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What are lupini beans?
Lupini beans (or lupin beans) are a popular legume grown in the Mediterranean basin and Latin America. They come from the seed of the Lupinus plant, which certified nutritionist Serena Poon tells us is in the same family of legumes as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans.
While they’re extremely common in Europe, they’re less known in the States. But considering more recent accessibility in the keto diet and an environmental emphasis on plant-based diets, we expect to see a rise in the lupini bean market.
Along with diversifying our grocery list, lupini beans provide serious health benefits compared to other legumes, which are already pretty healthy.
The yellow beans have zero net carbs, little fat, and are higher in protein compared to soybeans, which are commonly recognized as the highest source of plant-based protein. This makes lupini beans work well for anyone following a keto diet.
Studies have also shown that a diet rich in fiber and protein from lupini beans can decrease cardiovascular and metabolic risks, including insulin sensitivity and high blood pressure.
Similar to the legume family they come from, Poon tells us lupini beans contain protein, fiber, vitamin B, phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. “This nutrient-dense bean offers anti-inflammatory antioxidants,” she says. “As well as gut support, with the high level of prebiotic fiber that helps to promote healthy intestinal bacteria.”
Incorporating lupini beans into the diet can be beneficial for several reasons. Registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN tells us many of her vegetarian and plant-based clients often have trouble feeling full. This can happen to meat-eaters too, if they’re not getting enough fiber, protein, or healthy fats into their diets.
“What I love about beans, peas, and lentils is that the combination of protein and fiber helps promote satiety—and don’t forget to add some healthy fat to your meal to give it even more staying power,” Cording says.
These nutrition facts reflect one serving size (about 44) lupini beans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Calories: 99.9
- Fat: 0.999 g
- Sodium: 820 mg
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Sugar: 7 g
- Fiber: 2.97 g
- Protein: 11 g
- Calcium: 70.2 mg
How to prepare lupini beans
Since lupini beans are naturally bitter, they should be rinsed and soaked repeatedly before being eaten. “The sweeter varietals require less soaking and rinsing,” Poon says, but the preparation process (found below) is the same.
- Rinse the lupini beans.
- Cover them in fresh water (at least 2 to 3 inches above the top of the beans), and soak them for at least 12 hours.
- After soaking, rinse the beans, then put them into a large pot with fresh water. Be sure to cover the beans with at least a couple of inches of water.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 45 to 50 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the beans from heat, drain, and place into a large bowl. Cover with water (again 2-3 inches above the top).
- Continue to rinse the beans, replace with fresh water, and soak the beans 3 to 4 times a day for about 5 days.
The process to prepare lupini beans can be both labor intensive and time consuming. “If you don’t have the time or patience to cook them on the stovetop, you can use a pressure cooker to cook them,” Cording suggests.
And for anyone who would rather purchase than prepare lupini beans, BRAMI, Cento, and Lupii Bars are a few different ways to enjoy them.
How to eat lupini beans
Cardiologist Joel Kahn, M.D. likes to incorporate the beans into his plant-based, keto salads. A typical meal for Kahn includes arugula, healthy fats including avocado, walnuts, hemp seeds, olive oil, and of course lupini beans.
Along with being used in a salad, Poon says lupini beans are often served with olives as an antipasto and can be pureed into a hummus or a dip. Lupin is also commonly used as a wheat alternative in gluten-free flours and other gluten-free products, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
While the lupini beans show great promise as a healthy source of nutrients, people with peanut allergies should be cautious of the ingredient since it’s in the same plant family as peanuts.
For anyone who’s started the keto diet or who’s just trying to get a little more protein, lupini beans should definitely be top of mind.