I Love Legumes

This post is dedicated to legumes.

I don’t want to hear any Paleo talk about how bad legumes are, like this:

Legumes have a similar story to grains; they weren’t consumed by the paleo hunter-gatherer because they needed to be cooked in order to be edible. Legumes also have similar traits to grains in their make-up; they contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation. They also contain lectins and play with healthy hormonal functions.

Types of legumes to avoid on the paleo diet include lentils, all beans (such as kidney beans, pinto beans and broad beans), peanuts (peanuts are a legume not a nut), soy beans and chickpeas.

So if something needs to be cooked to be edible, is chicken a no-no for the Paleo diet too?

And on the flipside, you can find all kinds of research saying how great legumes are for their natural fiber content and cancer-fighting properties.

Regardless of what the latest diet trend is, I love legumes.

And I’m going to share a few different ways that I used them yesterday. It had been a few weeks since I made hummus, and I’ve been missing it! When I was out at the local organic co-op yesterday picking up a few things, I allowed myself to be a little seduced by the olive bar. Greg is a big fan of olives… I think they’re just okay. But, I wanted to use them to make a hummus that he would really love, so I picked a few of them out, along with some roasted garlic (which I am definitely a huge fan of).

I filled up my food processor with some dried chickpeas that had been hydrated and boiled- plus some water, and added the olives and garlic.

And then added some (homemade!) tahini, salt, olive oil, water and let the food processor go!

Five minutes later, I had perfect, creamy, delicious hummus.

One of the things I love using hummus for is salad dressing. I mix a spoonful or two of it with some balsamic vinegar, and it’s the perfect binding agent/flavor enhancer for a salad. I only wish I had made this hummus before lunch yesterday, so that I could have enjoyed it with my favorite salad.


Dinner last night was inspired by two of my favorite Ashleys.

Let’s start with Ashley R. She had a post last week showing something that she had for dinner that I have not been able to stop thinking about ever since, and is one of my all-time fall favorites: Brussels sprouts and bacon. I tried to find the same shaved Brussels sprouts at Trader Joes last weekend, but they didn’t have them. So I got these instead.

And it was a pretty easy fix. :)

I roasted them in the oven, along with some turkey bacon to accompany the rest of the the meal (although I could easily just eaten a big plateful of this and been happy).

For the main part of the meal, legumes made an appearance again- this time in the form of lentils. I saw this recipe on Ashley W.’s blog last week, and quickly added it to me “to make” list. Man, I love lentils- but I don’t make them very often. They are the type of dish that I usually order at a restaurant, but for some reason, find them a little daunting to make at home. I don’t know why….

I used freekeh instead of brown rice and added a little garlic and onion powder for some extra flavor. I also used half water/half chicken stock. And my, oh my- this turned out to be delicious!

It may not look too pretty but trust me- it tasted wonderful. The Greek yogurt on top was the perfect touch!

And then I thought of this brilliant idea.

OH MAN. It was SO good. These two dishes were made to be together!

Thanks for the great meal, Ashleys!

Have a great weekend!


Unless your anti-legume, what’s your favorite? Do you have any great legume-based recipes to share?


  1. LoL – I have issues with Paleo. I did a 30 day Paleo challenge last year when I was doing Crossfit and had great results. My 15 year old son and my boyfriend both follow it 6 days a week with 1 free day/meal per week. We all sort of take issue with what “they” consider to be “paleo” or not. I’m like, you can’t call something “The Caveman Diet” but tell me that cavemen couldn’t have been able to produce corn, or peas or any legumes. And they could grow sweet potatoes but not white potatoes? ok. (And yes, I know sweet potatoes aren’t technically paleo approved either, but most Paleo People eat them) lol…so, when I make things for my son like certain beans, I’m like “this cavewoman was smart…she knew how to grow beans and they’re good for you”. :)

  2. Perfect with the yogurt on top! That how it was meant to be eaten. So glad you liked it.

  3. As much as I like aspects of the Paleo diet, I still love my legumes. They aren’t going anywhere. Black beans (mexican!) and garbanzo beans (so creamy, and I gotta have my hummus) tie for my favorite. :)

  4. Shaved Brussels sprouts? Who knew? Brussels are easily one of my favorite vegetables, and lentils are definitely my favorite legume! I like to do them in the slow cooker with just some stock and curry paste and let them go until they start to get creamy and fall apart. Sometimes toward the end I’ll throw in a grain (usually freekeh! I swear, I have also been planning to make hummus any day now, so this post is basically my food soul mate). Forget Paleo!!

  5. THANK YOU. So tired of the paleo fad!

  6. I LOVE legumes! There are several aspects of the paleo diet that really irk me, and eliminating legumes is definitely one of them. Chickpeas are my favorite and your olive hummus sounds awesome! Also, I think I need to start making tahini like you. :)

  7. I have yet to try lentils (but I want to!) and I love brussels sprouts so much! Pretty sure I’m going to have to convince my parents to try them soon so I can. Or let them know they’re on their own for dinner! ;)

  8. That hummus looks fab, I need to try it! I made hummus for the first time for the labor day party – I had no idea how easy it was to make and now I’m going to make it constantly. Someone shared with me that she used olive juice in hers, too, which sounded amazing – I love olives as much as I love legumes. And Brussels sprouts.

  9. I need to make lentils more often too. Actually, i have them on the docket for lunch today… but man I’m feeling lazy…

  10. I love white beans and black beans, heck I love all beans. I could not give them up for any reason. Your hummus is to die for, I can not wait to make that…Yummy

  11. I LOVE legumes. They’re good in chili too! P.s. I think the Paleo diet fad is ridiculous. Yes I said it.

  12. I LOVE olives too, and in hummus? To. die. for. ;)

    Love the brussel sprout salad, I am definitely going to do this! Seems like a perfect autumn base to a salad.

  13. Lol. I just love what you said about not wanting to hear paleo talk!! :)

  14. The reason I’m writing is because I read your blog and try to follow a Paleo lifestyle and felt that if you’re going to knock it down then maybe I can tell you some more about it before you judge it too harshly ;-). It’s origination is from the way our ancestors ate: they hunted game and when game wasn’t available they ate what they had gathered. They did cook their food (e.g. chicken, although they did eat more game-y meat), but the ability to boil beans for an extended amount of time really wasn’t available or as easy as eating gathered vegetation. While this is true, the science behind Paleo is much more than whether food is cooked or not cooked. It is about where a particular food rests on the glycemic index and what kind of response it produces in your gut.

    There is a lot of fiber in chickpeas (about 6 grams/.5 cups). Similarly the fiber for a ½ cup of cooked spinach has 7 grams of fiber. The difference (and why a paleo-ist would choose spinach over chickpeas) is because the glycemic index for chickpeas (~33) is almost 2.5x that of spinach (~13) (not to mention the gaseous properties of eating beans ;-)). The higher the glycemic index, the more sugar and in the quickest explanation…the more fat your body stores. Now, I LOVE hummus too, and I eat it occasionally and here’s even some information about legumes and how someone who eats according to the Paleo lifestyle can consume them because they aren’t even THAT bad (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/beans-legumes-carbs/#axzz26RqsskGV).

    My comment isn’t just about legumes, but much more about how you dismissed the Paleo lifestyle without knowing a lot about it. There are so many ways of eating out there and I have tried a lot of them. From fad diets (GM diet/cleanse) to veganism to eating according to the USDA food pyramid to now eating Paleo and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better. There are people who blindly follow Paleo without knowing the reasons behind it and therefore don’t understand why a certain food or food group is considered not Paleo and then get frustrated and/or turn against it as a result. To fully take on a lifestyle like Paleo it’s important to do the research (there are tons of resources out there and if you’re interested I’d start with It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig). I know Paleo is hard to digest (in the non-literal sense ;-)), but to dismiss it without knowing anything about it seemed really harsh.

    • Hi Julie- Thanks for your comment and providing more information about the Paleo diet. I didn’t “dismiss it” or “knock it down”- I just simply commented on the fact that it states that legumes are bad- and I happen not to agree. Like I said, you can find plenty of research on the contrary. While I definitely agree with many aspects of the Paleo diet, there are just some that I do not agree with (for myself). And that’s fine- we don’t all have to eat the same way.
      And I do know “some” things about it- I was actually looking into trying it to see if it actually made me feel any better- but it’s just not for me. I’m sorry if that offended you, but I’m glad that you have found a way of eating that makes YOU feel great!

      • Hey Lauren – thanks for replying! I see your point and really didn’t want my comment to come across as preachy – seriously :-) I tossed around the idea of not replying because I’ve never done that before and it’s your blog so your opinions, right? Totally…but, then I responded. :-) In the end, I really respect you for following your dreams and quitting teaching to go into the fitness industry – it’s totally awesome and good luck with it!

        • I totally figured that I would have a few comments on here about the “pros” for Paleo- and really- I DO want to hear them. I am always interested in learning about any methods of eating that make others feel better (and really- if that particular lifestyle makes you feel great- that is really wonderful!). I have just had SO many people tell me how awful certain foods are, that I just happen to not agree with. That being said- I’ll be doing my own “lifestyle experiment” soon that does eliminate diary (and many other things) but DOES include legumes. And if it doesn’t make me feel better, then at least I’ll know (but this particular experiment won’t be that hard for me to do, and I agree with the research for it). Everyone’s bodies are so different and react differently to certain things (duh, I’m sure you know that :)).
          Thanks for the sweet comment- I really appreciate the support! :)

  15. If I said no to legumes, I’d lose 75% of my go to meals. Chickpeas and blackbeans are a staple in my diet! And lentils…oh man. I am so making that recipe tonight!

  16. I live off of legumes!! Lentils are my favorite!! I have a ton of recipes on my blog with legumes. I think my eating habits are the exact opposite of Paleo! lol

  17. Ahhh i looove the shaved brussel sprouts at TJ’s!! I make them almost every night in a frying pan as a base for my stir-fry :) I pretty much cant imagine eating Paleo. Too many non-paleo foods keep me full and satisfied and energized. I love using ideas from some paleo recipes but not to cut any food group out.

  18. And so I must chime in, which is not usually my style. The problem with labeling anything Paleo is there are so many variations the term is pretty much meaningless. Each flavor comes with it’s own description and research as to why they eat (or don’t eat) what they do. In an ideal world everyone would spend the time to truly learn how food affects our bodies, but few have that time and fewer probably actually care. Food choices are so personal and no one wants to be told what they’re eating isn’t ideal or healthy. Everyone has choices and it’s up to the individual to decide what choice they want to make and we should be able to so without the fear of judgement or ridicule from others.

    Do I consider myself Paleo, nope. Would others classify me as such, probably. I took the time to figure out how certain food groups made me feel and what they were actually doing to my body. Armed with my own experience and research it’s easy now to mostly only make food choices that make me feel awesome. It’s actually empowering and freeing. No more calorie counting and no more watching the scale. I’m happy, healthy and full of energy. In the end that’s what we should all be striving for and we all will get there in our own way. I’ve been told a lot recently to just eat things in moderation and I feel with this way I actually am eating them in moderation but my moderation is probably more strict than yours and that’s fine.

    I’m over diet labels, I eat the Erin way. We all should be supportive in each others quest for health and happiness, it’s really that simple. So while you won’t find me making legumes at my home I will not judge you for making them in yours. In return I ask that you don’t roll your eyes when I ask the waiter at the restaurant if the chicken is cooked in soybean oil. If how you eat sincerely makes you happy and is working for you (this is the question we must honestly answer) then keep doing what you’re doing.

    My fav quote:
    “Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent” – Epictetus

    • So my master plan worked- you finally commented on my blog! :)
      This is SUCH a great comment, Erin- and I agree with you completely! I love what you said- and that you have found a way of eating/living that makes you feel great. Whatever someone wants to include of eliminate from their diet because it makes them feel alive is definitely a personal choice- and they should not be told over and over again how “bad” it is, whether it’s meat, dairy, gluten, or even legumes. I’ve interacted with far too many people that label themselves as “vegan” or “Paleo” or “gluten-free” or anything else- that will preach as to how their way is the only way to eat- for everyone- and how bad anything is that doesn’t fit into their diet. Your quote at the end is pretty much perfect.

    • Best food quote ever!

  19. i’m w/ you, Lauren! In fact, i JUST finished my lunch which included black beans and green beans!! At least, I’ve never had a problem with these items in my diet. annnndd they’re healthy :)

  20. Shut up! why have i not ever put olives in my hummus? smart lady!

  21. “So if something needs to be cooked to be edible, is chicken a no-no for the Paleo diet too?” <- AMEN!!! And if they want to go touting how great their diet is and how everything else is inferior due to this or that, how about the higher incidence of heart disease in individuals who consume massive amounts of red meat?! Ok, yeah, so obviously I have some beef with the Paleo diet…and yes, that pun was intended! ;)

    I could NEVER live without my beans and peanuts! Never ever! I like lentils…but um, yeah they don't really like me :-/ Regardless, your dinner still looks 100% amazing! There's nothing like the flavor combo of brussels and bacon! And holy creamy hummus! Looks great! And reminds me that I have some olives in the fridge right now that are begging to be blended up in some precious LEGUUUUUUUUUUMES!

  22. I love legumes in all shapes and sizes. I wouldn’t want to live in a bean less world. I had Huevos Rancheros with black beans for dinner tonight. No way am I giving that up.

  23. Pfft, legumes make my stomach hurt and I STILL love them. Paleos don’t know what they’re missing ;) Now brussels sprouts? Delicious in any way, shape or form.

Comments are welcome (and encouraged)!