Beans, beans the magical fruit: the more you eat, the easier it’ll be for your vegan route
Keywords: beans, legumes, vegan substitutions, vegan, veganism, vegetarian
Legumes — which include beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts — are heaven-sent for any vegan. They’re low in fat but satiating, varied and versatile, and they’re packed with protein, beneficial fats, and fibre. While many vegans utilize legumes as a meat substitution, they can actually be used in every meal — even desserts!
Knowing how to prepare legumes is the first step, as they come ready to eat canned, dried, or shelled. From there, the recipe options are endless.
To give you an idea as to just how great legumes are, here are some ways in which you can incorporate more legumes into your diet.
Use them as a garnish
Legumes are great for their texture. Crunchy chickpeas and toasted peanuts make for terrific garnishes, or even as a snack. Many grocery stores also carry soybean and pea snacks that offer that crunch your dish is looking for.
Puree them for a dip
One of the easiest applications for legumes is pureeing them for a delicious appetizer: dip! Be sure to prepare your legumes properly before you put your mixture in a food processor, though, or else you may end up with hard chunks in your dip.
Try this roasted carrot tahini dip from Nourish Everyday, which blends cannellini, cashews, carrots, tahini, and spices together for a delightfully flavourful snack.
Blend them for soup
Legumes are a great addition to soup, blended or not. Ribollita, a hearty soup that hails from Tuscany, calls for cannellini beans suspended in broth. Other soups, like this recipe from Naturally Ella, use red lentils as a thickener, blended into a carrot soup.
Try them in different forms
Because of gluten allergies, there are many alternatives to all-purpose (wheat) flour now. Chickpeas, in particular, are often used in place of all-purpose flour, and add a nutty flavour to any recipe. These crunchy dill chickpea pancakes with lemon garlic aioli allow the flavour of chickpea flour to shine.
Throw them in a salad
Top your favourite salad with chickpeas, cannellini beans, lentils, or peanuts for an added punch of protein. Or, let them be the star of the salad, like in this recipe for lemon parsley bean salad and hummus.
Make them the star
Legumes can be the main course! In many other cultures, they are often used as the main ingredient in a recipe. Dishes like falafel, for example, really highlight the natural flavour and texture of the legume.
Form a patty
Because legumes are both filling and act as a great binder, they work well as burgers! These, of course, are not anything new, but a great black bean burger can be hard to come by. Sally’s Baking Addiction swears by this recipe.
Forget the meat; reach for the legumes
Legumes are terrific meat alternatives! Though chicken and beef usually dominate taco recipes, legumes work very well in them, too — especially when crisped up. One thing to note: make sure you thoroughly season them!
Don’t forget the aquafaba
When you’re done with the can of chickpeas, don’t toss the water it comes in! Also known as aquafaba, this liquid can be whipped into a meringue that’s 100% vegan. How cool is that? Learn how to use aquafaba for your next dessert via Minimalist Baker.
Legumes are some of our favourite ingredients, and we use them frequently in our dishes! Do you use legumes? Which is your favourite, and how do you like to cook them? Let us know in the comments section!