A Comprehensive List Of All The Different Types Of Microgreens

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Microgreens have gained popularity since their introduction to Californian restaurants in the 1980s. These aromatic greens are rich in flavor, adding color to the dishes. As per the study titled “Culinary Assessment of Self-Produced Microgreens as Basic Ingredients in Sweet and Savory Dishes,” published in the Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, international gastronomy greatly benefitted from the added colors and flavors of microgreens. Despite being smaller in size, microgreens are rich in nutrients. The nutritional value of microgreens is more than mature plants.

Microgreens are small plants that are approximately 1-3 inches tall. They are considered baby plants, lying between a sprout and baby green. They are not classified under sprouts as they have leaves. Moreover, sprouts have a shorter growing cycle of 2-7 days, whereas microgreens are harvested 7-21 days after germination. 

Microgreens resemble baby greens in that only the stem and leaves are edible. However, unlike baby greens, microgreens are smaller and can be sold before being harvested. 

Microgreens are very convenient to grow as they require significantly less attention. In addition, they can be planted in various locations. The list of locations where microgreens can be planted includes the outdoors, in greenhouses, and even on a windowsill.

Types of Microgreens

Here is the complete microgreens list of various types of microgreens. Seeds of microgreens to be planted can be taken from the following families of plants:-

  • Brassicaceae family:- Few members of this family include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, radish, and watercress. These are plants that are generally the thick stem or stalk of a plant.
  • Asteraceae family:- Lettuce and chicory belong to this family. Generally, plants and shrubs from this family have compound flowers and one-seeded fruits.
  • Apiaceae family:- Vegetables like carrots and celery belong to this family. Umbelliferous flowering plants grow easily and have various parts used as food.
  • Amaranthaceae family:- Amaranth, beet, and spinach are the members of this family. This group of plants is characteristically shrubs with opposite facing leaves that have roots and other parts often used as food.
  • Cucurbitaceae family:- Melon, cucumber, and squash are a part of this family. These food items are typically derived from climber plants with water-rich fruits.

Not only these, but cereals like rice, oats, wheat, and barley can also be grown as microgreens. Microgreens vary in taste, ranging from neutral to spicy, sweet to sour, depending on the variety. However, they usually have an intense and concentrated flavor.

Nutritional Value of Microgreens

Although the nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties of microgreens have potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper. Microgreens are a storehouse of antioxidants like polyphenols. The nutrient content of microgreens is concentrated, which means that they contain more vitamins and minerals than their mature counterparts. 

Moreover, research has shown that microgreens can have up to nine times higher nutrient levels than mature greens. Another study titled “Comparison between the mineral profile and nitrate content of microgreens and mature lettuces,” published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis has reported that microgreens contain 40 times more antioxidants than mature plants. Here are the nutritive values of some of the most popular options from the microgreens list.

Cucumber and jute (from the Cucurbitaceae family) have 25 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of fresh weight. Bottle Gourd and water spinach contain 4.76 mg of zinc per kg fresh weight and 29.12 mg of zinc per kg fresh weight, respectively. The value of zinc present is almost four times more when they are microgreens as compared to their mature state.

Some studies claim that sometimes fully grown crops contain more nutrients than microgreens. Hence, the nutrition derived from microgreens varies based on species.

What are the Health Benefits of Microgreens?

Consumption of microgreens can lower the risk of several diseases. This can be attributed to the high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that they contain.

Microgreens usually reduce the risk of the following diseases:-

  • Diabetes:- Antioxidants present in microgreens minimize the type of stress that can reduce the entry of sugar into the cells. In vivo studies on fenugreek microgreens have shown that microgreens enhance cellular glucose uptake by about 25-44%.
  • Alzheimer’s disease:- Antioxidants like polyphenols present in microgreens may be linked to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Cardiovascular disease:- Animal studies have shown that microgreens can reduce the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. These lipids are usually responsible for causing strokes and heart attacks.
  • Cancers:- Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like polyphenols may lower certain types of cancer.

Although the health benefits of microgreens seem promising, the number of studies measuring the effect of microgreens on these medical conditions is limited, and no studies have been conducted on humans.

Can Consuming Microgreens be Risky?

Eating microgreens is usually safe. Nevertheless, there is a risk of food poisoning, although the potential for the growth of bacteria is much smaller in microgreens than in sprouts. Microgreens usually require slightly less warm and humid conditions to grow than sprouts. Moreover, only the leaf and stem are consumed rather than the root and seed. Try not to add all ingredients from the microgreens list together in one bowl or plate. Mix it up with some other food groups as well.

Suppose someone is planning to grow microgreens at home. It is advisable to buy the seeds from a reputable company and choose growing mediums that are free of contamination with harmful bacteria like salmonella and E.coli. The most common growing mediums are pear, perlite, and vermiculite.

How can Microgreens be Included in the Diet?

There are several ways in which microgreens can be included in the diet. Microgreens can be used in various dishes, including sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Microgreens can be blended into smoothies or juices. If you refer to the entire microgreens list, many options can serve as a replacement for one ingredient in every dish. If you try, microgreens can garnish pizzas, soup, omelets, and curries. 

How Can You Grow Your Own Microgreens?

Microgreens can be grown quickly and usually do not require much equipment or time. In addition, they can be grown throughout the year, both indoors and outdoors.

One needs good quality seeds to get a good yield of microgreens. Proper lighting, either sunlight or ultraviolet lighting, is required for at least 12-16 hours a day. An excellent growing medium can ensure the optimum growth of microgreens. One may use homemade compost or a container filled with potting soil. Alternatively, a single-use growing mat can be used to grow microgreens.

First of all, fill the container with soil, ensure it is not overcompressed, and add water lightly. Then sprinkle the seeds of your choice on top of the soil as evenly as possible. The container is then covered with a plastic lid. The tray is checked daily, and water is sprinkled as needed by the seeds to keep them moist. After germinating the seeds, remove the plastic lid and expose them to sunlight. After about 7 to 10 days, the microgreens should be harvested.


Microgreens are not only full of flavor but are also highly nutritious. They can be incorporated into our diet in many ways. They can reduce the risk of diabetes and potential cardiovascular diseases but can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. Since they can be grown quickly, they are a cost-effective way to increase nutrient intake without purchasing large quantities of vegetables.


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Renna, M., Di Gioia, F., Leoni, B., Mininni, C., & Santamaria, P. (2017). Culinary assessment of self-produced microgreens as basic ingredients in sweet and savory dishes. Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, 15(2), 126–142. https://doi.org/10.1080/15428052.2016.1225534

Renna, M., Di Gioia, F., Leoni, B., Mininni, C., & Santamaria, P. (2017). Culinary assessment of self-produced microgreens as basic ingredients in sweet and savory dishes. Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, 15(2), 126–142. https://doi.org/10.1080/15428052.2016.1225534

Weber, C. F. (2017). Broccoli microgreens: A mineral-rich crop that can diversify food systems. Frontiers in nutrition, 4, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2017.00007

Xiao, Z., Lester, G. E., Luo, Y., & Wang, Q. (2012). Assessment of vitamin and carotenoid concentrations of emerging food products: edible microgreens. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60(31), 7644–7651. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf300459b

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