Legumes: The perfect food for winter
The temperature has started to fall, soon the rain will be pattering against the windowpanes, the wind will begin to whistle, and we will be looking for comfort foods that will keep us warm and lift our spirits.
When we soon turn back the clock for Winter Time, it would be a good idea to make room in the pantry and stock up on legumes, the perfect raw material for winter.
Legumes are rich in nutritional values and packed with important nutrients and can be used in a vast variety of soups, casseroles and dishes that can be served year-round, but are especially suitable for winter meals.
What are the health benefits of legumes?
Legumes are a source of plant protein, they contain complex carbohydrates, are rich in fiber, which enhances satiety, low in fat and packed with B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They also contain different antioxidants.
Legumes: What are they?
Legumes are plants that carry edible seeds in a pod, and that’s how you can identify them. Surprisingly, peanuts are also botanically classified as legumes, but nutritionally, they belong to the fats group.
Lentils – Orange, green, black, speckled, yellow
Beans – White, red, black, lima, speckled, pinto, cowpea (black-eyed peas), mung beans (maash), adzuki
Soybeans – Edamame (when not dried)
Broad beans (fava beans)
And the uncontested “king of beans” – hummus (garbanzos or chickpeas)
Recommendations call for varying between types and colors of legumes. Using packaged, ready-to-eat legumes is a convenient, readily available, tasty and practical way of increasing your daily consumption of legumes and benefiting from their nutritional and health advantages, without having to deal with the bother involved in their preparation.
What about sprouting?
Sprouting legumes increases the availability of the nutrients they contain and can also help to digest the legumes for those who have concerns in this respect.
Lentil and noodle soup
Ingredients (makes 8-10 servings)
1 pack lentils, cooked
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled
4 cloves Israeli garlic, peeled
½ bunch cilantro (coriander) leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 level tsp cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 cups boiling water
Handful of vermicelli soup noodles
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and grate the carrot. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized pot, add the onion and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Add the carrot and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the spices and tomato paste and stir.
- Add the cooked lentils, with the cooking water and boiling water, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the cilantro and noodles and cook for a further 10 minutes.