Photo: Courtesy of The Crunchy Radish.
By Miranda Hammer

Every year a hot new food item, touted as being able to make you feel better and look better, emerges. Often though, this trend-setting food has been around all along and isn't new at all. Mung beans have been praised for their nutrient properties by health-minded individuals and holistic practitioners for years and, most recently, they have started making their way into the mainstream dining arena. So, what exactly are mung beans, and once you find them, what the heck do you do with them?

Mung beans are legumes that are close relatives to lentils. They can be found in both the sprouted form, which can be utilized in sandwiches or salads, or in their whole bean form. Mung beans are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which helps move things along your digestive tract. Dietary fiber also aids in feeling full and assists with weight management and weight loss. Mung beans are a source of plant-based protein, making the bean a great addition to your meatless Monday meal or your vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

For women, mung beans pack a powerful punch of folate and B6, which can promote fertility, alleviate menstrual cramps, and support fetal development. These legumes also contain potassium, which is an essential mineral needed for optimal cardiovascular health and nerve function. As an added bonus, these beans are quicker to cook and easier to digest than chickpeas or kidney beans and can eliminate some of the unwanted side affects of bean consumption. 

Mung beans are slightly sweet and nutty, lending themselves to soups, stews, or curries. They can be soaked, sprouted, and added to a sandwich or simply cooked and tossed in a salad like the recipe below. No matter how you prep them, these nutrient-dense legumes have some serious sticking power for 2015 and beyond. 

Related: How To Make A Farro Salad


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Photo: Courtesy of The Crunchy Radish.
Mung Bean and Farro Salad
Makes 4 entrée-sized salads

Ingredients
For The Salad

1 cup cooked or soaked and sprouted mung beans
1 cup cooked farro
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
5 radishes, thinly sliced and halved
4 cups mixed baby greens (màche lettuce pictured)
1/2 small head of radicchio, chopped
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and thinly sliced

For The Lemon Vinaigrette
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp grated organic lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper 

Instructions
Combine mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a jar; season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, then cover and shake to combine. Continue adding the rest of the oil and shaking until ingredients are well incorporated, and dressing is thick and uniform in color. 

In a large bowl, add the mung beans and farro. Spoon 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette over beans and farro, and mix well. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and the dressing, toss lightly, and serve immediately. 

Next: A Delicious Way To Eat Chickpeas

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