Alfalfa vs Bean Sprouts: Difference and Comparison

Sprouts could be one of the best breakfast options and a great snacking option. They offer tremendous health benefits with protein content, dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals, folate, etc.


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There are various types of sprouts, bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts being a few of them. Different kinds of bean sprouts include soybean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, and adzuki bean sprouts.

Both alfalfa and bean sprouts are highly nutritious and can be eaten raw or used in salads and sandwiches. Both sprouts arise from their respective seeds when they are soaked in water.

They have a few similarities and a lot of differences between them. Alfalfa and bean sprouts differ in their attributes, appearance, crunchiness, size, market price, sprouting time, and many more aspects. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Alfalfa sprouts are made from the seeds of the alfalfa plant, while bean sprouts are made from the seeds of the mung bean or soybean.
  2. Alfalfa sprouts are smaller and more delicate than bean sprouts, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
  3. While both alfalfa and bean sprouts are nutritious and can be used in various dishes, they have different textures and flavor profiles.

Alfalfa Sprouts vs Bean Sprouts

The difference between alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts is that alfalfa sprouts are thinner, less crunchy, and more delicate compared to thicker bean sprouts which are more crunchy and toasty.

Apart from being consumed by humans, Alfalfa sprouts are also consumed by livestock and are costlier than bean sprouts.

Alfalfa Sprouts vs Bean Sprouts

Also, alfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content and take more time to sprout compared to bean sprouts.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlfalfa Sprouts Bean Sprouts 
SizeAlfalfa sprouts are quite thinner in diameter compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are thicker in diameter and larger in size compared to alfalfa sprouts.
CrunchAlfalfa sprouts, being more delicate, are less crunchier than bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are crunchier than alfalfa sprouts.
Appearance Alfalfa sprouts are white shoots that are thin and delicate with a leaf-like green apex.Bean sprouts are long dull-white shoots that arise when the mung beans are soaked in water.
Protein contentAlfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts have a relatively higher protein content compared to alfalfa sprouts.
Sprouting timeAlfalfa sprouts take more time to sprout compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts take comparatively less time to sprout than alfalfa sprouts.
CostAlfalfa sprouts are costlier compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are cheaper compared to alfalfa sprouts.
UsesAlfalfa sprouts are used as fodder for livestock and consumed by men. These are used to prepare salads and sandwiches. Its leaves are often used as a dietary supplement in tablets or tea.Apart from being used in salads and sandwiches, bean sprouts can also be cooked to prepare broth and soups and are common in East Asia.

What are Alfalfa Sprouts?

Alfalfa, with the botanical name Medicago sativa, is a leguminous plant that comes under the family Fabaceae.

It is mainly cultivated in temperate areas as animal fodder and has purple flowers. Its root nodules contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Alfalfa sprouts are rich in water content, carbs, proteins, fibres, vitamins, and minerals and have negligible fat.

Alfalfa seeds are put in a jar or container with water and left to sprout. They take 3 to 4 days to sprout. Alfalfa sprouts are quite delicate, so they are not cooked.

They are eaten raw in sandwiches and salads.

alfalfa sprouts 1

What are Bean Sprouts?

Primarily consumed in East Asia, bean sprouts are popular worldwide.

They are sprouted in a variety of ways. In countries like China, India, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia, mung bean sprouts are used to prepare different cuisines.

Mung bean sprouts and soya bean sprouts are the two most popular.

Mung bean sprouts are crunchy and toasty. They are a bit thicker, and they are often cooked and fried apart from being eaten raw.

With high nutritional value, mung beans can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, aid digestion, help reduce the risk of heart diseases by lowering bad cholesterol levels in the blood, and can be very beneficial to your health if you consume them frequently.

bean sprouts

Main Differences Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts

  1. Bean sprouts can be quickly grown and are cheaper than alfalfa sprouts, which are costlier and take more time to grow.
  2. Humans primarily consume bean sprouts, while alfalfa sprouts are primarily consumed by livestock though it is consumed by humans also.
  3. Alfalfa sprouts have white shoots with tiny leaf-like green structures at the tips, while beans are dull white shoots from soaked moong beans.
  4. Alfalfa sprouts are thinner and more delicate than bean sprouts.
  5. Bean sprouts are crunchier than alfalfa sprouts.
  6. Alfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content than bean sprouts.
  7. Alfalfa sprouts can not be cooked or stir-fried; thus, it is used in sandwiches and salads, while bean sprouts can be cooked and fried and thus can be used to prepare soups apart from salads and sandwiches.
Difference Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts
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