What Is a Legume?


Today I visited my friends over at Kandu for a discussion about food as part of the organization’s program to share community experiences with their clients. Last year we talked about the many shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors of vegetables at the Holland Farmers Market.

Why legumes today? Well, last winter, when Bill and I conducted our experiment “How to Eat Healthy on $5 a Day,” we learned that the cheapest, healthiest, and most filling food consisted of legumes. I think it’s important information to share with people since the cost of food is a concern to everyone. And, many legume recipes are easy to prepare. We just don’t have to eat meat all the time to get the protein we need on a daily basis.

To prepare for our discussion today, I wondered: What defines a legume? The simplest answer is that it comes from a pod.

As in pea pods and bean pods. In addition, the legume group include peanuts, lentils, alfalfa, clover, carob, and soy, among others.

The samples I brought to share included red lentils, French green lentils, black (or turtle) beans, adzuki beans, white kidney (or canellini) beans, and green split peas. After our discussion the group turned them into art by layering them in the jar above.

We also sampled dry roasted edamame (with wasabi—a little zippy for some!) and we devoured a crock of Moros y Cristianos (“Moors and Christians”)—a traditional black bean and rice dish from Cuba.

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4 responses to “What Is a Legume?

  1. I love the Moros y Cristianos name; that’s awesome! Can’t wait to see the recipe.

    • Thanks, Scott! I love that name, too! It’s really, really yummy, so I will try and make it again soon in order to post photos!

  2. Marcia was a fabulous speaker/educator and we all benefited from her knowledge and cooking savvy. Thank you, Marsh!

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