Time: 15 min
Diet: GF, Pesc
This fresh, summer salad is perfect as a side dish or a light and healthy lunch. Filled with protein and omega-3, it’s a nutritious and unique recipe to enjoy in no time, and if you haven’t heard of or tried lupin beans before, this is an excellent way to give this superfood a go!
We’ll let you know what lupins are and what makes them special as well as highlight the many health benefits of the wonderful ingredients in this salad.
What are lupin beans?
Lupin beans (known as “lupini” in Italy) are yellow legume seeds from the pea family. They are round, flat, and they have a sweet and earthy flavour and a firm, hearty texture.
The word “lupini” comes from the Greek “lupinus”, which means “bitter taste” and it references the intense bitterness of lupin beans. However, the more recent variety is sweeter and much easier to prepare.
Lupin beans can be tricky to find and may not be stocked at your local supermarket. You’re more likely to find them in a health food store or online.
Where do lupin beans come from?
Lupin beans are originally from the Middle East and date back to pre-ancient Rome. They were popular amongst the Romans and Egyptians, who consumed lupin beans for strength and vigour. Over the centuries, the popularity of lupin beans particularly grew in Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, and became a culinary staple. They’re now enjoyed all over the world for their fantastic health benefits.
How do you eat lupin beans?
Depending on the variety, some lupin beans can require extensive soaking. The traditional bitter types need to be peeled, soaked for 2-3 days, and cooked in salted water for 30 minutes to eliminate the bitterness and toxicity. If prepared incorrectly, they can be poisonous is consumed in large quantities. However, sweet lupins require little to no soaking and can often be eaten raw.
You can get lupin beans dry and loose, tinned, or in jars. Lupin beans in tins and jars are often ready to eat and are much more convenient to be enjoyed as a snack or quickly tipped into salads. If you’re experimental in the kitchen, you can also try making your own lupin bean humous!
How do Italians eat lupin beans?
Lupin beans are a Mediterranean staple. In Italy, they are a popular street food, often served on their own as a snack or as part of an antipasti board, or added to hot or cold salads. They have a mild, natural flavour, so they’re very easy to work with and incorporate into your favourite recipes.
What are the health benefits of lupin beans?
Lupin beans are a powerful superfood, loaded with plenty of nutrients. Some of the top health benefits of lupin beans are:
Protein: Lupin beans are an excellent source of protein. Per 100g, they contain 40g of protein compared to chicken (32g), pork, (31g), and tuna (30g). Protein is a vital energy source that helps us build and repair muscles.
Fibre: Lupin beans are a gut-healthy protein source with around 40g of fibre per 100g - 3 times higher than oats. A fibre-rich diet is essential for maintaining digestive health, a strong immune system, and even improved sleep.
Low-carb: Many high-protein foods can be high in carbohydrates, but lupin beans are a wonderful exception - per 1/4 cup (roughly 59g), lupin beans have just 1 net carb.
Heart health: The high fibre and low cholesterol levels in lupin beans promote long-term wellness of your heart and stomach.
Lupin Bean, Anchovy & Fennel Salad Recipe
600g fennel, washed and trimmed
2 anchovy fillets in oil
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
Cut the fennel into quarters, finely slice them, and place into a large mixing bowl. Slice the lupin beans in half lengthways and add them to the fennel.
Place the anchovy fillets, olive oil, and vinegar in a food processor and blend until you get a vinaigrette.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fennel and lupin beans and mix thoroughly. Garnish with parsley, chives, and red onion before serving.
Serving your lupin bean salad
This is a simple and speedy salad that’s super good for you and really easy to adapt with your favourite ingredients. Try adding a few handfuls of spinach or kale for some extra iron and a touch of vibrant colour, swap anchovies for diced chicken breast, a meat-free alternative, or chickpeas, add diced peppers for a bit of crunch, and some cherry tomatoes for juicy sweetness.
This superfood salad is quick and easy, uplifting, and bursting with goodness and vibrant flavours! The star of this salad is the lupin bean, a superfood that’ll keep you energised while promoting long-term health. Give this speedy, filling, and nutritious summer lunch a go with your favourite protein and veg.