Legumes, sweet legumes!

I looove beans!  I’ve done a post about beans before but it was a bit on the silly side, so I decided to do another one with more facts and less playing around (well, maybe just a little playing around).

Not only do legumes provide you with protein and fiber, but they are also a great source of complex carbohydrates, along with B vitamins, iron, and phytonutrients.  They also promote a healthy digestive tract, may reduce your risk of some types of cancer and can help control diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

So, what is a legume?

A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or a fruit of these specific plants.  A common name for this type of fruit is a pod.  Some well known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soy, and peanuts.  There are several classes of legumes including forage, grain, blooms, pharmaceutical/industrial, fallow/green manure, and timber species.  The kind we eat are grain legumes.  Grain legumes are cultivated for their seeds, and are also called pulses(many other cultures call them pulses instead of beans or legumes like we do). The seeds are used for human and animal consumption or for the production of oils for industrial uses. Grain legumes include beans, lentils, lupins, peas, and peanuts.

Legumes contain relatively low quantities of the essential amino acid methionine, which makes it an incomplete protein (meaning that it is missing one or more of the essential amino acids).  Is it a big deal that it’s not a complete protein?  NOPE!  As long as you eat a balanced diet that has a variety of different foods you will get plenty of protein in your diet from different sources(yes, even if you are a vegan- but this is a different post for a different time).

So what do you do with them?

look in the recipe section of my blog and you’ll see several recipes!  My favorites are Brown Rice and Lentils and Spicy Black Bean Soup!!

any vegetarian or vegan cookbook will have a plethora (don’t you just love that word?!) of recipes that feature legumes!  My favorite is the Old Fashioned Lentil Loaf in The Vegan Table.  Dal is also delicious if you can find a recipe for that!

The easiest way to prepare them are to cook them very simply in a big pot of water with some salt and pepper!  See this post for details on preparing beans! (this post makes me laugh because it was way before I ever thought of becoming a vegan)


And that’s all she wrote!!  Have a great one and go eat some beans!!