Try This Month’s Featured Vegetable – Legumes!

What are legumes? Legumes are awesome!  Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans (such as chickpeas or garbanzo beans, kidney, black, Anasazi, navy, pinto, and great northern beans, and more), peas and lentils.

Why would I eat legumes?  Legumes are one of the most nutritious foods available. Generally legumes are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, phosphorus, potassium, iron and magnesium. They are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber; contain low glycemic index carbohydrates and are gluten free (suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity). Legumes also contain phytonutrients and research has shown legumes can reduce risk of certain cancers, heart disease and other chronic diseases.  They are a good source of protein, so legumes can be a healthy and economical substitute for meat.

How can I include legumes in my diet?  Legumes can easily be added to soup, salad, casseroles, made into burgers, blended as hummus, refried and other creative additions to your menu.  Most grocery stores carry a wide variety of legumes — dried and canned.   If you are choosing canned, select the “no-salt added” or drain and rinse the beans to reduce sodium content. If you are choosing dried beans or peas, they will require soaking to re-hydrate them prior to cooking.  A pressure cooker can greatly reduce cooking time.

What about the gas?  To reduce the effect that legumes often produce there are several tips to follow.  First, make sure the bean is well cooked until it is soft and tender. Mashing (such as re-fried beans), blending (such as hummus) and/or chewing well can minimize gas.  Start with eating small amounts! Start with 1-2 tablespoons per day to allow your digestive system to adjust.  Gradually increase to ¼ – ½ cup serving.  Adding spices (such as cumin, fennel and ginger) can also help reduce gas and bloating.

Super Easy Hummus

  • 1 (15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (1-2 teaspoons minced garlic)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and salt in food processor or high quality blender; stream reserved bean liquid into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved.
  2. Use as a dip with a variety of vegetables.
  3. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com. 

Stop by the Health & Wellness Center Lobby on Wednesday, May 20th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm to taste test  various VEGGIE DIPS, and receive recipes and information on garbanzo beans and other legumes. Enter to win prizes.  Open to all FCP Community and General Public.  For questions please call Community Health at 715-478-4355.