Plant based pro­tein: What’s a legume?

Truro Daily News - - FOOD/CLASSIFIEDS - Ellen Greenan Ellen Greenan is a Reg­is­tered Di­eti­tian with At­lantic Su­per­store in Truro.

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 bre, 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. ey 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 bene ts 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 bene ts 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 dras­ti­cally, 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. ey are jam- packed with bre, which most Cana­di­ans don’t get enough of, and also con­tain many di er­ent 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 bre from all the di er­ent 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 at­breads)

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

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


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

• 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, ip­ping car­rots once, un­til ten­der and golden brown, about 30 min­utes

• 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

• 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.

• 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 at­breads in sin­gle layer on op­po­site side of sheet; sprin­kle at­breads lightly with water. Bake in cen­ter of oven un­til bites and at­breads are hot, 2 to 3 min­utes. • Stack at­breads on cut­ting board; cut into 6 wedges. Ar­range at­breads, 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

Recipe source:

Have a nu­tri­tion ques­tion? Want to book an ap­point­ment or shop with the di­eti­tian? Book on­line at­lantic­su­per­store/di­eti­tians or con­tact me by phone at 902-9210700 or by email at

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