Legumes a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. Legumes are healthy, delicious and cheap! Legumes are typically high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium and contain no cholesterol. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat. Here are some of our favourites.
Beans provide some of the most protein compared to other plant-based foods. Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving. Beans are health-promoting, protein-packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. A diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease your risk of many chronic diseases, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol and help maintain a healthy weight. The list goes on..
If you can master the magic of adding beans to your dishes, you won't need to be climbing any beanstalk but you will have the strength to do so!
Black beans are one of our favourites and they're loaded with with fibre, folate, potassium, and protein. Overall, nutritional and very versatile; we add them to our chillis, soups, salads and tacos. Check out our black bean taco recipe.
Chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with a high protein content. They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fibre, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds. We love adding chickpeas to curries, salads and even making our own hummus (See recipe)
Lentils are a great source of protein and fibre. They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups, spice-infused dahls, shepherds pie or even burgers. The type of fibre has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your colon, promoting a healthy gut. Lentils may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, excess body weight and some types of cancer. Lentils are rich in folate, manganese and iron. They also contain a good amount of antioxidants and other health-promoting plant compounds. Lentils are nutritional powerhouses and that's why they're in our top 4. Have a go at our Moroccan spiced lentils. So easy to make and delicious to eat!
Split peas You've probably heard of split pea soup, well split peas can be added to lots of different soups for that creamy texture. Split peas offer significant levels of protein, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. A diet rich in split peas and other legumes may help reduce cholesterol and hypertension. They are high in protein and fibre, and low in fat and easy to add to dishes as you don't need to soak before cooking. There are two types of split peas: green and yellow. Green split peas are sweeter and less starchy than the milder yellow split peas. Peas also contain 25% of your daily fibre, vitamin A, C, K, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements. So shut up and eat your dam peas!
Try out some of these plant-based recipes below that are packed with protein and goodness!
Sweet potato, black bean and avocado tacos
1 3/4 lb. sweet potatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 avocado, thinly sliced
8 corn tortillas
Chop sweet potatoes and toss in olive oil, chilli powder and salt. Roast for about 30 mins.
Cook salsa verde with black beans until warm.
Serve on tortillas. Add a little jalapeño for an extra kick or a sprinkle of vegan feta.
1 tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. tahini sesame paste
1 tsp. ground coriander
Blend together and serve with warm pitta. Its as easy as that! Mix it up by adding plant based pesto or a little chilli.
1 cup green lentils well drained
3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp smoked or sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
3/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
Cook lentils for 30 mins until tender.
Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato paste, coconut sugar, sea salt, paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and apple cider vinegar into a food processor.
Mix to thoroughly combine. Adjust flavour as needed.
Add to lentils once cooked. Eat immediately or add to cauliflower rice or salads.
We'd love to hear what your favourite plant-based protein dishes are, feel free to share yours in the comments below!
We'll be sure to share some more soon.
Stay safe and healthy,
Liverpool Health & Wellbeing :)