Mung beans (like many legumes) are nutritional powerhouses, so it’s a great idea to incorporate them as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Though Western cuisine focuses on other bean varieties, mung beans are commonly used in Asian dishes, appearing in both sweet and savory recipes. Here are 14 mung bean-based foods to try out if you’re looking to integrate mung beans into your diet.
Mung Bean Curry
Mung beans are frequently used in both Thai and Indian cooking, so curry recipes featuring mung beans aren’t hard to come by.
This makes it easy to find a type of curry for everyone, like this mung bean and coconut milk curry or this Indian mung bean curry. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, you can cut out the cayenne pepper or chili.
You may also come across mung bean dal, which refers to boiled mung beans with some added spices (usually less than in curry). Curry usually adds other vegetables while dal is primarily boiled legumes.
Mung Bean Soups and Stews
Similar to lentils, mung beans are a great addition to soups and stews, especially if you’re looking to add in some protein.
Mung bean soup can be similar to split-pea soup by featuring the legume as the main flavor (like in this recipe), or it can be part of a nutritious vegetable soup with fire-roasted tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, and more.
Looking for a heartier meal? This stew combines potatoes, mung beans, and kale.
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
Apart from cooking mung beans, you can also sprout them as a nutritious topping on a variety of dishes or as part of a salad.
Sprouting requires soaking raw mung beans for several hours, then letting them sit at room temperature until sprouts appear.
This refreshing salad includes mung bean sprouts, greens, avocado, and peaches for a light and sweet meal.
Mung Bean Pancakes
These savory pancakes are a popular Korean street food similar to potato pancakes (rather than breakfast pancakes) and served with a soy sauce-derived dipping sauce.
They can make a crispy snack or meal. Traditionally, mung bean pancakes are fried in a lot of oil, but this recipe for mung bean pancakes with kimchi suggests pan-frying with less oil if you’re looking for a healthier option.
Mung Bean Desserts
Many Asian cultures use mung beans to create sweet desserts. The beans act as a base that is then sweetened and can take the form of a paste or pudding.
Red mung beans, or adzuki beans, are used more commonly in desserts than green or yellow mung beans that are used for savory dishes.
Buchi or Mochi
Both buchi and mochi are rice flour-based pastries (usually in the form of a ball) with mung bean filling.
Mochi, also called daifuku, is a chewy Japanese dessert. You may be able to find red bean mochi at a store or market, but here’s a refined sugar-free mochi recipe that uses coconut sugar and dates as sweeteners.
Buchi, also called sesame seed balls, is a Chinese fried dessert with a similar base as mochi but a crispy exterior and sesame seed coating. Since it requires frying, making buchi (recipe here) will take longer to make, but the crispy end result is worth it.
Similar to rice pudding, mung bean pudding is a creamy dessert often using coconut milk.
It’s a popular Southeast Asian dessert that’s normally served hot. This simple Thai recipe takes just 30 minutes to make!
You could also try making che, a Vietnamese sweet soup similar to mung bean pudding but adding tapioca pearls.
Mooncake is a Chinese dessert made of mung bean paste that can be uniform or have a filling (also made of mung bean paste).
For example, this recipe uses split mung beans for the outer paste and red mung beans for the filling.
For a fancier presentation, you can use mooncake molds to shape the paste into a design. There are also variations that add matcha powder (recipe) or lilac taro powder (recipe) to flavor and color the mooncakes.
Crunchy Mung Bean Snack
Mung beans can be fried with green onions and chili pepper to create a delicious crunchy snack.
This is a popular snack sold by street vendors in Thailand, but you can recreate it at home using this recipe.
Mung Bean Hummus
Taking from Mediterranean cuisine this time, mung beans can be used to replace chickpeas in hummus.
Similar to any bean dip, mung bean hummus is great with chips or veggies, in a sandwich or wrap, or on a salad. Use this easy recipe to make your own mung bean hummus with tahini and lime.
Mung Bean Scramble
Because of their protein content, mung beans are a great replacement for eggs in a vegan diet.
If you’re sensitive to soy, yellow mung beans are an effective substitute for tofu which normally appears in vegan scrambles.
You can make vegan scrambled eggs or a vegan mung bean omelet with breakfast potatoes.
Mung Bean Buddha Bowl
A Buddha bowl is a colorful vegetarian or vegan dish combining grains, legumes, veggies, and a protein (such as tofu) into one bowl.
Often sauces, nuts, and seeds, or pickled vegetables are added for flavor.
You can include mung beans in your buddha bowl as a legume, in sprout form, or as a sauce (this recipe uses chickpeas as the main legume with a mung bean sauce).
Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sprouts
While mung bean sprouts could be added on top of a vegetable stir-fry, they can also be stir-fried themselves.
Once sprouted, the sprouts can be stir-fried in as little as 2 minutes with this recipe. In this dish, the mung beans need longer to sprout than if you’re using them as a topping or as sprouted mung beans (where they’re still mostly in bean form).
The sprouts need to grow fully which will take 3-5 days after the initial 1-2 day wait for sprouts to first appear. Alternatively, you can buy mung bean sprouts at the store to save time.
Mung Bean Falafel
As with hummus, mung beans can again replace chickpeas in falafel.
You can eat falafel alone or in a wrap, salad, or pita bread with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and tahini.
This mung bean falafel recipe suggests topping with a spicy Korean sauce and creating a collard green wrap.
Mung Bean Noodles
Protein pastas like chickpea pasta, lentil pasta, and even blends (such as quinoa-lentil pasta) have recently become more popular in the health food world for their nutritional value, lower glycemic index, and gluten-free advantage.
Mung bean pasta, however, has been popular for many years abroad and can be purchased at any Asian food market and many supermarkets.
The noodles are often shaped as vermicelli or “bean thread” but can also be found in sheets. This recipe combines mung bean fettuccine with veggies and a peanut ginger sauce
Mung Bean Potstickers
Mung bean noodles can be added to potsticker filling to add nutrition and texture.
In this recipe, eggplant, mushrooms, green onion, and mung bean thread create the perfect vegan filling.
Mung Bean Burger
Here, mung beans replace black beans to create a nutrient-dense vegan burger. This will require a blender or food processor to get the right texture.
This burger recipe uses sprouted mung beans with mint-cilantro chutney as the condiment.
Purchasing Mung Beans
Recipes will usually guide you to the kind and amount of mung bean as well as the preparation process.
Generally, savory recipes will call for green (whole) or yellow (split/hulled) mung beans and sweet recipes will call for red mung beans (adzuki beans).
Some stores may also sell fully sprouted mung beans. When sprouting mung beans yourself, start with green (whole) mung beans.
Health Benefits Of Mung Beans
Mung Beans are great sources of vitamins and minerals like folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
One cup of mung beans provides 14g of protein, 15g of fiber, and only 0.8g of fat. Unlike other legumes, mung beans don’t cause bloating or gas due to their oligosaccharide content, so if other beans or lentils cause you digestive issues it’s a good idea to switch to mung beans.
Mung beans are also anti-inflammatory and are used in Chinese traditional medicine to detoxify the body, aid in recovery from heatstroke, and reduce gastrointestinal issues.
Recent research has found other possible benefits such as anticancer, antihypertensive, and hypoglycemic effects as well as aiding in immune system regulation.
This is because of high polyphenol content in mung beans which protects the body against oxidative stress.
Other Mung Bean Uses
Apart from consuming mung beans, they can also be used in beauty products such as facemasks (this is popular mainly in Asian cultures).
They’re thought to benefit the skin because of their vitamin content and exfoliating properties.
Additionally, mung bean skincare products boast anti-aging and acne-reducing benefits.
Mung beans also contain phytoestrogen which can mimic estrogen in the body leading to increased collagen and elastin production.