Food of the Month: Mung Beans
Care of Karen Soper and Lisa Pitman
Exploring different kinds of beans is something that most likely happens as the typical vegetarian expands their tastes and cooking repertoire. For some, they have been a staple for a long time, for others they are new green little gems. Originally cultivated in India and later migrating to China, mung beans have been a staple in the east for thousands of years. However travelled, today the tried and true nutrient value and nutrient quality of mung beans is an undisputable asset to the western vegetarian diet.
Mung beans have a bright (Shrek-like) green husk, with a yellowish flesh inside. They are small and round, about the size of pearl barley. Found in bulk food stores they are inexpensive too. Some common ways to eat mung beans include cooking them whole, with or without their skins, in soups or stews (much like lentils). Once cooked, they are very soft and smooth, presenting an almost creamy texture and sweet taste. Used raw they can be sprouted and thrown into salads for a nutritional boost.
These beans are easy to digest, an excellent source of plant protein, low in fat, low in sodium, high in fibre and a perfect food for low-calorie, nutrient-dense eating. Vitamin C is present in the sprouts, however not in the beans. Minerals that these beans contain include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Vitamins include niacin, folate, vitamins A and K.
Combined in vegetable soup or as a stand-alone dahl, adding mung beans into the weekly meal plan will enhance your healthful vegetarian diet – one little green bean at a time.