I have received so many questions regarding legumes. It seems a lot of people have never eaten legumes or cooked with them and are not sure what to do with them so I decided to write this blogpost to clear some of the confusion and hopefully inspire you to start including them in your diet every day! Plus they are very budget-friendly!
Benefits of including (1/2 cup of dry) legumes into your diet daily include:
- Higher intake of fibre (better digestion);
- Higher intake of protein;
- Higher intake of folate, zinc, iron and magnesium;
- Lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat (reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases)
Legumes include lentils (brown, French or red/coral), chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), red kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, soya beans, peas (split/ garden). There are more varieties but these are the kind that are commonly found in supermarkets.
They come dry/ uncooked or pre-cooked and canned. Can legumes/beans are still very healthy and very convenient. Try choosing low salt options if possible. Having canned beans in the pantry is so helpful on busy nights or for adding a quick boost of protein for the kids.
My favourite ways to use legumes are simply to open a can of chickpeas/lentils or beans, drain and rinse them and add them to whatever meal I am cooking to bulk it up and add extra plant-based goodness.
- Canned chickpeas/ lentils and beans in salads
- Canned lentils for a lentil Bolognese pasta
- Canned chickpeas for chickpea coconut curries
- Dry red lentils for dhals
- Canned cannellini beans in soups
- Canned black beans for Mexican tacos/nachos/burritos.
- Smashed chickpeas with hummus for sandwich fillings
- Roasted chickpeas to add to salads or snack on.
- Beans to snack on.
- Chickpeas to make hummus
- Making bean-based brownies
Some of my past recipes using legumes are:
I hope you will find this post useful. If you would like more help with your plant-based diet I have available spots for nutrition coaching (available worldwide).