Legumes are low in calorie and high in nutrients

Healthy and nutritious beans and legumes many nutrients including essential vitamins. They are a great source of protein and dietary fibre and are considered a near perfect food -- low in calorie and high in nutrients. They are a great source of energy.

The power list of beans and legumes includes black beans, peanuts, soya beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, moong, lentils, peas, mottled beans, white and butterbeans. It is important to eat at least two servings of beans and legumes to combat an array of diseases. If consumed regularly, legumes can help reduce heart disorders, control blood sugar, reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.

There are many recipes with beans in them to make your meal a healthy one. Replace part of your wheat flour with soya bean flour and increase the protein content of your diet. Mix sprouts in salad or use it as a topping for your sandwiches. Add soya bean to vegetable stew, soup or blend a tasty dip for raw carrot. Hot, cold, mashed or whole the bean will constantly surprise you with its versatility.

Here are few recipes:

BLACK BEANS AND YELLOW RICE WITH FRESH CUCUMBER AND TOMATO TOPPING

Ingredients:

Half cup uncooked white rice

3/4 cup boiled black beans rinsed and drained

1 large onion finely chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

Half cup chicken broth

2 tsp chilli powder

1 cup water

Half tsp turmeric powder

1 tomato finely chopped

1 small cucumber finely chopped

2 tbsp oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions for three minutes until light brown. Add garlic, stir for a few seconds. Add beans, chicken broth, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove, cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan or pressure cooker, combine water, turmeric and rice, and cook rice. In a medium bowl, gently mix tomato and cucumber. To serve, spoon bean mixture over rice, top with tomato and cucumber, and serve with lime wedges.

QUICK BOWL SALAD

Ingredients:

1 cup boiled kabuli chana, moong sprouts and soyabeans sprouts

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped mushroom

2 tsp tamarind (imli) chutney

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Lightly sauté mushroom in butter over low flame. To this add boiled kabuli chana, moong sprouts and soyabean sprouts and mix salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice. Serve hot garnished with imli chutney, chaat masala and chopped coriander leaves.

PEANUT UPAMA

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh and tender peanuts

Bunch of coriander leaves

Half tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp mustard seeds

Pinch of asafoetida

Half coconut grated finely

6 green chillies minced

1 large onion finely chopped

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tbsp ghee

Salt to taste

Method: Chop the nuts coarsely. Heat the ghee and add mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds stop popping, add onion and chillies and fry till brown. Put in the turmeric and salt and mix well. Add the nuts and coconut, mix well and then pour in a cup of water. Cover and cook till the nuts are tender and dry. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

GREEN PEAS FILLED SAMOSAS

Ingredients:

For Stuffing

2 medium sized potatoes

Half cup freshly shelled peas

1 tbsp butter or ghee

1 bunch coriander leaves

Half tsp chilli powder

2 small tomatoes

1 medium sized onion

A small piece of ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp ground raw mango pulp or lemon juice

For Making Samosas Cone

1 cup plain flour (maida)

1 tbsp ghee for applying inside cone

Half tsp salt

2 tbsp milk curd or warm milk for mixing

Oil for frying

Method: To prepare the stuffing, boil potatoes with their jackets. When tender, cool, skin and cut them into small cubes. Now in a deep frying pan, add ghee and fry onion, ginger and coriander leaves. Add salt, chilli powder and sliced tomatoes. Stir well and allow to sizzle for a few minutes. Put in the peas, mix and cook gently covered for 10 minutes. Next, mix the diced potatoes, add garam masala and lemon juice and cook till dry before removing from heat.

To Prepare Samosas Cone

For preparing cones, sieve the flour. Heat butter or ghee and pour it over the flour. Add salt and mix into the stiff dough by gradually adding a little of warm milk. Now shape it in form of the cones.

The stuffing can open the edges of the samosas, so the side and outside edges of each samosas should be pasted with milk curd before sticking together and frying.