BEANS – OR LEGUMES to those of us with a sophisticated disposition – provide key ingredients in the diet of most vegetarians and vegans, but according to Watties’ nutritionist/dietition Sara Collie, only about 50 percent of New Zealanders eat them at all.
“Nutritionally legumes pack a real punch, and while they’re growing in popularity, sadly they still seem to intimidate many everyday family cooks… Nearly half of all consumers don’t eat legumes because of a lack of knowledge about legumes and what to do with them,” she says.
She doesn’t add that maybe people are stuck on the idea of beans coming pre-cooked in a can and slathered with tomato sauce, but good on her, and Watties, for stating that the company “is intent on taking the mystery out of legumes because they are in fact a convenient, tasty and inexpensive addition to meals.”
So, they’ve gone and launched a new selection of canned beans in spring water – lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans and a four-bean mix of cannellini, lima, pinto and kidney beans.
The Heart Foundation also wants to increase the consumption of legumes (to 4-5 times per week) to help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Given this, and the lack of knowledge around what to do with legumes, the Foundation in association with Wattie’s has compiled a recipe book with ideas for making easy, tasty, meals, Full o’ Beans.
We reckon it’s a good thing that Watties are promoting legumes. Non-meat eaters are all well familiar with the protein punch these little devils carry, and just how economical they are. Of course, the hope is that legume converts will go on to buy uncooked beans in bulk, so they can save even more money and make less waste, but we applaud Watties’ move to promote beans.
Watties has helpfully created a free, downloadable bean/legume recipe book, Full ‘o Beans, which inevitably contains a bunch of meat-plus-beans dishes, but also some vegetarian and vegan options. The book can be downloaded here.