7 Recipes for Healthy Legumes

Chow on 03.02.12
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Image: Beth Galton/Getty Images

I came to legumes pretty late in life. Other than the chili that my dad would make from time to time we never had beans, and I don't ever remember my mother making lentils or chickpeas. It's too bad, because I love legumes, and they are really good for you. However, I'm catching up now with lots of legumes showing up on my weekly menu, sometimes more times a week than my husband would like.

The beauty of legumes is the endless variety of things you can make. Indian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, Mexican, French and Italian dishes all have fantastic ways to use legumes. If you aren't sure how well beans will go over at your house start out with the maple baked beans that I made for my daughter's birthday last week. She had a bunch of friends over, and those beans were gone in no time at all. A little sweet, a little salty, they were fantastic.

A lot of people refuse to eat legumes because of gas issues, but you can read an article I wrote in TreeHugger a few years ago that addresses that.

1. Indian Butter Chickpeas

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

If your family loves Indian butter chicken, they will love this recipe for Indian butter chickpeas. It's another great place to start introducing legumes into your diet.

2. Black Bean Chili soup with Zucchini Pancakes

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This black bean soup with zucchini pancakes is a great chunky soup just bursting with flavour. Given that we are just heading into March, go ahead and use some frozen corn for this recipe. If the zucchini pancakes seem like too much work, you can leave them out. The soup will still be terrific.

3. White Bean Dip

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I love white beans, and use them in all kinds of soups and stews. They also make a terrific white bean dip, if you want something a little different from hummus.

4. Lentils with Chard

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This recipe for lentils with chard is a very simple thing that you can make out of the contents of your pantry and refrigerator for a delicious lunch or light supper.

5. Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I made this braised coconut spinach and chickpea recipe a couple of weeks ago and we just loved it. I gave a talk this week at my local library on frugal cooking and took this along for the audience to sample and they all seemed to love it too!

6. Polenta with Tomato Chickpea Sauce

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I made this polenta with tomato chickpea sauce on my trip to the French Alps last summer, which accounts for the really intense light in the photo. You can use the sauce for pasta as well as for polenta.

7. White Bean and Vegetable Stew

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

You can use this recipe for white bean and vegetable stew as a jumping off point. You can add any vegetables that your family enjoys.

More Top Recipes Using Legumes
Pasta e Fagioli
Lentil Patties
Pinto Bean Mole Chili