For those keen to stave off meat and embark on a plant-based diet, legumes have proven to be an excellent protein source and fibre-rich ingredient to get you started. Not only are legumes delicious, but their numerous uses are excellent to help you create a variety of dishes, no matter what you’re craving.
What are legumes?
Contrary to public misconception, not all legumes are created equal. Legumes all come from plants but they can either come from the seed of that plant or the fruit. This broadens the family of the legume creating an even greater amount of variety and forms amongst the already existing types.
While each type will have their own benefits, legumes are all generally known for being high in fibre, protein, and can be dried and stored with ease.
Here is our list of the main types of legumes and their relatives.
Peas are the edible pod seeds of a blooming plant that have been eaten since the beginning of civilisation. These incredible legumes were eaten in Egypt as far back as 4500 BC and were popular in medieval cuisine as a cold dish.
To this day, peas have become a popular culinary staple in cuisines the world over, most popular being the winter-warmer pea soup.
Another legume that’s taken the world by storm and often used in Latin cultures as a staple for their dishes, beans also come from a pod (much like their cousin, the pea.) Beans have been sourced and eaten in Eurasia since the dawn of civilisation, cooking with continental European varieties such as fava beans or broad beans. European explorers to the Americas were also surprised to find even more variations of beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans.