Why Legumes Are Game-Changers…

As a vegetarian, I’m a big fan of legumes for their protein + iron content, but here are a few other reasons to get excited about adding more of these bad boys to your diet…

First, regularly including legumes in your diet, may increase dietary satisfaction. This means that simply including a serving or two of legumes in your diet each day may help us feel more satisfied with our meals and reduce cravings for other foods later on. This may actually lead us to eat less, which of course, may help contribute to weight loss or support a healthy weight. Also of note, people who regularly consume legumes tend to also have a lower body fat percentage.

Legumes are a low glycemic food. This means they don’t cause big spikes in our blood glucose levels, which helps our bodies to maintain good glycemic control and reduce risk of diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes.

Another great reason to include more legumes in your diet is for the affordability – they’re a food with a super high nutritional value and a pretty low price point.

Tips for working with legumes:

  1. Pressure cookers can help reduce cooking time, by allowing the legumes to boil at a higher temperature.
  2. Although pressure cookers can help, they’re not necessary – in fact, I don’t have one in my kitchen. To cook in a regular saucepan, cover with water (leave about an 1.5-2 inches of space between the legumes and the surface of the water), add a bit of salt or kombu, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for cook time.
  3. Soaking beans overnight can help to shorten cook time and increase digestibility.
  4. For salads, legumes may need less cooking time, because more texture is desired, so keep testing!
  5. To add a bit more flavor, cook the beans in veggie broth.
  6. If necessary, store extra cooked beans in a airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Here are a few of my favorite legumes along with their approximate cooking times.

  • Red Lentils (15-20 minutes)
  • Yellow Lentils (15-20 minutes)
  • French Lentils (25-30 minutes)
  • Split Mung Beans (30-40 minutes)
  • Yellow Split Peas (30-40 minutes)
  • Chick Peas (45- 60 minutes)
  • Black Beans (45-60 minutes)
  • Adzuki Beans (45-60 minutes)

Good luck! We’d love to hear about your favorite legume dishes and tips.