What are Legumes? Legumes are lentils, split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, red, white, black, pinto, and navy beans, adzuki beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, peanuts, and peas.  They are high in protein, fibre, B vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
 
They provide an excellend source of gluten-free carbohydrate and vegetarian protein.  They are also high in fibre. For example, one cup of lentils delivers 18 grams of protein (the protein equivalent of three eggs or 2.5 ounces of meat) and 15 grams of fibre (slightly more than ½ cup of bran cereal).
 
Legumes are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin linked to a healthy pregnancy and a lower risk of colon cancer. Lentils and beans offer calcium, magnesium and potassium, minerals that help keep blood pressure in check. And they’re a good source of iron for vegetarians.  Studies suggest that eating legumes at least four times a week helps lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer.  Legumes are one of the most versatile, nutritious and inexpensive foods around, most of us don’t eat them on a regular basis.
 
Legumes are sold dried or canned. Dried beans need to be soaked to rehydrate before they are cooked. Dried beans have a much better taste and texture than canned beans although, they take longer to prepare.  Canned beans and lentils are incredibly convenient because they’re already cooked. They’re ready to add to salads, soups, pasta sauces, quinoa, etc.  Canned beans need to be drained and rinsed first to remove excess sodium.

The following are a few recipe suggestions to help you incorporate legumes into your diet:

Tacos with black beans
Black Bean Soup
Lentil Chili

Chickpea-herb Burgers
Hummus

Asian Rice Salad
Veggie Chili

Black Bean Quesadillas
Enchiladas
Black Bean Burgers
Collards with Red Lentils
Red Lentil Soup
Homemade Burrito Bowl
Channa Masala (Spicy Chick Peas)
Mung Bean Daal (Green Lentils)
Coconut Lentil Soup
Curried Lentil and Garlic Soup

Lentil Soup

 

image courtesy of http://prudhwija.wordpress.com