When it comes to eating your greens, it turns out that you don’t have to go big or go home. Even the teeny-tiny versions of your favorite veggies (think broccoli, spinach, peas, arugula, cilantro, cabbage and radishes) pack a powerful nutritional punch. So, what are these mini-me versions exactly? “Micro-greens are veggie seedlings — harvested for less than 14 days, just when the first little shoots sprout,” says Brooke Alpert, founder of B Nutritious and co-author of The Sugar Detox (out in late June).
Once used as simply a garnish, microgreens got a bump from a C- to A-list veggie after a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that they contained crazy amounts of nutrients compared to their full-grown versions — essentially stellar levels of vitamin C, K, and E in red cabbage and radishes, as well as antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene in cilantro. “Micro-greens have all the nutrients — vitamins and phytochemicals — needed to help them grow to mature size,” explains Alpert.
But. she says, it doesn’t mean the micro versions can replace the real deal. “They are nutritionally dense, but they don’t have the same amount of fiber that full-size vegetables do. So, you don’t want to replace regular veggies, you just want to add them to your diet — it’s an easy way to get a nutritional powerhouse into your meals.” Throw some of the tiny, flavorful, and texture-added goodness over your salad or sandwich, or use them as a full-blown side dish with your salmon or steak. Why? Because nobody puts microgreens in the corner.