Let’s Talk Legumes!

Legumes are one of the best sources of vegetable protein and are far more than just a simple ingredient on the winter menu. 

For far too long, dishes with legumes have been considered simple or “just” for vegetarians. But after a number of star chefs showed creative ways to use peas, lentils, and beans, legumes started gaining popularity. The United Nations even named 2016 the International Year of Pulses (Legumes) to raise awareness about the sustainability, affordability, and versatility of this food group.
Since the legume group encompasses everything from quinoa to beans (there are over 12,000 different types of legumes), there are thousands of recipes to explore.

Let’s Talk Legumes

Here are few tips for when you are buying dried legumes or beans.

When buying dried legumes, choose a transparent packaging with a printed expiration date. This allows you to check the quality of what you are buying. Getting your legumes from a bulk store is also a great idea because the turnover rate in these stores is usually high, meaning that you get fresh product. When inspecting the legumes, look for uniform size as well as clean, smooth, shiny surfaces. If they smell fresh and spicy when you unpack them, they are most likely fine. However, circular holes, dark spots, or even a “floury” powder at the bottom of the packaging, may indicate insect or worm infestation.

For more tips about legumes/beans check out the websites below:
https://mamabake.com/2014/06/13/dry-pulses-beans-guide-buy-store-soak-cook/

https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/10/beans-legumes-pulses-varieties-recipes-cooking-tips.html

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/dried-beans-worth-effort

Beans – Vegetables, or Protein?

In the case of beans, Metabolic Balance distinguishes between those which belong to the vegetable group and those which belong to the protein group:

Beans, which are considered a source of protein, are legumes (white beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans red kidney beans, lima beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed beans, etc. ). Beans that are classified as vegetables are green beans (string/green beans, French beans or Chinese long beans). There are also new varieties, such as yellow beans, which may also be used. The amount in the nutrition plan always refers to dry AKA uncooked weight. If using already cooked or pre-soaked protein beans, the indicated amount should be simply doubled.