By Dr. Janet Brill
Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are plant power foods that are simply bursting with nutrition. I encourage you to embrace these small life-saving plant proteins. Lentils, for example, have been part of the culinary culture of the Mediterranean diet throughout the ages. These seeds may be petite, but they are nutrition giants, loaded with the heart healthiest of ingredients including fiber, antioxidants, plant protein, vitamins, minerals, and iron — and all this for just pennies on the dollar.
Legumes’ complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy and plant protein, and unlike animal protein, legumes are rich in plaque fighting fiber and phytochemicals. What’s more, research suggests that eating a daily serving of legumes might just be the dietary secret to longevity. Chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) definitely count as a legume. Chickpeas are the foundation for hummus—so versatile—this is the perfect season to use hummus for dipping veggies at your outdoor BBQ or as a sandwich spread.
Check out this zero cholesterol, heart healthy recipe of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Dr. Janet’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Use either jarred, or roast your own red peppers for this tasty dip or sandwich spread. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the best flavor.
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large basil leaves, chopped
In a blender or food processor mix the red pepper strips, chickpeas, water, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, and basil until smooth.
NUTRITION IN A BOX
Per 1/4 cup:
- Calories: 141
- Fat: 10 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, < 1 g ALA)
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 243 mg
- Carbohydrate: 11 g
- Dietary Fiber: 3 g
- Sugars: < 1 g
- Protein: 4g
Recipe excerpt from Dr. Janet’s book: Prevent a Second Heart Attack