Legumes are a good source of plant protein, they’re high in fiber and low in fat. They can be a great addition to any diet, even if you’re not on a plant-based diet. Either replace some of the meat in your diet with legumes or add them to a regular meat-containing dish, such as chili, soups or casseroles.

You can buy canned beans and lentils with no added salt for convenience or you can buy them dried, then cook them from scratch. Beans can be kept in big batches in the freezer.

Storage: Keep dried beans and lentils in an airtight container in a cool dark place. They can be kept this way for many years, but may dry out over time. Once cooked, they can be kept in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for several months. To use frozen legumes, take out the desired amount, rinse them a few times and let them soak in warm water until thawed (or let them thaw in the fridge). Keep canned legumes at room temperature.

Finally, tofu and tempeh should be kept in the refrigerator. You can also find edamames in the frozen section of most grocery stores.

Common Legumes to Keep in your Pantry:

  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Dark Red Kidney beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Green or brown lentils
  • French lentils
  • Red lentils
  • Edamame
  • Firm or extra-firm tofu
  • Tempeh

Recipes Using Legumes:

Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons

Black Bean Enchilada Soup

Weeknight Vegetarian Tofu Stir-Fry

Chickpea-Nut Butter Ice Cream

Roasted Cauliflower Dahl

I have a legumes eBook coming our this fall, which will be packed with recipes, tips on how to use them, a guide on storage, cooking and more!