Legumes are cherished around the world for their nutritional value. But did you know they can also be delicious? Check out our favorite legume recipes.
Is there any food superior to the handsome and noble legume? Also known as pulses, legumes have played, and continue to play, a very important role in human nutrition around the world. This is because, in addition to be delicious, they are just plain practical, because they grow quite quickly and tend to be very nutritious. Just what counts as a legume? An incredibly diverse category include things like beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and more.
Legumes are uniquely suited to be food for many reasons. Most importantly, they tend to be incredibly nutritious: for many people, especially those of lesser means, legumes are the most important source of protein in their diet. They are also an important source of fiber and nutrients. Legumes are also very important as a crop because of their symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil, allowing them to be used very productively in crop rotation. In Mesoamerica, legumes are part of the milpa system, an ancient cultivation technique where corn, beans, squash, and other vegetables are cultivated in the same farmland. Unlike monoculture farming, growing the crops together in this arrangement allows the plants to support each other, as each plant requires different nutrients in the ground to survive, and these nutrients are provided by the complementary plants.
Legumes are also good for the environment. Legumes are a significant source of dietary protein, and when combined with whole grains, form a complete diet. A recent study revealed that if humans globally replaced their beef consumption with beans, carbon emissions would fall by more than 20%.
But you’re not here for a lesson on crop rotation, farming methods, or sustainability. We’ve assembled some of our favorite legume recipes here. Read on to see how you can add beans to your diet and start saving the world today, one bean at a time!
Basmati rice with kidney beans and thyme recipe
Rice and beans is surely one of the oldest meals around. It’s also fantastic: nutritionally complete, this meal contains all of the vital vitamins and nutrients that you need, like protein, fiber, amino acids, and more. What’s more is that, being beans and rice, it’s extremely affordable. Our recommendation is to use dried beans: the flavor is far superior to canned beans, and they cost a fraction of the amount that you pay for canned beans. Serve this with a little hot sauce and sour cream for a Mexican twist on a delicious meal.
White bean salad recipe
This delicious bean salad will cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about beans! Inspired by Tuscany’s characteristic cuisine, you’re going to wonder where this salad has been all your life. Creamy white beans are soaked in white wine vinegar before tossing with sliced onions, tomato chunks, and basil leaves. Then it’s just a matter of liberally dousing the entire thing with extra virgin olive oil—the marinated beans and vinegar combine with the olive oil to produce a salad dressing right in the bowl! Try this Tuscan white bean salad recipe as a side for grilled meats.
Black bean stew with chipotle recipe
Black beans are a lot of people’s favorite beans, and it’s easy to see why: they’re extremely healthy, but with a characteristic earthy flavor that goes with just about anything. In this delicious vegan main course, earthy black beans are combined with smoky chipotle to make a delicious stew that you’re unlikely to forget any time soon! The flavors of garlic and cilantro elevate the dish, but what really makes it is the inclusion of chipotle peppers, dried and smoked jalapeños from Mexico. Earth, spicy, smokey… what’s not to like? If you’re a meat eater and can’t bear the idea of going without for one night, some spicy sausage would make a great addition to this vegan black bean stew with chipotle.
Sun dried tomato and sriracha hummus
Did you know that chickpeas are legumes? This creamy hummus recipe is sure to impress. It’s perfect for a backyard barbecue, finger food at a party, or a quick and easy lunch. This recipe combines the traditional mashed chickpeas, tahini, and lemon and boosts it with garlic, chopped sundried tomato, and a spicy little squirt of sriracha, a Thai chili sauce from California. A good amount of paprika changes it to a funky bright red, serving as a warning sign for all those who fear the power of hot sauce. Make sure to add plenty of tahini: the creaminess is very important. If the hummus is not coming together, a tablespoon or two of the bean’s cooking liquid (or just the liquid in the can) should help the mixture come together into the smoothest hummus this side of Lebanon. Try this sun dried tomato and sriracha hummus recipe for your next party or potluck!