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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!
Split pea soup is super easy to make — all you need are 1 cup of green split peas (super cheap!) to 4 cups water or vegetable broth. You can cook it in the crockpot, which is also a “green” way to go in terms of energy use. Season with thyme, sage, and a few bay leaves. Combine all the ingredients in a crockpot, cover and cook on low for at least 4 hours, or until the peas are soft. Yuuummm!
I love split pea soup too; I add an onion, a carrot, a piece of celery and a potato to the recipe above though and then blend, add half a cup of milk, let boil again and it’s ready….
I also saw a pea and ham quiche in a cookbook somewhere that looked tasty…
Nothing says “yuck” like dry, grainy overcooked peas. Plus over cooking them will cause all the vitamins and minerals to leach out. They take almost no time to cook. Peas in a can get mushy too fast and they often taste like metal, so I use frozen ones. All they need is two minutes covered in the microwave or, to be energy efficient, I put them in an oven safe bowl and use the residual heat for the oven to cook them, also for only a few minutes. Presto, plump, juicy peas with all the vitamins and minerals you need and they are super tasty.
Legumes are awesome!! You can cook any legume with a pork product (bacon, ham kocks, etc.) and they come out super flavorful. For all you veggies out there, a simple addition of mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrots) and a bay leaf or two, you have hearty dish with a delicate flavor.
For those of you who don’t like legumes of any sort, they make a great thickener for soups and sauces. Just cook the legume of your choice until it is nice and soft, put them in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Be sure to do this in small quantities to avoid burning yourself or making a mess. Add to your soup or sauce until it’s to you desired thickness. Voila, a thick and creamy product with a healthy and tasty twist.
I love peas. especially dried and spiced, mmm.
Dominique, thanks for the recipe for us veggie heads.
I’m a health freak vegetarian with vegan ways. I love most veggies except eggplant and artichokes.
Haven’t you guys heard? There’s no such thing as global warming….Climate Gate, anyone…?
I find peas to be very versatile – they show up in a lot of Mediterranean food, like paella and Americanized carbonara. There’s also nothing like eating fresh snowpeas in the Spring, skin and all!
Unadulterated words, some truthful words dude. Made my day!
thanks for the amazing recipes, and all the legume love! 🙂
my favorite pea recipe is a good ol’ southern classic- pea salad.
you take a can (or two for alot of people) of peas, drain them, put them in a bowl with a chopped boiled egg, chopped fresh tomato, finely chopped onion (very little is needed), shredded cheese, and a couple tbs of mayo or miracle whip. then you can salt and pepper to taste and chill it before serving, its wonderful.
angela, thanks for the salad recipe!
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