Lovin’ Legumes By Sharon Palmer, RD + Green Pea Hummus recipe

We're excited to share this guest post from The Plant-Powered Dietitian, Sharon Palmer, RD.  She lays it down for you, legume-style, making sure you understand the role of your beans and beyond. And, to leave you with more than just information, she's provided a delicious recipe for you too.
Keep an eye out on Monday for a review of Sharon's book, The Plant-Powered Diet, and (our favorite) a giveaway! Let me tell you, this book is jam-packed with info & recipes - you'll feel like your own RD & Plant-Powered Chef after a read.  Enjoy!

As important as protein is for playing a role in the processes our bodies require to go about the everyday business of living, a lot of fallacies exist in regards to how much protein we need.

As the Plant-Powered Dietitian
and an advocate for plant-based eating, I often hear how difficult it must be to get enough high-quality protein on a vegan diet; this is a common misconception I hear time and time again.  In reality, it’s completely doable to eat a healthy plant-based diet that meets your protein – as well as carbohydrate, fat, vitamin and mineral – needs every day. In fact, many plant proteins, including beans, lentils, and soy all have an excellent “protein package.” What I mean is that plant proteins come packed with other beneficial nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, and phytochemicals, and little of the “bad stuff,” like saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.

Legumes, a class of vegetables, also referred to as pulses, may be as near to a perfect food as you can find. A half-cup portion packs in at least 20% of your daily fiber needs, 10% of your protein needs and a bounty of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. That’s why I recommend that everyone include more luscious legumes in their diet. And since there hundred of varieties of legumes, there’s no end to the flavors, colors, sizes and textures available. A whole world of legumes awaits your discovery!

Here’s a sampling of some of the most popular:

Getting to Know Lentils
Culinary Suggestions
Black Beans
Appearance: Small ovals with deep black skins, dark cream to grey flesh
Flavor: Mild, sweet, earthy with soft texture
Use in classic Latin American, Caribbean, and Southwestern dishes, such as soups, stews, sauces, salads, burritos, and salsas.
Chick peas (Garbanzo beans)
Appearance: Beige and pale yellow

Flavor: Nutty taste with buttery texture
A key ingredient in traditional ethnic dishes such as dal, hummus, and falafel; wonderful in salads, soups, stews, and side dishes.
Pinto beans
Appearance: Medium ovals, mottled beige and brown

Flavor: Earthy flavor with powdery texture
Use in vegetarian refried beans, in Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes, or as a side dish.
Appearance: Small discs, varieties range from yellow to pink to dark green (known as French or Puy)

Flavor: Earthy, slightly sweet with soft texture
Delicious in dal, soups, stews, and veggie burgers; serve as a side dish or salad.

I encourage you to start putting legumes on your menu every day. Try these plant-powered tips to get you started:

1.     Try a simple Italian classic: pasta topped with cooked white beans, tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic.
2.     Substitute cooked, stewed, or mashed beans for potatoes or rice as a side dish twice a week.
3.     Visit an online purveyor such as Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com) to find a variety of eclectic legumes such as Black Turtle beans, Anasazi beans, and Chana Dal beans.
4.     Stir black beans into salsa or guacamole for a tasty dip.
5.     Keep a batch of your own homemade hummus or buy a container of your favorite hummus at your local market. Hummus is the perfect accompaniment for whole grain crackers, pita, sandwiches, and wraps.

Makes 2 ½ cups
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, drained (reserve juice)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp tahini
1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/3 cups frozen peas, thawed, drained


1.     Place drained chickpeas, garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, red pepper flakes and peas in the container of a blender.
2.     Add about half of the reserved chickpea juice.  Process mixture until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  Add additional chickpea juice as needed to make a smooth, thick hummus.
3.     Chill until serving time.  Serve with whole wheat pita, fresh veggies, and sandwiches.
Makes 2 ½ cups (about 10 ¼-c servings)

For even more information on plant-powered proteins, you can join my 14-day Go Plant Power Challenge, staring on August 5th. Join by simply clicking “LIKE” on the Go Plant Power Facebook Page which will host the 14 days of alerts with recipes and other helpful tips. By the end of the 14th day, you will possess the tools to change your diet and health for the better.

Sharon Palmer is a registered dietitian, writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 750 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.


Shawna said…
My favorite legume is chickpeas!! SO versatile!!! delicious and nutritious! *giggle*
Aimee Douglass said…
I adore chickpeas - there so many things you can do with them!
Karen Faivre said…
I make a batch of chickpeas every week. I like to make hummus for my lunch sandwich. Lately I've been making wraps with cabbage leaves - yum!
Nicole Palmby said…
For me, it's a tie between chickpeas (love hummus!) and lentils. I have a yummy lentil casserole recipe I've adapted to be vegetarian/vegan, and even my kids love it!
Robin said…
Very delicious recipe!! I'm big a fan of hummus dip and quite happy to learn a versatile recipe of hummus. Grilled vegetable stack with lemon hummus totally amazing, I'm looking forward to try it. Thanks.
benefits of humus
Terri Cole said…
I am a bean lover! Cannelini beans and garbanzos are two of my favorites. I will have to try the green pea hummus, that's a different take on a classic.

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