6 Healthy and Hearty Legume Recipes You'll Love

Chickpeas Arugula Lemon PestoPotassium, protein, iron. You want another reason to eat lentils and beans? There’s no better way to work more fiber into your diet. And there’s no more delicious way than to add these hearty legume recipes to your repertoire.

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Chickpeas with Arugula-Lemon Pesto

This bright, peppery pesto is also delicious tossed with a combination of white beans, string beans, and tuna. Or mix it into 2 cups of cooked whole wheat couscous or bulgur.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15 oz. can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 butter lettuce leaves

Directions

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, arugula, basil, oil, and pepper in a food processor. Process until the herbs and garlic are finely chopped.

In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with the pesto and season with up to ½ tsp. of salt. Serve on the lettuce leaves. Serves 4.

Per serving (¾ cup):

  • Calories: 210
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbs: 20 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Stewed Italian Beans

Stewed Italian BeansWe used red and white (cannellini) kidney beans for color, but you can use any kind. If you prefer fresh herbs, triple the amount to 1½ teaspoons.

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary or thyme
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz. cans no-salt-added kidney beans
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the celery and carrot in the oil until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the beans with their liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Season with up to ½ tsp. of salt, plenty of black pepper, and the balsamic vinegar. Serves 4.

Per serving (1 cup):

  • Calories: 280
  • Sodium: 340 mg
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbs: 34 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 11 g

Three-Bean Salad

Serve these well-dressed beans on romaine or butter lettuce. Love white beans, chickpeas, or black beans? You can substitute 3 cups (about 2 cans) of any combination of beans for the kidneys and edamame.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. green beans, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. country dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 15 oz. can no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions

Steam the green beans until tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, onion, mustard, sugar, and salt. Mix in the green beans, edamame, and kidney beans. Serves 6.

Per serving (1 cup):

  • Calories: 140
  • Sodium: 150 mg
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbs: 15 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 7 g

White Beans, Sausage, & Kale

Quick. Easy. Tasty.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 15 oz. cans no-salt-added white beans
  • ¾ lb. baby kale (or spinach)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, more to taste

Directions

Remove the sausage from its casing and break into small pieces. Sauté in the oil until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and reserve.

Sauté the garlic until just golden, about 1 minute. Add the beans with their liquid and stir in the kale, a few handfuls at a time. Simmer until the kale is tender, about 2 minutes, adding more water if needed to keep the beans moist.

Stir the sausage into the beans and kale. Season with black pepper and the balsamic vinegar. Serves 4.

Per serving (2 cups):

  • Calories: 370
  • Sodium: 450 mg
  • Total Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbs: 39 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Protein: 22 g

Red Lentil Curry

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 1.07.56 PMTry tossing a bag of baby spinach into the pot just before serving. Then top each bowl with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder, optional
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 15 oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves

Directions

In a medium pot, combine the lentils and turmeric with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Sauté the onion until browned, about 10 minutes.

Cut half of the ginger into fine matchsticks for garnish and grate the rest. Stir the grated ginger and the chili powder into the onions. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer until the lentils are done.

Stir the lentils into the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with up to ½ tsp. of salt and garnish with the ginger matchsticks and cilantro leaves. Serves 4.

Per serving (1 cup):

  • Calories: 270
  • Sodium: 300 mg
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbs: 38 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 15 g

Black Bean Fiesta Salad

Queso fresco is a fresh white cheese that should be available in most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you can use feta. For extra zing, add a few drops of hot sauce at the table.

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, diced, divided
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ¾ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 3 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 15 oz. cans no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 oz. tortilla chips
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

In a large bowl, toss together half the onion with the tomato, cheese, and lime juice. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the remaining onion and the bell pepper in the oil for 2 minutes. Stir in the beans and corn and sauté for another minute.

Add the contents of the skillet to the large bowl, mix all the ingredients together, and season with up to ½ tsp. of salt. Serve with romaine, chips, and lime wedges. Serves 4.

Per serving:

  • Calories: 410
  • Sodium: 380 mg
  • Total Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
  • Carbs: 58 g
  • Fiber: 14 g
  • Protein: 21 g

Try these legume recipes, and let us know what you think. Do you have some legume recipes you’d like to share? 

2 Replies to “6 Healthy and Hearty Legume Recipes You'll Love”

  1. Are Legumes now a complete protein? Where is the note that whole grains must be added, and proportion, to have a complete protein. Red beans and rice?

    1. From Nutrition Action Healthletter: As a practical matter, it’s no longer considered necessary to balance the amino acids in plant foods at each meal as long as a varied diet is consumed. Here’s what the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom says: “It was thought until relatively recently that, as the body does not readily store amino acids it was essential for vegetarians to combine ‘complementary proteins’ at each meal. There has been some debate over this which has concluded that this isn’t strictly necessary, however it still has some advantages and seems a sensible way to approach a varied and complete diet.”

  2. These recipes have a good deal of oxalate which ,if you are like me,form kidney stones. How do I negate this fact and decrease my chances of forming a kidney stone??

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