Take the Legume Challenge!

Reviewing “The Plant Powered Diet” book by registered dietitian Sharon Palmer reminded me of the extreme importance of eating legumes and beans. She includes a special section called “Introduce Legumes Into Your Kitchen.” And I’d like to share three of my favorite “steps” from this portion of the book.
Step #7: Substitute cooked, stewed or mashed (love this idea!) beans for potatoes or rice as a side dish twice a week. Your tots can be the mashers!! We know getting them in the kitchen is of utmost importance.
Step #15: Try a simple Italian classic: pasta tossed with cooked white beans, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. I recently took this great idea and modified it by adding a can of black olives and a can of garbanzo beans to whole wheat spaghetti for our make-it-fast-and-easy Sunday dinner after our big ski weekend. I then tossed it all with store-bought pesto and a cup of cooked spinach. We enjoyed the most delicious, quickly-prepared dinner. I know I’ll make this dish again! FYI – Bobby did not like the garbanzo beans. Oh well, I did. 
Step #16: Make this for a delicious snack. Roast cooked (or canned) chickpeas—drizzled with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and seasoned to your liking— in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. What an awesome suggestion for your kids’ snacks…especially in a nut-free school!
And finally, this book made me think about my time in India and how much I love eating dal! So I asked my friends Aditi and Raj to share their delicious recipe for this popular lentil dish. And here it is. Let’s try it together…and see if our kids will eat it! Keep an open mind about your children’s reactions to this meal. I know you’ll really love it! Thanks Aditi and Raj!
½ cup moong dal (yellow lentils)
Pinch of turmeric
2″ piece of of ginger, chopped
3 to 4 dry red chilies, torn into halves
1 tbsp of ghee or oil
1 tsp of jeera/cumin seeds
¼ tsp of asafoetida/hing
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
Wash and boil the dal with turmeric and sufficient water (generally about 2 cups) until it’s the right consistency and the dal is totally cooked.
Heat the ghee or oil in a separate pan and then add the cumin seeds and red chilies. Fry until the cumin turns golden and the chilies turn almost black; take care not to burn them. Remove the pan from the heat and add the asafoetida and ginger. Sauté until the ginger wilts in the heat. Then dunk the entire mixture into the dal. Add salt and chopped coriander leaves. Serve with basmati rice or a yummy kale salad for a perfectly scrumptious, highly nutritious meal!
I intend to remind myself to incorporate legumes into my family meal plans. After all, they provide fiber and protein for a filling plant based diet…and offer interesting new tastes and textures to complement any meal. So join me in taking THE LEGUME CHALLENGE! Try to incorporate one of the above steps suggested here. Get your kids involved in cooking dishes featuring legumes or just mashing the beans. Arrange a pot-luck party to show off everyone’s exciting new meals or think about a legume dish to incorporate into the upcoming holidays. You and your families will all be winners…just for making the effort! As you know, effort must count, as I have no expectations for Billy and or Bobby to like these dishes on their first exposure. 
Let us know what you are making for your legume challenge!

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