Plant based pro­tein: what’s a legume?

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Kerri Ro­bichaud Recipe source: Kerri Ro­bichaud is a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian with At­lantic Su­per­store in Amherst.

Plant-based pro­tein has been get­ting a lot of hype over the last cou­ple of years and for good rea­son.

Legumes are a plant-based pro­tein that is also low in saturated fats and salt. Legumes are high in fibre, fo­late, potas­sium, and iron, mak­ing them very nu­tri­tious.

Legumes are a part of a plant that’s ei­ther in a pod or a seed, in­clud­ing soy­beans, peanuts, fresh peas and beans, and pulses. For ex­am­ple, soy milk, made from soy­beans, is a great com­plete pro­tein source, mean­ing it has all the es­sen­tial amino acids your body re­quires. Peanuts are a fairly pop­u­lar type of legume and you may be sur­prised to know that peanuts are not tech­ni­cally a nut. They are a great source of pro­tein and healthy fats, but as they are more calo­rie dense than other types of legumes it’s a good idea to eat them in mod­er­a­tion. As for peas, you can’t go wrong with a split pea soup - or try eat­ing fresh beans with hum­mus as a quick and easy on-the-go snack (both the beans and the hum­mus, made from chick­peas, will pro­vide the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of legumes).

A newer term that some may not be fa­mil­iar with is a pulse: this is a cat­e­gory of legumes that in­cludes dried beans, chick­peas, dried peas and lentils. With the win­ter months rolling in, soup is a go-to for many peo­ple, and get­ting the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of pulses can be as simple as adding in a can of black beans to your reg­u­lar soup, or roast­ing chick­peas and adding them like crou­tons as a crunchy gar­nish on a pureed soup or a hearty salad. You can also jazz up your sal­ads sim­ply by adding lentils on top of your greens or in­cor­po­rat­ing kid­ney beans in a pasta salad. When it comes to in­clud­ing pulses in your diet you don’t have to change any­thing dras­tic, but rather you can add them into meals you al­ready en­joy.

Legumes can be added to many of your go-to recipes for a nu­tri­tion boost. They are jam­packed with fibre, which most Cana­di­ans don’t get enough of, and also con­tain many of dif­fer­ent vitamins and min­er­als. Get­ting pro­tein from plant­based sources may be a newer con­cept, es­pe­cially if you do eat meat, but legumes aren’t just for veg­e­tar­i­ans. Any­one can and should be in­cor­po­rat­ing these foods into their diet as they all con­trib­ute to a healthy life­style.

Try the recipe be­low as a quick sup­per or if you’re hav­ing com­pany over! It pro­vides lots of plant-based pro­tein from the PC Lentil Bites and hum­mus, as well as fibre from all the dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles.

Mid­dle East­ern Mezza Plat­ter


6 car­rots, peeled and trimmed, cut into sticks

5 tsp (25ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10ml) PC Black La­bel Harissa Spice Blend

4 cups (1L) shred­ded red cab­bage (about ¼ of a head)

3 tbsp (45ml) fresh le­mon juice

½ tsp (2ml) freshly ground pep­per 2 tbsp (25ml) tahini

1 tbsp (15ml) each freshly chopped cilantro, fresh mint, and fresh pars­ley

1 pkg (400g) PC Blue Menu Lentil & Bean Bites made with Brown Rice

1 pkg (250g) PC Blue Menu Naan Flat­breads (2 flat­breads)

1 pack­age (227g) PC Hum­mus Chick­pea Dip & Spread

1 vine ripened tomato, chopped ½ English cu­cum­ber, thinly sliced


1. Pre­heat oven to 400 de­grees. Ar­range 1 oven rack in cen­ter and 1 oven rack in lower third of oven.

2. Toss to­gether car­rots, 1 tbsp (15ml) of olive oil and harissa in large bowl. Ar­range in sin­gle layer on parch­ment pa­per lined bak­ing sheet. Bake in lower third of oven, flip­ping car­rots once, un­til ten­der and golden brown, about 30 min­utes

3. Mean­while toss to­gether cab­bage, 1 tbsp (15ml) le­mon juice, ¼ tsp (1ml) pep­per and re­main­ing 2 tsp (10ml) of olive oil in sep­a­rate large bowl. Cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til needed

4. Whisk to­gether tahini, cilantro, mint, pars­ley, re­main­ing 2 tbsp (25ml) of le­mon juice, ¼ tsp (1ml) pep­per, and 2 tbsp (25ml) of wa­ter in a small bowl un­til smooth. Set aside.

5.Ar­range frozen lentil bites in sin­gle layer on greased sep­a­rate large bak­ing sheet. Bake in cen­ter of oven 5 to 6 min­utes. Flip bites; bake in cen­ter of oven for 3 more min­utes. Push bites to one side of bak­ing sheet. Ar­range flat­breads in sin­gle layer on op­po­site side of sheet; sprinkle flat­breads lightly with wa­ter. Bake in cen­ter of oven un­til bites and flat­breads are hot, 2 to 3 min­utes.

6.Stack flat­breads on cut­ting board; cut into 6 wedges. Ar­range flat­breads, lentil bites, hum­mus, and veg­eta­bles on large serv­ing plat­ter. Driz­zle with tahini mix­ture.

Makes 6 serv­ings.

Per serv­ing: Calo­ries 470, Fat 21g (3g saturated), Fibre 11g, Pro­tein 14g, Su­gar 10g, Sodium 760mg


Mid­dle East­ern Mezza Plat­ter is a tasty choice filled with pro­tein.

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