Remember when being told to eat your veggies was akin to punishment? Okay, perhaps some of you were card-carrying members of the Clean Plate Club, happily consuming anything from broccoli to kidney beans, but for those of us that still associate the sentiment “green is mean” with legumes, I challenge you to rethink the bean scene!
As your parents have probably already told you, pulses, otherwise known as the edible seeds of various legumes, are high in protein, low in fat, and fiber rich, plus they can help combat diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. However, these pea-sized powerhouses pack more than just a health punch. According to a recent study (and pro-legume campaign) by Pulse Canada, not only are beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas a delicious source of nutritional benefits, they also contribute to environmental sustainability.
Peas, lentils, and the rest of the bean brethren are an environmentally-friendly crop! You see, the legume lineage of vegetables has a symbiotic relationship with organisms living within the soil. They’re capable of creating their own nitrogen fertilizer out of thin air (otherwise known as the atmosphere). How does that benefit the environment? Why, it lessens the need for manufactured nitrogen, which is derived from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, of course, are non-renewable resources, so the less we use, the better for Mother Earth.
So, when you’re trying to decide on a side dish for tonight’s dinner, remember that a health-wise and environmentally-amicable solution is just a legume away. If you’ve declared a moratorium on all things green and bean-y, we beg you to reconsider, and give peas a chance!
What’s your take on all things peas – fan or foe? Have a palate-pleasing recipe to liven up legumes? Do tell!