Sponge Gourd: Nutrition, Benefits, Storage & Recipes

by Ella

Sponge gourd, scientifically known as Luffa aegyptiaca, is a tropical and subtropical vine cultivated for its edible fruit, which is commonly used in various cuisines around the world. Also referred to as sponge cucumber, Egyptian cucumber, or loofah, this unique vegetable offers a range of nutritional benefits and culinary versatility. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nutrition, health benefits, storage tips, and delicious recipes featuring sponge gourd.

Nutritional Profile of Sponge Gourd

Sponge gourd is a low-calorie vegetable rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s a breakdown of its nutritional composition per 100 grams:


Calories: 14 kcal


Carbohydrates: 3.1 grams


Dietary Fiber: 1.1 grams


Protein: 0.7 grams

Fat: 0.2 grams

Vitamin C: 36.7 milligrams (61% of the Daily Value)

Vitamin A: 39 micrograms (5% of the Daily Value)

Potassium: 139 milligrams (4% of the Daily Value)

Calcium: 26 milligrams (3% of the Daily Value)

Iron: 0.5 milligrams (3% of the Daily Value)

Sponge gourd is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in immune function, collagen production, and wound healing. It also provides a good amount of dietary fiber, which supports digestive health, regulates blood sugar levels, and promotes satiety. Additionally, sponge gourd contains vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and iron, contributing to overall health and well-being.

Health Benefits of Sponge Gourd

Supports Digestive Health: The high fiber content in sponge gourd promotes regularity, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy digestive system. Fiber also helps maintain optimal cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as diverticulosis and hemorrhoids.

Boosts Immune Function: Sponge gourd is rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient that supports immune function and helps protect against infections and diseases. Regular consumption of foods high in vitamin C may reduce the duration and severity of common colds and flu.

Promotes Heart Health: The potassium content in sponge gourd helps regulate blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, and support cardiovascular health. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels and improving circulation throughout the body.

Provides Antioxidant Protection: Sponge gourd contains antioxidants, including vitamin C and other phytochemicals, which help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidants play a vital role in preventing chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related degenerative disorders.

Aids Weight Management: With its low calorie and high fiber content, sponge gourd is a satisfying and nutritious addition to a weight-loss diet. Fiber helps promote feelings of fullness, reduces hunger cravings, and supports healthy weight management when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Storage Tips for Sponge Gourd

Proper storage helps maintain the freshness and quality of sponge gourd, ensuring optimal flavor and nutritional value. Here are some storage tips to keep sponge gourd fresh for longer:

Refrigeration: Store sponge gourd in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator, preferably in a perforated plastic bag to maintain humidity. Whole sponge gourds can be kept refrigerated for up to one week.

Avoid Moisture: Moisture can cause sponge gourd to spoil quickly. Ensure the vegetable is dry before storing it in the refrigerator, and avoid washing until ready to use. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth and deterioration.

Use Ventilated Containers: If storing cut or sliced sponge gourd, place it in a ventilated container or perforated plastic bag to allow for air circulation. This helps prevent moisture buildup and prolongs shelf life.

Check for Spoilage: Periodically inspect sponge gourd for signs of spoilage, such as soft spots, mold growth, or unpleasant odors. Discard any vegetables that appear spoiled to prevent contamination of other produce.

By following these storage tips, you can extend the shelf life of sponge gourd and enjoy its freshness in your favorite recipes.

3 Delicious Recipes Featuring Sponge Gourd

Now that you’re familiar with the nutritional benefits and storage tips for sponge gourd, let’s explore some delicious recipes to incorporate this versatile vegetable into your culinary repertoire:

1. Sponge Gourd Stir-Fry


  • 2 medium sponge gourds, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: sliced tofu, chicken, or shrimp for added protein


Heat sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Add sliced onion, bell pepper, and sponge gourd to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender-crisp.

Stir in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. If using protein such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp, add it to the skillet and cook until heated through.

Serve the stir-fry hot over cooked rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds or chopped green onions if desired.

2. Stuffed Sponge Gourd


  • 4 medium sponge gourds
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (such as peas, carrots, corn)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Slice the sponge gourds in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp to create a hollow cavity.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and chopped onion, and sauté until softened.
Add mixed vegetables, cooked quinoa or rice, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
Stuff each sponge gourd half with the vegetable-quinoa mixture, pressing down gently to fill the cavity.
Place stuffed sponge gourds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the gourds are tender and lightly browned on top.
Serve the stuffed sponge gourds hot as a nutritious and flavorful main dish or side.

3. Sponge Gourd Soup


  • 2 medium sponge gourds, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until softened and fragrant.

Add diced sponge gourd to the pot, along with turmeric powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour vegetable broth or water into the pot, ensuring the sponge gourd is fully submerged. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sponge gourd is tender.

Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve the sponge gourd soup hot, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves for added flavor and color.

See Also: Lettuce: Varieties, Benefits, Culinary Uses & Choosing


Sponge gourd, with its nutritional benefits, culinary versatility, and delicious flavor, is a valuable addition to any diet. Whether stir-fried, stuffed, or simmered into a comforting soup, sponge gourd offers a range of creative and nutritious possibilities in the kitchen. By incorporating this unique vegetable into your meals, you can enjoy its health benefits while savoring its delightful taste and texture.



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