Tag Archives: legumes

Picture of a cup of hummus with tomato

Tomato Hummus

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Pulses with some extra punch

Chickpeas are perhaps the most popular type of pulses. They are widely eaten around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. They form the basis of hummus, a creamy puree eaten as a dip or as a sandwich spread.
For classic hummus, cooked chickpeas are ground into a smooth mixture with sesame paste (tahini), olive oil, some spices, salt and lemon juice. But you don’t have to stick to that one classic recipe. The variations are endless.
Below is a simple recipe for tomato hummus. The dried tomato gives a deeper colour and also a bit more punch to the hummus. However, you could just as easily use other vegetables instead of tomato.

The ingredients for about 600g of tomato hummus

  • 460 g jarred or canned chickpeas or 200 g dry chickpeas
  • 45 g dried tomato or about 80 g dried tomato marinated in oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • a teaspoon of curcuma
  • a generous amount of black pepper
  • optionally fresh green herbs such as coriander, parsley or chives
  • maybe a few tablespoons of water to make the end result creamier

This is how to prepare the hummus

First method: starting from dry tomato and dry chickpeas

I personally prefer to work with dry chickpeas and dry tomatoes in bulk. This is much more economic in terms of price and avoids unnecessary packaging to be wasted.
Taste the dried tomato to estimate the salt content. Loose, dried tomatoes often already contain a good deal of salt. In that case, you can add the soaking water of the tomatoes to the hummus for which no extra salt is needed.

  • Chop the dried tomatoes into pieces.
  • Soak them overnight in about 150 ml of water. They will double in volume and weight.
  • Keep the tomato pieces and their soaking water.
  • Soak the chickpeas for 24 h in plenty of water. They also double in volume and weight.
  • Drain and briefly rinse the chickpeas.
  • Bring them to the boil in 3 to 4 times their volume of water, without salt.
  • Scoop off the foam floating on top with a skimmer until the boiling water remains more or less clear.
  • Then close the lid of the steamer pan.
  • Cook them under pressure for about 35 minutes.
  • Let the chickpeas cool.
  • Put the chickpeas, the tomatoes with their soaking water and the other ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Blend them into a creamy, orange puree. Add a little extra water if necessary.
  • Divide the hummus over glass jars and store in the fridge.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can also cook the chickpeas until tender in a conventional pan with a lid. Then count on a cooking time of one hour.

Second method: dried tomatoes in oil and pre-cooked canned chickpeas

You can also use dried, or rather semi-dried tomatoes from glass jars. These are dried tomatoes that are usually preserved in sometimes spicy oil and are therefore a bit more moist. Taste again for to estimate their salt content. You don’t need to pre-soak these marinated tomatoes first. Just drain them briefly.
Canned or jarred chickpeas, in liquid, are already pre-cooked. You don’t need the liquid from the packaging. You can cook them for an extra five to 10 minutes if necessary.

  • Chop the tomatoes.
  • Drain the liquid from the chickpeas.
  • Cook the chickpeas in water for another 10 minutes if necessary.
  • If so, leave the chickpeas to cool.
  • Put the chickpeas, the tomatoes with their soaking water and the other ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Blend them into a creamy, orange puree. Add a little extra water if necessary.
  • Divide the hummus over glass jars and store in the fridge.

The hummus thus obtained will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.

Are chickpeas full-fledged meat substitutes?

Chickpeas alone? The answer is no.
Cutting meat and other animal products from your menu and replacing them with legumes alone? Read below to find out what to consider.
Good legumes include:

  • Beans of all shapes and colours
  • Lentils in all possible shapes and colours
  • Lupin seeds
  • Soybeans and products derived from them such as tofu and tempeh

Soybeans and lupin seeds contain a pretty complete amino acid profile that is quite close to the amino acid profile of animal proteins.
In contrast, other beans and lentils are richer in the essential amino acid lysine, but contain little methionine. If you were to eat really only beans and lentils, it could potentially lead to imbalances.
Some examples of good grains, provided they are as complete (whole grain) as possible are :

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Unicorn
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Millet

Good pseudo-grains are:

  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth

Within this group of grains and pseudo-grains, it is quinoa that has the most balanced and complete amino acid profile.
The cereals and pseudo-grains, with the exception of quinoa, actually have a good amount of methionine. However, their lysine content is low compared to animal protein. Right opposite to legumes!
So legumes and cereals complement each other perfectly. So does this recipe’s hummus make a good pair with wholemeal bread, for example.

What vegetable protein do I eat best?

Apply the following two golden rules:

  • Eat soy and lupine products and/or quinoa liberally and regularly.
  • Eat grains and pseudo-grains combined with legumes.

There’s no need to combine grains and pulses in one and the same meal.

Tomato hummus, approximately per 100g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
781 kJ/187 kcal 21,3 g 4,5 g 8,9 g 0,9 g 7,2 g 5,5 g ?

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Picture of a chocolate spread with azuki beans

Azuki beans chocospread

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Beans are super versatile

How do you get kids to eat beans? Preferably as early and as regularly as possible. In the recipe below, azuki beans are processed in an unusual way to make a delicious chocolate-flavoured spread. This is much better than the commercial, usually excessively sweet chocolate spreads that are high in sugar, fat and also often contain cow’s milk.
Azuki beans can be found in the organic section of regular supermarkets or at organic shops and organic supermarkets. They are small, red-brown beans with a white spot in the middle. They are native to China or Japan.
Azuki beans are very healthy and have a slightly sweet flavour when cooked.

This is what you need

To fill two glass jars of about 225ml capacity, take:

  • 100g dry azuki beans
  • 7 soft dates (mazafati or medjoul)
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • savory
  • some dried seaweed, such as sea lettuce for example
  • a tiny pinch of sea salt

This is how to prepare them

  • Soak the azuki beans in plenty of water for 24 hours.
  • Then pour off the soaking water and rinse them well.
  • Cook the azuki beans until tender in unsalted water with some seaweed and savory.
  • Let cool.
  • Scoop the cooked beans, cocoa, pinch of salt and pitted dates into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Mash to a smooth paste. If necessary, scrape the sides of the cup occasionally.
  • Spoon the chocolate paste into jars and store in the fridge.

All done!

How to cook azuki beans?

We’ve started off with 100 grams of dry azuki beans in this recipe. Dry beans that you can buy in bulk store easily and are low in packaging. After soaking, the weight of the beans has doubled to almost 200 grams. After cooking, the wet bean mass weighs about 350 grams, including the seaweed and bean sprouts. So you could also work with pre-cooked canned azuki beans for this recipe. In that case, take about 350 grams of canned azuki beans.
Important: always cook dry beans without adding salt. Otherwise, the skin will harden and it will be very difficult to cook the beans until tender.
Take as the volume for the water about 3 to 4 times the volume of the (dry) beans.
Cook the azuki beans for about 1 hour on a gentle heat until tender in a classic pan with a lid. Scoop away any foam that floats to the top with a skimmer until the water remains almost clear. Then add some savory and some seaweed such as sea lettuce. This provides extra minerals and you hardly taste it in the end result.
I always cook the beans in a high pressure cooker for the sake of saving time and energy. Bring the beans to the boil and leave the lid loose on the pan for the first few minutes to then easily scoop away the foam here too. When the water remains reasonably clear, close the cooker and bring under pressure.
30-35 minutes of pressure cooking is enough to cook the azukis.

The taste test and health verdict

This naturally sweetened chocolate spread is rich in fibre yet contains a lot of valuable protein thanks to the azuki beans and cocoa. Low in fat, this spread is an ideal way to get children to eat legumes. And as an adult, you can continue to enjoy that heavenly experience on a slice of toasted wholemeal bread, completely plant-based and without the harmful side effects of the overly sugary and nutritionally inferior chocolate spreads on the market.
Moreover, you can also use this chocolate spread as a top or interlayer for pastries.

Choose ethical cocoa

Cocoa, like chocolate and also coffee, can be considered a luxury product or even an occasional pleasure food originating from tropical regions. Therefore, choose cocoa of ethical origin preferably. Look for brands, labels and certification that offer real guarantees that no child labour was involved. Because some of those labels look promising, but in practice mean little or nothing.
The much-used UTZ label is a telling example.

Choco paste made from azuki beans and dates, per 100 grams of product:

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
752 kJ/180 kcal 42,8 g 20,7 g 1,0 g 0,4 g 6,1 g 6,2 0,06 g

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Marinated edamame beans

Two hearty snacks with edamame

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Nutritional value hinges on preparation

Edamame are green soybeans. Young green soybeans are also called mukimame.
Edamame beans are not readily available everywhere, but you can find them more and more. In organic shops and Oriental supermarkets most easily. Usually deep frozen, and stripped of their pods. And if you have a choice between with or without pods, do without. Because the fibrous, rough pods are not so tasty.
Edamame beans are not only very healthy, but also super tasty. Of all the beans, they are also the quickest to prepare.
Below are two ideas for an edamame bean-based snack. These immediately give food for thought. About how best to handle preparing legumes and food in general.

Recipe 1: Edamame with cheese and onion flavour

This 100% plant-based recipe uses no cheese at all, of course. However, by cleverly combining some purely plant-based ingredients, you do get something reminiscent of the taste of cheese and onions.

What ingredients do you need?

  • 250g frozen edamame beans, shelled
  • one tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes
  • half a teaspoon of onion powder or onion grits
  • some black pepper
  • a quarter teaspoon of sea salt
  • half a teaspoon of (apple cider) vinegar
  • and finally half a teaspoon of olive oil

This is how to prepare them

  • Cook the edamame beans in lightly salted water for 5-6 minutes
  • Drain them and rinse briefly
  • Combine all the other ingredients for the marinade
  • Mix the beans into the marinade


Recipe 2: Grilled spicy Edamame beans

The big difference here is that the marinated beans are grilled in the oven or in an airfryer at 180 to 190 °C.

What ingredients do you need?

  • 250g frozen edamame beans, shelled
  • a teaspoon of red paprika
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • one teaspoon of onion powder or onion grits
  • another teaspoon of garlic powder
  • a tablespoon of melted coconut oil
  • and finally a teaspoon of sea salt

This is how to prepare these appetisers with edamame

  • Heat the oven to 190 °C
  • Mix the edamame beans and all the ingredients well
  • Spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper for the oven or on the grid of an airfryer
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until brown and crispy

The grilled beans are ready.
Grilled edamame beans

The taste test

I personally fall like a log for the edamame beans in the first recipe. A heavenly flavour with notes of salt, acid and umami with the creaminess of the olive oil. The beans have a firm bite and are juicy. They also look like fresh, firm beans.

Recipe number two sums up very well what flavour and bite is popular in our Western snacking and fast-food culture. It is the sought-after combination of salty, spicy, dry and crunchy. The beans crack just like classic brittle roasted peanuts. Many people will love this and won’t be able to stay away from it. Easily available fast-food peanut snacks are often fried in a crust of oil, salt, sugar and flour. In contrast, these roasted edamame snacks have the advantage of being exempt of sugar, flavour enhancers or food preservatives.
But they look nothing like the fresh, moist beans they were at the beginning of the run. They are now dried out and brown …

The health verdict

Put yourself in the place of your stomach and digestive system for a moment. Which is easiest to digest: the short-cooked beans that have retained their natural moisture content? Or the hard, dry and now browned beans? After all, for these latter, our intestines need extra moisture to digest them.
And which is healthiest: the unheated olive oil or the coconut oil heated to 190 °C?
Recipe number one wins with flying colours!

Eat your food as little processed as possible

Many cookbooks are full of recipes that seem to only give importance to taste, feel and appearance of our food. Rarely is there any mention of health, digestibility or the ease with which the dish can be absorbed by our metabolism.
The same goes for most products displayed in our food shops and supermarkets.
Not infrequently, good ingredients lose much, if not all, of their nutritional value and energetic potential just by the method of preparation chosen. Either by the way they are processed or altered.

What are the healthiest cooking techniques?

In the world of health philosophies, people pretty much agree on one thing. Namely that processed, especially extremely processed foods can be downright harmful in the long run.
Not all foods can be eaten raw. Legumes or certain starchy root vegetables, for example, have to be cooked. On the other hand, some foods are sometimes even nutritionally enhanced after heating. This is the case for steamed or boiled carrots compared to raw carrots, for instance. Fermentation techniques can also change the taste and nutritional value of vegetables for the better.
And in our own kitchen, too, we can very consciously choose those recipes that use short, gentle cooking techniques. Because these involve the fewest losses.
Below are some cooking techniques classified from softer to harder:

  • steaming (over boiling water)
  • blanching
  • boiling
  • steaming (in a small amount of water and fat)
  • baking
  • braising
  • broiling
  • stir frying (wok)
  • grilling
  • deep frying
  • popping
  • blackening

The shorter the food item is heated and the softer the cooking technique, the greater the remaining nutritional value.

Edamame beans, frozen, unprepared, per 100 g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
507 kJ/121 kcal 8,9 g 2,2 g 5,2 g 0,6 g 11,9 g 5,2 g 0,03 g

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Beans spread

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy and plant-based

When beans become spreadable

As a child, I had an aversion to beans. They were white beans, often in an uninspiring tomato sauce, from cans. Fortunately, we didn’t eat them very often.
Things are different now! I eat beans pretty much every day in one or other form.
Beans are an essential ingredient in healthy plant-based cooking.
They contain relatively high amounts of vegetable protein as well as a lot of fibre and useful minerals.

There are countless different varieties, many of them local. In recent years, I have been quite a fan of the multiform and multicoloured Greek beans.
For the recipe below, you can actually use any kind of bean.
I like to start from dry beans. These are very inexpensive in terms of price and you can buy them in bulk.
That’s immediately a lot less packaging waste.

For almost a kilo of bean paste you will need:

  • 200 g dried beans
  • One large carrot
  • A medium-sized onion
  • 40 g dried tomatoes
  • One clove of garlic (optional)
  • Savory, two teaspoons to one tablespoon
  • Some seaweed, e.g. a tablespoon of dried sea lettuce
  • One teaspoon of the following herbs or spices:
    • Thyme
    • Origano
    • fennel seed
    • paprika powder
    • turmeric (optional)

Picture of ingredients for a vegan bean spread
Turmeric gives your bean spread a warmer colour. Turmeric is a spice with a very respectable health reputation; among other things, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Savory is a herb that will improve the digestibility of the cooked beans.
You can of course adapt the suggested spice and herbs mix. Give your creativity full rein.


  • Soak the dry beans in water for 24 hrs. They will swell and come to life.
  • Chop up the dried tomatoes and soak them in a little water too

This is how to cook the beans

  • Pour away the soaking water from the beans and briefly rinse them under the tap. Drain briefly.
  • Cook the beans until tender. This is best done in a pressure cooker:
    • Fully submerge the beans in water (+ 2 to 3 cm) and put the pan under fire. Do not add any salt!
    • Bring the water to the boil. Depending on the type of bean, white foam will rise to the surface.
    • Remove the foam with a skimmer until almost no foam rises to the top anymore.
    • Add 1 teaspoon of savory and 1 teaspoon of dried seaweed (sea lettuce or some other seaweed).
    • Now close the pressure cooker, bring under pressure and boil for about 45 minutes.
    • Turn off the heat after the cooking time and slowly let the pressure release.

This is how to prepare the vegetables

  • Bring a little water to the boil in a pan, sprinkle in the herbs of your choice (e.g. cumin seeds, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds …).
  • Add the finely chopped onion and garlic and allow to glaze a little.
  • Next, add the finely chopped peeled carrot and the soaked tomatoes, the latter along with their soaking water.
  • Let everything continue to simmer together with the lid on for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and leave to cool down a little.

This is how to mix everything into bean puree

  • Bring the stewed vegetables into a food processor.
  • Add the cooked and cooled beans. Keep some of the cooking liquid aside.
  • Add two generous tablespoons of sesame paste (tahini).
  • Mix, first on low, then on high speed until you get a spreadable, puree-like texture.
  • Taste and add extra black pepper, paprika powder and a generous amount of turmeric if necessary or desired.
  • Divide the bean spread between two jars of approx 500ml capacity, close them hermetically.
  • The bean puree will keep for a week in the fridge.

If the mixture turns out too dry, add a few tablespoons of the beans’ cooking liquid until the consistency feels right to you..
It’s important to cook the beans without salt.
When you cook beans in salted water, their skin hardens, so they tend to take up to twice as long to cook until soft.
In the above recipe, you basically don’t need to add extra salt. After all, most dried tomatoes are salty on their own. That is why we also include the soaking water of the tomatoes in the recipe.
If you doubt whether your dried tomatoes are already salty or not, taste the soaking water before adding them.

The endless variety of legumes

If you do some browsing in organic shops and Asian food supermarkets, you almost fall over backwards with the sheer variety of shapes and colours of beans and lentils. What a far cry from the monotonous “white beans in tomato sauce”. The Greek and Italian regional varieties are particularly striking.
When you eat a combination of a grain and legumes (beans or pulses) every day, that in itself is a solid daily base to meet your protein needs.
If you are an intense athlete, do heavy physical work or dislike legumes, then the more concentrated plant-based protein sources such as tofu, tempeh and seitan are recommended to secure your protein intake.

Are legumes easily digestible?

As with any new type of food food you add to your menu for the first time, it may take a few weeks for your gut flora to adjust. Some flatulence may occur at first.
It is true that legumes, and beans in particular, are coated with certain substances that inhibit premature germination of the bean. These are the famous lectins. These indeed inhibit the digestibility of legumes.
Therefore, use a few simple techniques to virtually eliminate those substances:

  • Soak the legumes for at least one night and pour away the soaking water.
  • Scoop away the foam that rises to the top at the start of cooking.
  • Cook the beans and lentils long enough until they are really well cooked.
  • Chew! Chew the beans and lentils long enough before swallowing

For beans, the cooking time will be easily an hour and 15 minutes to as much as an hour and a half in a regular pan. With a pressure cooker, you reduce cooking time to 35 to 45 minutes. A little experimentation pays off!

Can you eat legumes raw?

You can sprout both lentils and beans for a few days in a sprouting jar or sprouting machine. First leave them under water for 24 h, then rinse and keep them moist. Change the water once or twice a day and rinse the sprouts under running water each time.
Sprouted beans and lentils are delicious in salads.

Split pea soup ingredients

Easy split pea soup

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy and vegan

Anyone on a purely vegan diet would do well to keep a close eye on the proportion of protein. Peas and split peas are an excellent and very cheap source of high-quality plant protein with a rich and varied amino acid spectrum. They also contain a lot of complex carbohydrates and a good deal of valuable fibre.
Dream food, really!
What could be cozier and heartier than a good bowl of steaming hot pea soup in the cold season? And you can do that right from breakfast!

What you need for about 1 litre of freshly made soup:

  • 150 gr split peas
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • eventually a piece of green celery
  • one to one and a half tablespoons of good olive oil
  • Herbs such as: cumin seed, savory, fennel seed …
  • pepper and salt to taste

You can also add vegetable stock cubes to give extra flavour to the soup, but I’m not a fan of that myself.
Picture of split pea soup with its ingredients

Step by step

  • Allow the split peas to soak in water for a few hours until they are swollen
  • Rinse them in a sieve under running water
  • Gently heat the olive oil on low fire, sprinkle in the herbs (cumin seed, savory, fennel, or others, according to personal taste …) and let them fry softly in the oil for a few moments allow them to release their flavour
  • Add the finely chopped onion and carrot and fry until they become a little glassy
  • Pour in the split peas, stir and briefly fry
  • Pour 1 litre of water over the vegetables, bring to the boil
  • The cooking time depends on the type of pan: approx. 35 minutes in an ordinary pan. If you use a pressure cooker, reduce the cooking time to about 15 to 20 minutes.

Extremely important

When cooking legumes, add the salt only after the cooking process.
This applies to sea salt, salted soy sauce as well as any salty stock cubes or stock in powder.
Finally, you might add some extra pepper to taste and finely mix the soup with a handheld mixer or in a blender.
Serve nice and hot!

Enjoy this delicious, simple, fortifying soup with its respectable protein content!
Nutritional values split peas

When is the best moment to eat protein?

Opinions differ.
Some people claim that you benefit more from protein in the morning and at noon than in the evening. They claim it would be best to go to bed “light” with a digestive system that has finished its day job so that all the energy can be put into recuperation at night.
On the other hand, the night is precisely the time when protein synthesis and muscle recovery and building also take place. So according to other authors, it is a good idea to include protein in your last meal so that it enters the bloodstream at night and is available for protein synthesis.
That seems to make good sense.