Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Humble Legume

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my friend Sarah S in nursery today...

Let me guess.... one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat healthier? Or, perhaps you've resolved to lose some weight. Maybe you want to save some money. Eat less red meat? Save the planet?

Enter the humble, yet mighty, legume! Really, you can't ask for a better powerhouse food than lentils, beans, peas, and their cousins. Rich in fiber, nutrients, and protein, low in fat and cost. Perfect!

But do real people eat beans on a regular basis? Other than hippies, granola-types, and super health nuts, do normal people eat beans (outside of baked beans, of course)? You betcha.

With a minimum of advance planning, it's fairly easy to work dried beans into your diet. Try the crockpot method and cook a bunch at a time to freeze for quick meals. Lentils cook very fast. Hearty bean soups are a perfect meal at the end of a cold January day. Make up a pot of soup on the weekend and eat off it for a day or two.

Here are some of our family's favorite legume treatments--not all of them are meatless: (don't knock them 'til you try them!)

Mujadarrah (lentils and rice)
Lentil and Rice Soup (off-site link to my friend Sarah's blog)
Cajun Red Beans and Rice (off-site link to my friend Bridgette's blog)
Vegetarian Casserole (white beans)

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