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Legumes for lunch

Beans, lentils and chickpeas are full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are filling and delicious, but need a little spicing up! We often cook up a batch on the weekend to have them ready to go for easy lunches or quick warm suppers. 

Dried beans are inexpensive and taste better than canned beans. However, in the spirit of not letting the best be the enemy of the good, cans are convenient for speedy meals. Legumes, whether dried or canned, are a fabulous part of a healthy diet. 


Here are some of our favorite recipes, that can be kept in the fridge to grab and go, or frozen for later. 


Simple Bean Chili

Lots of flavour with less ingredients! 

2x 15.5 oz cans kidney beans, drained (440g) 

6 tablespoons olive oil 

2 ½ tablespoons chili powder 

1 large onion, chopped 

2 poblano chili peppers, diced 

1 28 oz can tomatoes 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Warm olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. Add the onion and chilis and sauté until soft. Add drained beans and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and chili powder and continue to sauté for five more minutes. Add 1 large can tomatoes: if whole, break them up in the pot with a wooden spoon. Simmer on low for one hour. 

You can top your bean chili with chopped lettuce, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, or your favorite chili topper. 


Easy chickpea curry 

A food processor makes this recipe a snap 

2x 15.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained 

1 can coconut milk 

2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala 

1 small onion 

2 inch knob of ginger 

2 garlic cloves 

2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil 

1 large tomato, pureed in food processor 

1 tablespoon fish sauce 

1 tablespoon honey 

Juice of 2 limes 

In the food processor, mince up onion, garlic and ginger. If you do not have a food processor, chop these together to a fine paste. 

Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil until fragrant, then add curry powder and continue to cook a few more minutes. Add pureed tomato and keep cooking for a little longer.


Now add drained chickpeas, coconut milk, fish sauce and honey. Simmer for one hour. Taste for salt to see if you would like a pinch more seasoning. Add freshly squeezed lime juice at the end of cooking. Chili flakes or hot sauce can be added if you like things spicy. 

Very nice with brown rice, of course, and also good over a baked sweet potato! 


Big-Batch Marinated Lentils 

Keep a batch of these tasty, dressed lentils in the fridge to add to salads, pasta or soups, all week long

2 ½ cups dry French green or black beluga lentils: we want the lentils to keep their shape 

3 teaspoons salt 

¼ cup olive oil 

¼ cup red wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon honey 

½ teaspoon smoked Spanish or Hungarian sweet paprika


Combine lentils and 2 teaspoons salt in a large pot and add cold water to cover them by at least 1 inch. 


Bring to the boil and simmer until tender; about thirty minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt. 


Drain the lentils, and then pour the dressing over them. Stir well to combine and let them sit for fifteen minutes to absorb the flavour of the dressing. These can be served immediately as a side dish for salmon or chicken, or can be refrigerated to add heft and flavour to salads, rice, or pasta. Good hot, cold, or reheated! 

And check out our tomato lentil soup recipe, that uses red lentils.

These all work well in a thermos for a warm lunch on a cold day. If you have to heat your food in a microwave oven, please make sure it is in glass or china, not plastic! 

One part of dried beans will make three parts of cooked beans. For example, for the chili recipe you’d need about 10 oz of dried beans to cook up, to make the 31 oz for the recipe.

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