Not so attractive looking are legumes, but nutritionally they are very attractive. If I was giving out superfood ratings, legumes would score! Here are a bunch of reasons to start, loving your legumes and the McKenzie's Mediterranean Salad recipe people have asked for!
They are cheap to buy, high in dietary fibre, protein and carbohydrate and provide iron, zinc, magnesium and loads of other vitamins and minerals. Legumes are an important food, for their nutrients, particularly protein for vegetarians and vegans.
There are loads of varieties of legumes, including more common chickpeas, kidney beans and red lentils. Have you tried French style lentils, butter beans, black eye beans and the list goes on.
The carbohydrate in legumes is very slowly released, making them low glycaemic index (low GI). This means so the blood glucose level goes up gradually.
The high dietary fibre content also slows the digestion, and helps keep you full for a long time. The soluble fibre they contain, can also help reduce cholesterol levels.
People think a down side is the flatulence, they can cause, but it’s not. Some of the dietary fibre and carbohydrate they contain, is not digested in the small intestines, and is fermented in the large intestines, producing gas. For some people this is too much discomfort, but if you can, that gas is good for your bowels and protective against bowels disease.
To help reduce the discomfort of flatulence, try adding them gradually and watch what other ingredients you cook with them. If you have FODMAP type issues don’t cook them with onion and garlic for example.
Rinsing canned legumes a few times helps remove some of the oligosaccharides, the ‘sludge’ you see in the can. This is water, sometimes salt and the carbohydrate that has come out of the beans. These oligosaccharides are sugars, that we don’t always digest properly, and end up in the large intestine, where the bacteria then ferment them, producing gas.
If you don’t mind that ‘sludge’ in canned chickpeas, save it and use to put in soups for flavour and you can even whip it instead of egg whites to make a pavlova.
You can buy them canned, or dry and boil them or pre soak them before cooking. You can freeze canned legumes if you don’t use them all in one go.
If your family complain about the gas, let them know it is part of your, ‘bowel health programme!’
McKenzie's Mediterranean Salad
1 cup McKenzies Super Blend Protein (red & French style lentils, quinoa, dried beans mix)
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon; zest & juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbs capers
1/2 cup currants
2 tbs McKenzie's Pine Nuts, toasted
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 cup McKenzie's Flaked Almonds , toasted
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
150g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbs honey
In a medium saucepan with 3 cups of boiling water, add 1 cup SuperBlend Protein. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 15 minutes or until grains are tender. Drain and rinse well.
Add SuperBlend Protein to a large bowl with red onion, coriander, parsley, ;lemon zest and juice, olive oil, capers and currants. Gently combine. Add pine nuts, sunflower seeds and flaked almonds.
In a small bowl, combine feta cheese, honey and toasted cumin seeds. Serve salad on plates or large platter and top with crumbled feta, honey and toasted cumin mixture.
ps I don't have any financial connection with McKenzie's, I just like legumes for good health :)
Simone likes to share her expert nutrition advice. Read more