This mung bean soup recipe with lemony vegetables is a hearty and warming vegetarian meal that makes for an easy weeknight dinner. Serve with crusty bread and cozy up to a bowl!
A year ago, I’m not sure I even knew what a mung bean was.
It’s alternatively known as green gram, maash, moong, monggo, or munggo. Talk about having a few nicknames!
Sure, I’ve had and made plenty of lentil recipes before and mung beans certainly look just like lentils.
But, I’m certain I never bought them before and it’s quite possible never tried them either.
One of my favorite health focused podcasts mentioned mung beans one episode and a quick google search later I found myself on Amazon buying a bag of sprouted organic mung beans (that’s the brand I use and I’ve seen it pretty widely available in stores too).
Then the question became “ok, now what?”.
So the fun part began and I started playing around with mung beans much the same way I would lentils.
I took my Instant Pot lentil vegetable soup recipe and recreated it with mung beans.
Next, I made an Indian dal recipe except once again, substituted mung beans for lentils. I really enjoyed that one as anything Indian or curry based is always a favorite.
I’ve even used them in this lentil stuffed eggplant recipe.
Sometimes, I just cook up a batch and use them in cold salads like this lentil avocado salad. I’ll either enjoy that as is or add some canned fatty fish like sardines, salmon or mackerel for a nutritious lunch option.
That’s a round about way of saying, there’s plenty of possibilities when it comes to mung beans.
And since they act quite similar to all the other pulses (lentils, beans, split peas, etc.) there’s no reason to be intimidated by this odd little greenish yellow bean.
With a streak of cooler, cloudy days recently and a fridge bursting with fresh produce, this mung bean soup came to life.
They bring a wonderful satiating heartiness to this vegetarian soup and the pop of bright lemon flavor makes this one perfect for early spring days.
It’s the kind of soup that fits right in between the changing of seasons with its well balanced profile.
If you need a summer recipe like this, try this Italian ciambotta, you could even add mung beans to it for some protein!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MUNG BEANS
Like all pulses, mung beans are rich in vitamins and minerals. Potassium and magnesium specifically.
They’re a great vegetarian source of protein (with about 14g per cooked cup) and fiber (about 15g per cup).
Mung beans also contain quite a few antioxidants which fight free radical damage in our bodies.
Because mung beans are often consumed sprouted (you’ll see them in grocery stores among all the other bean sprouts), some of these health benefits are actually enhanced.
Sprouting (anything not just mung beans) changes the nutritional composition of a food resulting in fewer calories and more free amino acids and antioxidants.
It also lowers the amounts of phytic acid and makes the bean more easily digestible.
Phytic acid is labeled as an “anti-nutrient” because it lowers the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Phytates are what’s found in beans and legumes that have given them a little bit of a bad rap in recent years (specifically among the paleo crowd).
So sprouting any pulse (which is super easy to do yourself!) is a great way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of these foods if that’s something that concerns you.
Here’s a great tutorial on how to sprout your own mung beans if that’s of interest.
SPLIT VS. WHOLE MUNG BEANS
I’ve found dried mung beans to often be sold in the “split” form instead of whole.
A whole mung bean is a round shape and very green. If you’re interested in sprouting, you’ll need to make sure to use whole mung beans.
Split mung beans, however, have been hulled (the outer skin removed) so they appear more yellowish in color than a vivid green.
See the picture above for what dry split mung beans look like.
The benefit of using split mung beans is that they are more easily digestible (and therefore better for anyone that finds pulses or legumes hard on their stomachs) and they cook much quicker.
This mung bean soup uses dried split mung beans which don’t require soaking overnight or any extended preparation. They’re much more conducive to a quick one-pot soup meal like this.
You can use whole mung beans but you’ll have to soak them overnight, rinse well and they’ll have to cook longer in the soup than this recipe calls for.
Much like I don’t often buy dried whole beans (except occasionally when making something like these Instant Pot tomato white beans), I don’t typically buy whole mung beans either.
The split variety is just a lot easier!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS VEGETABLE MUNG BEAN SOUP
- extra virgin olive oil
- yellow onion
- ground turmeric
- green beans
- crushed tomatoes
- vegetable broth
- split mung beans
- salt & pepper
- lemon juice and zest
Keep in mind, the vegetables you choose to use in this soup are totally flexible.
I consider this a good “clean out the fridge” type of meal. Use whatever you have on hand. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnips, leafy greens would all work fine.
Frozen varieties of these vegetables would also work well!
And if you’re not digging the tomato base, just omit the crushed tomatoes and use extra broth. Alternatively, diced tomatoes could be used.
All in all, the recipe is actually really similar in nature to this Tuscan kale soup that also uses basic ingredients and can easily be tweaked to what you have on hand.
HOW TO MAKE ONE POT MUNG BEAN SOUP
To start, place the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
Add the onions and sauté until slightly softened.
Next, add the carrots, celery, garlic and turmeric. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring a few times.
Add the zucchini, green beans, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth and half of the lemon juice and zest to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook for about 15 minutes until vegetables have softened. Season with some salt and pepper.
Add the mung beans to the soup, stir to combine and cook for another 10-12 minutes.
The mung beans should be tender but retain a slight bite to them.
They shouldn’t be “mushy” with this length of time and that’s intentional. I prefer them this way.
If you’d rather they sort of dissolve into the soup, cook for another 5-10 minutes.
With a longer cooking time, they act much like red lentils do when cooked down and become a bit mushy (albeit a tasty mush!).
Add the remaining lemon juice and zest, season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve with freshly chopped parsley to garnish.
Like I said earlier, this soup lives right in the balance of hearty yet light. Bright yet savory. Warming yet fresh.
Perfect for a cool spring day and a fun way to explore the world of mung beans if that’s something that’s new to you.
They’re a great pantry staple to add to your mix and play around with!
TRY MORE SOUPS AND STEWS LIKE THIS:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 6 ounces green beans, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup sprouted mung beans, rinsed
- juice and zest of 2 lemons, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Place olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.
- Add the celery, carrot and garlic to the pot. Cook another 5 minutes then add turmeric and stir to combine.
- Add zucchini and green beans to the pot along with crushed tomatoes, broth and juice and zest from 1 lemon. Stir to combine all the ingredients and summer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Next, add the rinsed mung beans into the pot, season with salt and pepper, stir and simmer another 10 minutes until the mung beans are softened but retain a little bit of a bite.
- Add remaining lemon juice and zest. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh parsley.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 783mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 16gProtein: 7g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.