Legumes

Legumes

By
Greg Malouf, Lucy Malouf
Contains
5 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742708423
Photographer
Alan Benson

Pulses, beans and peas – often called legumes – are some of the very earliest cultivated crops – and are still some of the easiest, cheapest and most reliable to grow. They have played a vital role in our diet through the ages, especially in poor and rural communities, and for this alone we should pay them the respect they are due. Unassuming in appearance they may be, but they are nutritional superstars, crammed full of protein, vitamins and minerals – essential in any predominantly vegetable-based diet. When combined with cereal grains, they provide a meal that contains virtually all our protein requirements, and is more than a match for a diet based on animal proteins.

While they are often grouped together under one heading, legumes, in fact, come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and textures, each suited to its own method of preparation. Brown and green lentils, for instance, break down relatively easily, which makes them ideal for soups, while tiny Puy and ‘beluga’ (black) lentils retain their shape well, making them better suited for salads. And, as any Middle Easterner understands only too well, one of the main joys of pulses is their ability to take on other flavours. We love to use smooth starchy white beans in bakes and casseroles, while chickpeas form the base for an almost unfathomable range of snacks, soups, stews, stuffings and dips – think of those deliciously salty roasted chickpeas, the darling of street vendors, or a rich and creamy hummus, crunchy fried falafel, chickpea dumplings, fritters and breads.

Recipes in this Chapter

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