Chickpeas have long been hailed as the super bean. They are versatile, healthy, and are the star ingredient in one of the most popular snacks of all time, hummus. However, there is a new bean in town. Or rather, a very historic and old bean that is getting a bit more glory and much-deserved attention these days: the lupini bean.
What Are Lupini Beans?
Lupini beans (often called lupin beans) are seeds from the lupinus albus plant. They are a legume that remind me of a mix of a chickpea, edamame, soy bean, and fava bean. The lupini bean has quite the impressive history and has been providing a powerful protein punch for thousands of years. Found mostly in Mediterranean countries and South American cultures, archaeologists have actually traced lupini beans back to Ancient Egypt, and they were even a staple in the Roman Empire culture. It’s been said that these little beans fueled Roman warriors in battle. The Colosseum just got even more impressive.
Let’s Talk About Health
Lupini or lupin beans are truly like a superhero food in the days of low-carbohydrate and high-protein eating. Lupini beans are a powerful bean that are chock-full of plant protein content (one cup of boiled lupini beans has a whopping 26 grams of protein), making vegans and health-conscious eaters alike quite happy. They are filled with fiber and low in carbohydrates (zero net carbs, for you keto-lovers) and low in calories (just 60 calories in 25 beans), basically making lupini beans a superfood and healthy snack that you need to start incorporating into your diet now. Think of this bean as a wonderful addition to your snack “grab bag.”
How Can You Eat Lupini Beans?
The dried beans are often shelled and their seeds are then soaked and simmered or boiled in water. Some prepare a brine, but they may also be pickled, cooked, or marinated, which helps to soften the bitter beans and add flavor. They can be served as tapas or snacks, oftentimes alongside briny olives, and make a great addition to meals, such as salads, pastas, or pureed into a hummus-like dip.
Lupini beans can actually be toxic due to high levels of alkaloids, so they need to be prepared properly. You can prepare and cook your own lupini beans by buying dried lupin beans, soaking them in water, cooking them in boiled water, and rinsing repeatedly with fresh water, but the preparation can take several days of rinsing with cold water or even weeks. These days, I’m more apt to buy the beans cooked and ready to eat from my local grocery store. Lupini producer BRAMI offers a convenient vacuum-sealed pouch that can be stored in the refrigerator once opened; the airtight container keeps the beans fresher for longer. They showcase several varieties of Mediterranean-inspired flavors such as chili and lime; salt and vinegar; and garlic and rosemary.
“BRAMI is [a] shelf-stable, ready-to-eat, fresh veggie snack that isn’t baked, fried, or dried. It’s a marinated fresh Italian bean snack. BRAMI is different from other lupini beans because they’re sold in ready-to-eat pouches, made with clean ingredients and no artificial preservatives, and we are the only company that offers different flavors,” says Aaron Gatti, BRAMI CEO & Founder. BRAMI’s lupini beans are also soy-free, so a great alternative for those avoiding soy in their foods. BRAMI serves the beans intact in their shell. They can be eaten whole in one bite, seed and skin and all, or you can use your fingers or teeth to squeeze the seed out of the skin and into your mouth. Whichever direction you choose, it’s fun and delicious.
Personally, I like to munch on them as-is and they are great for eating on the go. Even my toddler loves popping them in her mouth as an afternoon snack. Pack them in your backpack for your next hike or post-workout graze. The protein and fiber will fill you up! These beans make a wonderful salad topping, especially when paired with feta, and can be used in cooking to enhance pastas, soups, and stir fries too.
Looking for a few recipe ideas? We’ve got you covered. Below are two recipes; one for carnivores and one for vegans and plant-based eaters, which requires no cooking. Both recipes are chock-full of protein and fiber, which will provide you with some amped-up fuel and energy.
Swiss Chard, Sausage, and Lupini Beans with Feta
A healthy one-skillet dinner that serves two.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 chicken sausages, diced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems separated from leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 package Garlic & Herb BRAMI lupini beans (or any prepared plain lupini beans that you season yourself)
- 2 ounces feta, crumbled
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lemon slice
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add olive oil to skillet. When oil is hot, add chicken sausage and sauté until browned, about three minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
- Add Swiss chard stems and sauté for one to two minutes. Then add leaves and sauté until leaves start to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add lupini beans and sausages back into skillet to heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add feta and a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy.
Cento Ready to Eat Lupini Beans, $2.25 at Walmart
Ready to be seasoned however you like for snacking or adding to meals.
This recipe, courtesy of BRAMI, is designed to showcase their beans, but you can also use other plain prepared lupini beans and add the seasonings of your choice to switch up the flavors.
- 1 Pouch of BRAMI (any flavor)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sweet or red onion
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Dice BRAMI, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.
- Finely chop parsley. Mix all ingredients together.
- Add lemon juice.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
For Mediterranean flair: Use Garlic & Herb BRAMI. Add cumin, turmeric, and harissa seasoning.
BRAMI Lupini Bean Snack Variety Pack, 4 for $18.94 on Amazon
Indecisive? Try ALL the flavors.
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