sprouts in recipes.
Mild-tasting and crunchy, each of these ingredients will enhance the flavor profile of your chosen recipes.