Microgreens: Tiny Nutrient Powerhouses To Add To Your Salads

In recent years, microgreens have taken the culinary world by storm, earning their rightful place as not just a garnish but a nutritional powerhouse. These tiny, tender seedlings of vegetables and herbs pack a punch when it comes to essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a must-add ingredient to your salads. 

Despite their small size, microgreens boast a concentrated dose of nutrients, often surpassing their mature counterparts in terms of nutritional value. In this article, we will delve into the world of microgreens, exploring their origins, nutritional benefits, culinary versatility, and the simple steps to grow them at home. So, get ready to elevate your salads to new nutritional heights with these vibrant and flavourful microgreens.

The Rise of Microgreens

Microgreens may be a recent trend in the culinary world, but their history dates back thousands of years. Ancient civilizations, such as the Persians, Egyptians, and Chinese, were known to include microgreens in their diets for their unique flavours and nutritional benefits. 

Fast forward to the 1980s, when chefs in California began using microgreens as a fresh and vibrant garnish to elevate their dishes' visual appeal. Since then, these tiny greens have gained popularity not only for their aesthetics but also for their remarkable nutrient density.

Nutritional Benefits of Microgreens

What sets microgreens apart from their mature counterparts is their concentrated nutrient content. As seedlings, they are at their most nutritionally dense stage, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more nutrients by weight compared to their fully grown counterparts.

Some of the key nutritional benefits of microgreens include:

  • Rich in Vitamins: Microgreens are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Vitamin A supports healthy vision, vitamin C boosts the immune system, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and vitamin K aids in blood clotting and bone health.
  • Abundant Minerals: Microgreens provide essential minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, all of which play crucial roles in various bodily functions.
  • Antioxidant Powerhouses: Microgreens are rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help protect cells from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  • High in Fibre: Despite their small size, microgreens contain dietary fibre that aids digestion and supports gut health.

Culinary Versatility of Microgreens

Beyond their impressive nutritional profile, microgreens offer a delightful burst of flavour and texture to dishes. Their tender leaves come in a variety of flavours, ranging from mild and sweet to peppery and tangy, depending on the plant variety. Common microgreens include broccoli, radish, sunflower, pea shoots, and cilantro.

Microgreens can be used in a multitude of culinary applications, such as:

  • Salads: Toss microgreens into your favourite salad mix for added color, flavour, and nutrition.
  • Sandwiches and Wraps: Sprinkle microgreens on sandwiches and wraps for a fresh and crunchy element.
  • Soups and Stews: Garnish hot soups and stews with a handful of microgreens for an extra layer of taste and nutrients.

  • Smoothies: Blend microgreens into smoothies for a nutrient-packed green boost.
  • Omelets and Scrambles: Add microgreens to your morning omelets or scrambled eggs for a nutritious start to the day.
  • Pizza and Pasta: Top pizzas or pasta dishes with microgreens for a vibrant touch and added nutrients.

Growing Microgreens at Home

One of the most exciting aspects of microgreens is that they are easy to grow at home, even if you don't have a garden. Growing microgreens indoors requires minimal space, and they are ready to harvest within a few weeks. Here's a simple guide to growing microgreens at home:

  • Choose Your Seeds: Select microgreen seeds of your choice, such as radish, sunflower, or broccoli, from a reputable source.
  • Prepare Containers: Use shallow containers with drainage holes to sow the seeds. You can use trays, shallow pots, or even repurpose plastic containers.
  • Add Soil: Fill the containers with a thin layer (about 1 to 2 inches) of moistened potting mix or a soilless growing medium.
  • Sow the Seeds: Scatter the seeds evenly over the soil surface, ensuring they are not too crowded. Lightly press the seeds into the soil.
  • Water and Cover: Water the seeds gently and cover the containers with a plastic lid or plastic wrap to create a humid environment.

  • Provide Light: Place the containers in a warm spot with indirect sunlight or use a grow light to provide adequate light for germination.
  • Water Regularly: Check the soil moisture daily and water as needed to keep it consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Harvest: After 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the variety, your microgreens will be ready for harvest. Simply snip them just above the soil line with clean scissors.


Microgreens may be tiny, but they are undoubtedly nutrient powerhouses that can elevate your salads and other dishes to new levels of flavour and nutrition. Their concentrated nutrient content, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, makes them an excellent addition to a balanced diet. 

Whether store-bought or grown at home, microgreens offer a fresh and vibrant touch to your culinary creations, providing both visual appeal and remarkable health benefits. So, the next time you're looking to add an extra dose of nutrition and flavour to your salads, consider incorporating these tiny greens and watch your dishes come alive with color, taste, and vitality.