legumes
Lifestyle

Legumes: small seeds with huge potential

do you like legumes??? They love you too! Very, even. What is so good about them? So like this: they are full of proteins, help prevent cancer, regulate bowel movements and are rich in vitamins and minerals. What should you eat them with, how long to soak and which delicious recipes should you know? (Yes, there is also hummus!)

Vegetarians or vegans? When you eat legumes, combine them with grains, preferably whole, so that the body gets all the amino acids it needs.

It is best to prepare legumes yourself. Don’t you have time? Frozen legumes will also do the job. Which legumes are less recommended to eat? The ones in cans.

Suffering from gas or irritable bowel? It is recommended that you eat orange or green lentils and soak them before cooking. It reduces gas and helps vitamins to be absorbed.

Legumes Legumes Legumes, hahaha, there’s nothing like legumes! Did you know that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses. So what is all the excitement about?

Legumes are healthy, tasty, satisfying, easy to store and last a long time. You can prepare a variety of dishes from them, starting with soup and chowder, through fritters and salads, and ending with desserts. They are also an integral part of the human diet for thousands of years, approximately from 8,000-7,000 BC.

What types of legumes are there?

There are many types of legumes – from the well-known chickpeas and pulses to a variety of types of lentils (green, orange, black, red, etc.). In addition to this, there are also peas, soybeans, lupine and a variety of types of beans, including white beans, black beans, red beans, mash, beans and more.

And what is actually in them? Proteins, gentlemen, proteins

Legumes are an excellent source of plant proteins as well as complex carbohydrates. They are important for those who rarely eat animal food and of course for vegans. However, in order to get all the proteins and their amino acids you need, it is important and recommended to combine legumes and grains (preferably whole) during the day. By the way, it is absolutely not necessary to eat them together since the body knows how to save what is important to it and use it later.

And what wonderful things do legumes do?

Due to the fact that they are rich in fiber, the legumes help balance the  sugar levels in the body and also reduce the cholesterol levels . They also help prevent strokes , protect against colon cancer , regulate bowel movements, and more.

But they give not only fiber. They are also rich in minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. They are also rich in B group vitamins, including folic acid and thiamine. The battery of these food components makes them a health food at a ridiculous price. Too often we find ourselves paying a fortune for health food. A combination of legumes in the family menu will add a lot of health and interest to your meals without emptying your wallet.

Which legumes is better: frozen, fresh or canned?

Fresh legumes that you have cooked yourself at home are always the best food, but sometimes it is a somewhat cumbersome process that involves soaking them for a long time.

Let’s sort it out and remember what should be soaked and what shouldn’t:

No need to soak : orange and green lentils.

A short soaking is necessary : ​​black lentils, which should be soaked for a maximum of 20 minutes. By the way, their cooking time is also relatively short – about 20 minutes in total.

A long soaking is necessary : ​​chickpeas, red and black beans, beans and peas. These legumes need to be soaked for an average of 8 hours and also cooked well.

Do you have a pressure cooker? Great, you can be spontaneous and not soak at all! Any legume that goes into a pressure cooker will be ready within half an hour at most. 

Do you have a regular pot? This is also fine, but there is less room for spontaneity, both because of the long soaking that helps reduce gas and also because of the cooking which has to last between one and two hours. And here’s a tip to shorten the processes: cook a large amount in advance and freeze in small bags.

Lazy, busy or both?  You can buy frozen legumes. They are only cooked in intense heat and immediately transferred to the freezer, so their nutritional value is not significantly impaired and they are much easier and available to use.

And what about the canned ones? Canned legumes are less recommended as they contain a lot of salt and on top of that there is a risk of various chemicals leaking into the contents such as bisphosphonol A (BPA for short). It is a chemical that may disrupt the hormonal system, accelerate the development of  breast cancer and harm the development of babies and children. BPA is inside the white wrapper that covers the inside of the can.

Did we say ecological?

Growing legumes does not require a lot of water and does not produce a lot of waste and thus helps to protect the environment, compared to other protein sources such as meat, eggs and fish which are considered the most significant polluters of our ecosystem.

Beyond that, they are also considered natural soil conditioners. how exactly? They collect nitrogen that is in the free air and make it part of the soil mixture in which they grow. As a result, the nitrogen penetrates the soil, part of it enters through the roots to the plant itself, and the rest remains in the soil. All this allows positive bacteria to develop in the soil and makes it more fertile and better. Yes yes, instead of chemical fertilizers – legumes! 

Keep the seeds well

The great advantage of legumes is that they maintain their nutritional and culinary quality for many months. However, it is important to keep them in closed containers or in a well-sealed bag, otherwise you will find that you have partners with the grains. In the summer there are those who prefer to keep them in the refrigerator to prevent the penetration of various insects.

But about the gases?

Yes, legumes contain all kinds of nutrients that cause gas, for example complex carbohydrates from the galactan family. They are indeed considered healthy for the digestive system, but some people find it very difficult to eat them – for example those who suffer from irritable bowel . For their sake, we remind you that you can combine them gradually – start with the weak “gasifiers”, such as orange and green lentils , soak them before cooking and cook with the pot a little open. The soaking and sprouting reduce the gases and improve the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium.

You can combine fennel, cumin and even caraway seeds in cooking. The first two go well with almost any dish; The Kimmel is for fans of the genre only…

Some legumes recipes that will freshen up your kitchen

Lentil omelet/hummus

  1. Mix together 1/3 cup of orange lentil flour and 1/3 cup of water (you can also add a tablespoon of cornflour, then add another tablespoon of water)
  2. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (a drop of turmeric can also be well integrated). It is very important to mix the batter well. A whisk will do the job in the best way.
  3. Saute onion, garlic, grated carrot, mushrooms (or at least one vegetable you like) on a good Teflon pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Wait for the vegetables to soften and then pour the batter on top.
  5. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat.
  6. Turn the omelet only after you see that the edges lose their liquid and look more sealed.
  7. This omelet has much more liquid compared to an egg omelet, so it stays on the pan longer – at least 10 minutes on medium heat. If the omelet is a little dry, try adding some olive oil or any other oil to the batter.

Orange Lentil “Hummus” Spread

Cook 2 cups of orange lentils in a pot with plenty of water. Meanwhile, mix half a cup of raw tahini with half a cup of water and half a cup of squeezed lemon juice.

Drain the lentils from the cooking water, add to the grind. Also add 2 crushed garlic cloves, a tablespoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, a teaspoon of cumin and grind everything in a blender. That’s it, it’s ready.

Looking for suitable replacements? Black and mash lentils will also be very successful in this recipe.

Legumes bean spread

First soak and then cook a cup of bean. When it is soft, filter and transfer to a blender with a quarter cup of olive oil, half a cup of lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and a little black pepper. This is the base, and you can add a lot of extras like sundried tomatoes, pesto, steamed onions, dill and… the sky is the limit.

Looking for suitable replacements? White beans, black beans and red beans will also work for this recipe.

Pasta in green pea sauce

Cook until soft 2 cups of fresh green peas (or thaw frozen peas). In the meantime, steam 5 chopped garlic cloves with a little olive oil. Put the peas and garlic in a blender, add half a cup of olive oil, half a cup of squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper and grind until smooth.

And you know how to make pasta, right? 

The dish goes great with lettuce salad and cherry tomatoes.

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