The lowdown on legumes

Let’s all laud legumes, some of the most underrated plant-based foods on the planet. For such a humble cooking ingredient, legumes - or pulses as they’re also known - boast an impressive nutritional profile.

Did you know…

1- They’re a great source of protein, low in fat, high in dietary and soluble fibre, and packed with important vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, zinc, B vitamins, folate and antioxidants.

2- Legumes are a carbohydrate with a low glycaemic index (GI), which means they are broken down more slowly, so you feel fuller for longer.

3- They’re not only healthy and nutritious but cheap to buy, which makes them a popular staple in many cultures and cuisines.

4- The legume family consists of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside and include lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans and, interestingly, peanuts.

Check out some of our favourite legumes:

Legumes typically come dried, canned or frozen. Incredibly versatile and vegetarian friendly, you can add legumes to a vast range of dishes.

Broad beans: earthy broad beans are a great source of vitamins A, B1 and B2 and can be used to bring flavour and texture to delicious dishes, such as falafel.

Peas: low in fat, low in carbs, low in calories, and low in sugar. What’s not to love about the little pea? Try adding to a wonderfully creamy risotto.

Lentils: come in many shapes and sizes including red, brown, and black to name a few! A warming bowl of filling lentil and bacon soup makes a tasty weeknight meal and is a great source of vegetarian protein.

Chickpeas: high in fibre and folate and low in calories, chickpeas can be used in curry and pasta dishes, dips, soups, salads, pies and even flatbread.

Kidney beans: the staple ingredient in a cheering bowl of chilli con carne, the juicy kidney bean helps reduce the rise in blood sugar that happens after a meal.

Pinto beans: these legumes can be eaten either whole or mashed and bring a tasty twist to lots of different cuisines such as Mexican-style refried beans.

What’s not to love about the legume!