Why are legumes super ingredients?

Legumes represent an opportunity to make culinary crafts. As an example we have the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East and South Asia, which can be borrowed or created a fusion cuisine.

The properties of legume derivatives are an open door for the development of new products. Legumes can be ground and separated into highly functional ingredients (protein, fiber, and starch) and used to improve processed foods.

There is a new trend to use flours and legume derivatives in food production. Used in a greater number of products, including pasta, breakfast cereals, appetizers, frozen ready meals, dressings, bakery products, cookies, crackers, sauces, instant soups and desserts.

Legume protein. Legume protein can be used to increase the protein content in processed foods and to make concentrated protein ingredients.

– Lentil flour is being incorporated into a quality pasta brand that is distributed nationwide in the United States. Compared to traditional pasta, this pasta has a higher protein and fiber content, with a lower glycemic index and a complete protein profile. The lentil flour gives the pasta some culinary properties, making it firmer and preventing it from being watery and mushy when the cooking time is exceeded.

– Pea protein has been shown to be a successful substitute for eggs in some food products.

Fiber from Legumes Fiber from legumes can be used to increase the fiber content of some prepared foods.

– Legumes have a large amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

– The use of fiber from legumes is economical compared to products based on fiber fortifiers or soy protein.

Legume starch Starch derived from legumes, especially peas, has properties that make it useful in processed foods.

– Legume starches can be used to improve (lower) the glycemic index of products.

– Legume starch ingredients allow food product manufacturers to reduce carbohydrates. For example gelling agents can be made with 50% less cornstarch.

– Legume starches can be used to modify the texture of the food, important both for its processing and for its acceptance by the consumer. For example, manufacturers of food products can use starch from legumes to reduce fat and minimize the sensation of fat on the palate.

– Among the properties of legume starches are good stability at high temperatures, high viscosity compared to cereal and tuber starch, excellent gelling force, it is also tasteless (pea starch is insulating), helps to increase the volume and expansion into extruded products and puffed snacks.

Non-allergenic properties

– Legumes do not contain gluten, more and more people suffer from gluten intolerance.

– Legume protein concentrates can be used to substitute eggs as an ingredient in some preparations. Eggs are the fourth most common food that causes allergic reactions in adults.

– Legume derivatives can be an important ingredient in the production of food for babies with lactose intolerance and allergies to soy derivatives.

Sustainability Legume derived products have an added attraction for the market, legumes are economical, environmentally and socially sustainable. Beyond the positive economic impact on farmers and food manufacturers, legume crops provide other benefits to society.

– Products that contain legumes can improve nutrition and are crops that require fewer natural resources (water and fossil fuels) and improve soil quality.

– Legume protein is “green” because the nitrogen that legume crops synthesize into proteins comes from the air, not from synthetic fertilizers made from non-renewable natural gas, and furthermore, legume protein is synthesized better than that of animal origin.

Source: Montana Department of Agriculture