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Sprouts add low-calorie nutrition

When mung bean sprouts first made their appearance as a healthy, natural food in the 1960s and ’70s, many people dismissed them as a food fad.

Thank goodness nobody paid attention to the naysayers and the sprout survived and thrived. Today dozens of varieties of gourmet sprouts grace the shelves of supermarket and farm stands and each is more delicious, and surprisingly, nutritious than the last one you tried.

All sprouts are low in calories and are virtually fat free. A cup of alfalfa sprouts contains about 10 calories, and mung bean sprouts have about 30 calories.

Sprouts are fresh when their roots are moist and white and the sprout itself is crisp. You should store sprouts in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible.

The following bean sprout recipes are a combination of salads and main courses that should tempt even the most salad-phobic diner.

Spinach Bean Sprout Salad

1 bag of baby spinach, washed and torn into pieces (4 cups)

2 cups fresh bean sprouts, washed and dried

5 or 6 green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled or smoked turkey, cubed

2 to 3 hard cooked eggs, sliced

1/2 diced red onion


1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a salad bowl combine the spinach, bean sprouts and green onion. Toss gently.

In another smaller bowl combine the oil, vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the vegetable salad and toss. Top with crumbled bacon, red onion and sliced eggs. Serves 6. Can be doubled or tripled.

Thai Carrot and Sprout Noodle Salad

This recipe is an interesting take on the traditional pad Thai. This is great at room temperature after the flavors have blended.

12 ounces linguine, cooked, drained and rinsed

4 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

8 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce or a few dashes of hot sauce

2 cups bean sprouts

1 cup finely shredded carrots

Put your cooked pasta in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons sesame oil; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet. Add 6 green onions, garlic and ginger; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce; whisk to blend. Simmer sauce 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture over the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the sprouts and carrots; mix well to combine. Transfer to a bowl or platter; and sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serves 3 to 4. This can be doubled or tripled.

EZ Bean Sprout Salad

1 pound bean sprouts, blanched

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/3 cup broccoli sprouts

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all the ingredients and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

– Submitted by Randi Carorche of Chicago Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.