Here’s why you shouldn’t pass up on legumes.
Many pass on legumes because of their dry, powdery texture without realising that they’re missing out on some really essential nutrients. Low in fat and rich in soluble fibre (maintains a healthy weight, lowers cholesterol, and prevents diabetes and heart disease) as well as potassium for a healthy ticker and muscles, the legume family includes peas, beans and lentils. They are also a protein source for vegetarians. Jaclyn Reutens, a clinical dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants, says 200g to 300g will offer you the same amount as a palm-sized portion of fish, chicken or meat.
Don’t know how to cook legumes? The secret to yummy legumes is a sprig of basil, a dash of salt, a garlic clove or two. Herbs and seasonings add more flavour to them. It’s also important to soak legumes for at least eight to 12 hours before cooking. This helps to reduce phytic acid, a naturally-occurring substance that can interfere with your body’s absorption of vital nutrients. We’ve also got more cooking tips for each of the seven legumes.
Also known as cowpeas, they are the star ingredient in Hoppin’ John, a traditional New Year’s Day good luck dish in the American South. They’re simmered with spicy sausages, ham hocks or fat pork, rice, and tomato sauce. Packing the least calories of the legumes here, they are a good source of zinc, an immunity-boosting micro mineral.
How to cook black-eyed peas Make a healthier Hoppin’ John by replacing ham hocks or pork with chicken.
Nutrition score (per 100g) 90kcal, 3g protein, 0.35g fat (0.09g saturated), 5g dietary fibre, 431mg potassium