Monday, April 30, 2007

Legume dips: pulse those pulses!

Legumes, also known as pulses, are SO DELICIOUS. They're definitely one of my staples, whether I use them in salads, soups, or even stir-fries.

But, who can forget hummous and other fantastic bean dips? What an easy way to enjoy beany goodness. I love them as dips for raw veggies, or even spread on leaves of cabbage and eaten just like THAT.

I've found that the absolute EASIEST and TASTIEST way to make legume dips is to use leftover soups. Seriously- the other day, I blended up the rest of a simple carrot-lentil soup with some cinnamon, and it was one of the best things I've ever tasted. In the past, black bean and navy bean soup have worked excellently as well.

The secrets to using this leftover technique for pureeing your own bean dips are:
-You'll want the soup you're blending to be mostly beans
-Drain the soup, but RESERVE the liquid to add later as necessary
-Don't be afraid to add extra spices- some fresh parsley or cherry tomatoes make a great addition

Actually, adding fresh tomatoes or bell peppers is an EXCELLENT idea. Most legumes are relatively high in iron, especially lentils, so high-vitamin-C foods will help you to absorb that iron. Unfortunately, much vitamin C is destroyed during cooking, so raw veggies are your best bet. A good blender or food processer shouldn't have any problem with pureeing them, either. (I've got the Magic Bullet :D)

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