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Love your legumes!

What are legumes?

Legumes include foods such as green beans, peas, peanuts, dry beans such as soya beans, kidney beans, black beans, split-peas, chickpeas and lentils. These healthy sources of lean plant protein are not eaten as frequently as they should be!

Why should we eat more legumes?

Legumes not only have plenty health benefits (e.g. stabilising blood sugars, reducing risk of heart disease, improving colon health, preventing & managing high blood pressure, promoting bone health and providing a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, plant-based iron & phytochemicals which may have anti-cancer properties, to name a few), but are also really great for bulking up protein in recipes/ to use as a main source of lean, cholesterol-free protein. They are also economical and they help the environment as they are water-efficient & help keep soil fertile & healthy :)

How can we include legumes in our diets?

  • Use soya mince, lentils or dry beans to make cottage pies, bolognese and burgers go further.

  • Eat dry beans, split peas or lentils in combination with a starchy food (e.g. pasta, rice, barley, couscous) to make a better quality protein

  • Include beans, peas and lentils in soups, stews, mince, pasta dishes or rice dishes

  • Keep a variety of canned legumes, e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc for a quick addition of protein to a meal (e.g. salad with chickpeas; three bean salad, baked beans on wholewheat toast)

  • Consider adding one meatless (vegetarian) meal per week, for instance Meatless Mondays, and use dry beans, split peas or lentils in place of meat

  • Try a new recipe for dry beans, peas, lentils or soya each week

  • Try a vegetarian burger instead of a beef burger

  • Experiment with new recipes

  • Cook a large batch of beans or chickpeas and freeze into smaller portions

  • Try hummus, or other bean dips, with fresh cut vegetables for a healthy snack

Lentil & Lean Mince Healthy Cottage Pie

Serves 4


• 5 mL (1 tsp) canola oil

• 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

• 1 clove garlic, crushed

• 300g extra lean mince meat

• 5 mL (1 tsp) beef stock powder

• 30 mL (2 Tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

• 5 mL (1 tsp) dried mixed herbs

• Freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste

• 15 mL (1 Tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

• 1 x 410g lentils (canned), rinsed


• 300g (1 large or 2 medium) potatoes

• 60 mL (4 Tbsp) skimmed milk or 1% milk

• 5 mL (1 tsp) Trim or Salad Cream mayonnaise

• 60g reduced fat Slimmer’s choice White Cheddar

• 2 mL Paprika (optional spices: 2 mL ground ginger, 2 mL ground coriander)

• Black pepper (to taste)


1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

2. Peel the potatoes and boil until just soft.

3. Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is transparent.

4. Add the mince, stock powder or stock cube, herbs, lemon juice and pepper and stir-fry for 5-10 minutes to brown the mince.

5. Add the Worcestershire sauce and lentils and simmer for another 5-10 minutes

6. Spoon into an ovenproof dish.

7. Make the topping by adding the milk and mayonnaise to the potatoes and mash the potatoes until light and fluffy.

8. Spread the mash potatoes over the mince mixture in the ovenproof dish.

9. Sprinkle the cheese over the top as well as the paprika.

10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbling.

11. Serve immediately with vegetables or salad.

For more tasty recipes using legumes go to

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