Legumes For Protein

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lentil salad

Legumes For Protein

Legumes are also rich in plant-protective phytochemicals linked with health protection.

For example, many dark-colored legumes, like black beans and black lentils, contain anthocyanins, the same health-promoting pigments found in brightly colored berries, like blueberries and cranberries.

Many of us don’t eat enough of these healthy plant foods; they’ve been replaced by animal foods and highly processed products in our modern diet.

Plan to make a return to legumes every day.

For breakfast, try pinto, kidney, or black beans with whole grain tortillas or even baked beans on toast, English-style.

Have a bean or lentil chili or hummus wrap for lunch, and a bean curry or stewed black-eyed peas with greens for dinner.

Beans can even be part of snack time, if you nibble on edamame straight from the pod or roast some whole chickpeas in spices.

To help avoid digestive upset, introduce legumes to your diet slowly if you’re not used to them, but eventually shoot for at least one serving a day for best health benefits.

Recipe of the Day:  French Lentil Salad With Cherry Tomatoes

Active Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Total Preparation Time:  30 minutes (not including chilling time)

Beans aren’t the only member of the legume family worth celebrating.

Lentils, packed with fiber and protein, are just as nutritious.

Plus they cook up – no soaking required – in only 15-20 minutes.

This simple salad, seasoned with a French vinaigrette, is a classic dish in France.

It makes a wonderful, protein-rich highlight of any meal.

Because the flavors continue to meld, it’s also great the next day.

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

1 pound dried lentils (or 3 cups cooked; see Note)

4 cups water

2 teaspoons reduced sodium vegetable broth base

4 celery stalks, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)

1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 medium shallots, finely diced

1/4 cup packed chopped fresh parsley

1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 medium garlic clove, minced

Pinch of sea salt, optional

*Use as many organic ingredients as possible.

1.  Place the lentils, water, and broth base in a pot.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but firm.

2.  Remove from the heat, drain any remaining liquid, and transfer the lentils to a large bowl.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

3.  Stir in the celery, tomatoes, shallots, and parsley.

4.  In a small dish, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, herbs de Provence, black pepper, and garlic.

5.  Add the dressing to the lentil mixture and toss.  Taste and season with sea salt, if desired.  Chill until serving time.

Note:  If you’re in a rush, use precooked, refrigerated lentils, available at many stores.  Although a classic French lentil salad uses Lentils du puys (small, dark green lentils), try other varieties for a colorful twist, like yellow, black, or multicolored lentils.

Variation:  Substitute cooked beans, like white, fava, or cranberry beans, for the lentils.

Per serving:  136 calories, 4 g total fat (0.5 g saturated), 55 mg sodium, 19 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugar), 4 g fiber, 8 g protein.

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Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com

from Plant-Powered For Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN

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