Why should you eat legumes even if it’s very hot?

Avoiding legumes when it is very hot because we associate them with typical winter spoon dishes is a mistake. This food can be used in countless fresh and light recipes, and its many benefits make it one of the most interesting foods in the Mediterranean diet. They are especially rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidants, and their high fiber content facilitates intestinal transit and helps reduce cholesterol levels.

They can also prevent overweight and obesity, and help control diabetes, hypertension, diverticulitis and colon cancer, according to nutritionist Aitor Sánchez, a collaborator at To eat. He regrets that its consumption in Spain is so low that it is below 4 kg per capita per year.

Legumes can help prevent overweight or obesity

Pulses are as good for us as they are for the planet because their cultivation improves soil fertility and requires much less water than the production of other protein-rich foods such as meat. The dietician-nutritionist of the Fundació Alícia Alba Coll recalls that the report Food, Planet, Health. Healthy diets from sustainable food systems of the EAT-Lancet Commission recommends doubling its consumption, especially considering that its protein content is a perfect alternative to reduce the high intake of meat products and the environmental impact it entails.

It is not that the experts ask us to eat legumes every day, but 3-4 servings per week. A frequency that should be easy to meet for most of the population, not only because it is affordable but also because consuming less can cause us to take less fiber, something that does not interest us at all.

Chickpea is a great source of vegetable protein

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Coll adds that eating too little legume can make it worse to tolerate over time and cause constipation or some specific micronutrient deficiencies. “But this will not depend only on whether this food is eaten, but on the overall diet.”

Easy to cook and versatile

Another advantage of legumes is that cooking them is convenient and simple. And more if we use preserves, which avoid having to invest time to soak them and boil them at home. For Sánchez, in the nutritional field it is indifferent whether we cook them ourselves or buy them canned, because both are equally healthy options. “In addition, we make sure that they are well cooked, and they can be eaten without going through any previous cooking, in the form of salads, for example.”

canned beans

canned beans

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If we choose to buy them from a can, yes, it is important to look at the list of ingredients to check that they only contain legumes, water (from cooking) and salt. “You have to pay attention above all to the amount of the latter, since in some options salt is very abundant,” warns Coll. Frozen legumes are another valid alternative because, contrary to what many people think, they do not have fewer nutritional properties.

But cooking them at home also has its advantages; it is easier to cook a greater quantity of legumes and we can choose between more varieties and get tasty dishes. And, according to Alícia’s nutritionist, it is practical if we want the soaking and boiling time to be different, adding herbs or vegetables to the cooking or other aspects that we cannot modify in the ready-to-eat formats.

Frozen legumes are still a recommended option to boost the consumption of this food

Alba CollDietician-nutritionist of the Alícia Foundation

When the heat hits, Aitor Sánchez recommends adding them to salads or using them as a spread on sandwiches if we turn them into a vegetable pâté, such as hummus. Alba Coll gives us other ideas, such as adding them to the ingredients of a gazpacho or cold cream – “both in the base and topping“- in tortillas, vegetable or tuber fillings, or even in dessert batter. Here are some other ways to enjoy them:

Vegetable recipes for summer

• Green apple and legume salad

• Chickpea salad

• Lentil salad with arugula and raspberries

• Empedrat of octopus

• Tomatoes stuffed with empedrat

• Beans with cod

• Hummus

• Hummus with piquillo peppers and paprika

• Pea pate

• Falafel with yogurt sauce

• Cold pea soup

• Cold chickpea soup with green beans

• Chickpea flour fritters

Lentil salad with arugula and raspberries

Lentil salad with arugula and raspberries


If we want to increase its consumption, nutritionists invite us to separate this food from lunch and dinner and add it to other meals, such as breakfast and snacks. “It is not usual to find them in the first meal of the day, but including them at breakfast can enhance their consumption,” says Coll, who advises us to spread them on our toast, use them to make pancakes or add them to a smoothie.

They also insist that we have to get out of our heads the idea that legumes are a dish for the poor. “More than poor, we will be fools if we don’t incorporate them more into our recipes,” concludes Sánchez.