Korean Soybean Sprouts (Kongnamul-muchim)
Crunchy, spicy, and flavorful Korean soybean sprouts are a super easy, super nutritious side dish you will love. If you’ve ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you will often find this staple Korean side dish in the banchan that is served. Growing up, this was one of my favorite Korean dishes my mom made, and the best part was the next day she would make the best bibimbap with it. This delicious dish can be served hot or cold, and is so good paired with bulgogi, Korean chicken, or spicy Korean pork.
Why Bean Sprouts are Good For You!
Soybean sprouts are commonly found in a lot of Asian cuisine and has been a staple in the Korean diet since The Three Kingdoms of Korea (18BC-660AD) . There are so many way to add soybean sprouts to your diet aside from this tasty dish including stir frys, soups, and on salads.
Soybean sprouts are a nice macro balanced food to add to a whole food diet, one cup of soybean sprouts has 9 grams of protein in it, 5 grams of fat, and 7 grams of carbohydrates. Add to it the soluble and insouble fiber, water, and other nutrients, for a humble little bean, it packs a nutritional punch!
Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and reduces oxidative stress and is also converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential in the health of your eyes, skin, bones, kidneys, and lungs.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): A water soluble vitamin that is essential in glucose metabolism and supports health heart and nervous system function.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Converts carbohydrates to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which supports energy production .
Vitamin B3 (niacin): Supports healthy blood fat levels and blood sugars .
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Supports metabolic pathways and plays a role in making red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): There are many benefits from a diet rich in vitamin B6. It plays a role in our immune health, metabolism, and brain health. Vitamin B6 is essential in creating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in emotional health and sleep .
Vitamin B9 (folate): This vitamin is essential in the production of your genetic material (DNA and RNA), supports metabolism, and works with other B vitamins in regulating homocysteine .
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress, improves the absorption of non-heme iron, supports the immune system, and healthy bones .
Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body and is essential in maintaining health teeth and bones as well as heart, muscle and nerve function .
Iron: Heme iron that is easily absorbed and is necessary in the formation of hemoglobin .
Magnesium: The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it support healthy nerve functions, healthy blood pressure, and detoxification.
Phosphorus: Supports healthy teeth and bones, muscle recovery after working out, and detoxification.
Potassium: Potassium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and it is an essential electrolyte necessary in nervous system function, metabolism, hydration, and in regulating your heartbeat.
Sodium: Necessary for nerve impulses to move throughout the body, helps to maintain mineral balance and hydration, and is important in muscle contraction and relaxation .
Copper: Essential mineral in the formation of red blood cells and in supporting cardiovascular health and immune function .
Manganese: Essential mineral in supporting blood sugar regulation, glucose metabolism, and supporting healthy brain and nerve function .
Selenium: Supports thyroid health  and supports your immune system.
Zinc: Essential in digestion, thyroid health, and a healthy immune system.
There are more benefits to including Brussels sprouts to a whole food diet as the fiber they contain supports a healthy and optimized digestive tract! They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber:
Insoluble fiber: Works to keep things moving along and helps with toxin and waste elimination.
Soluble fiber : Soluble fiber works to support a healthy microbiome and supports healthy blood sugar regulation.
When you sprout foods like lentils, beans, and seeds, you increase the bioavailability of the nutrients within them by reducing the levels of phytates that exist in the seed. Phytates, also known as phytic acid is actually an antioxidant, but has a negative impact on the absorption of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It does this by binding to these minerals and hindering their absorption in your small intestine . Sprouting also increases the nutrient content of the soybean sprouts as it “increases protein content but also reduces fat, trypsin inhibitor and phytic acid” , which means that nutrient density increases while the anti-nutrient compounds decrease.
Korean Soybean Sprouts Ingredients
How to Make Korean Soybean Sprouts
1. Rinse and clean the soybean sprouts in a sink or large basin filled with cold water. Remove any skins or inedible beans.
2. Drain the soybean sprouts in a colander.
3. Add about 2″ of water to a large pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
4. Add the soybean sprouts and steam for 2-3 minutes, tossing 2-3 times to evenly steam the sprouts; steam to al dente.
5. Transfer to a colander and drain the steaming liquid, replace the soybean sprouts back to the pot.
6. Add the sesame seed oil, gochugaru flakes, and salt and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
Korean Soybean Sprouts
- Rinse and clean the soybean sprouts in a sink or large basin filled with cold water. Remove any skins or inedible beans.
- Drain the soybean sprouts in a colander.
- Add about 2" of water to a large pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Add the soybean sprouts and steam for 2-3 minutes, tossing 2-3 times to evenly steam the sprouts; steam to al dente.
- Transfer to a colander and drain the steaming liquid, replace the soybean sprouts back to the pot.
- Add the sesame seed oil, gochugaru flakes, and salt and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
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Q: Can I use mung bean sprouts to make this recipe?
A: Yes, however, the flavor and texture will not be the same. I would steam them only 1-2 minutes to prevent them from becoming too overcooked and soggy.
Q: Where do I find fresh soybean sprouts?
A: Try calling around to some of your local Korean markets to find fresh soybean sprouts.
Q: How long will Korean soybean sprouts last?
A: Stored in the fridge in an airtight container, they should last up to 3 days.
Q: If I can’t find fresh soybean sprouts, can I sprout my own?
A: Yes, just be sure that you buy organic soybeans that are not genetically modified.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
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