Legumes are plants with pods. They are a staple of many diets around the world including Asia, India, South and Central America, and the Middle East. Though legumes are a part of the American diet, they are not used as a primary source of protein as in other countries, except by vegetarians and vegans.
Did You Know? Peanuts are considered legumes.
Legumes are a healthy source of protein and are considered a complete protein (contains all essential amino acids). A half a cup has the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat. They are low in unsaturated fat and are cholesterol-free, high in fiber and vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. They also will not cause increases in blood sugar as quickly as other carbohydrates.
Legumes, such as lentils or black beans, can be used as substitutes for ground beef in taco salads and soups or be made into a patty as a replacement for a hamburger patty in a burger. Hummus, made from legumes, can be used in the place of mayonnaise as a sandwich spread and bean purée in place of butter.
Combined with other plant foods legumes can help to make a balanced and healthy diet.
Recipe – Edamame Basil Hummus
2 cups frozen mukimame (shelled edamame), thawed
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves or 1 Tbsp. of minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. If too thick, add water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Enjoy with fresh veggies, as a sandwich spread or over leafy greens.
Note: Can store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.