Better than tofu would be a whole soy food like tempeh. I do like to slice it thin, dip it into a thick flax mixture (see here for my recipe), dredge it through some rosemary-seasoned whole-grain bread crumbs or coarse blue cornmeal, and bake it in my toaster oven at about 400 ° F until golden brown. Then I dip it in buffalo hot sauce for a healthier approximation of the chicken wings
Lens-shaped legumes. (Lenses were actually named after lentils; lens is lentil in Latin.) They gained fame in 1982 upon the discovery of the “lentil effect,” or the ability of lentil consumption to blunt the sugar spike of foods consumed hours later at a subsequent meal. Lentils are so rich in prebiotics that they create a feast for your friendly flora, which in turn feed you right back with beneficial compounds, such as propionate, that relax your stomach and slow the rate at which sugars are absorbed into your system. Chickpeas and other legumes were found to have a similar influence, and so this phenomenon was later renamed the “second-meal effect.”
Lentils are already one of the most nutrient-dense legumes. But when sprouted, their antioxidant power doubles (and even quintuples for chickpeas). Lentils can be easily sprouted into one of the healthiest possible snacks. Why add protein powder to your smoothies when you can add sprouted lentils?
In a sprouting jar, or simply a mason jar covered with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, soak lentils overnight in water, drain, and then rinse and drain twice daily for another couple of days. Sprouting to me is like gardening on steroids— I can create fresh produce in three days right on my kitchen counter.
One of my favorite go-to quickie meals starts with toasting some corn tortillas. (Food for Life, the same company that makes Ezekiel bread, makes a sprouted yellow corn tortilla usually sold in the frozen section.) Then I mash some canned beans on them with a fork and add a spoonful or two of jarred salsa. All the better if I have fresh cilantro, salad greens, or avocado to top it all off. If I’m lucky enough to have fresh collard greens, I’ll steam a few leaves and use them as burrito wraps to replace the tortillas. We call them collardritos in our house. Greens and beans— can’t get healthier than that!
Any leguminous dessert options? Three words: black-bean brownies. I don’t have a recipe of my own, but if you poke around online, you’ll find many good ones, including the one Dr. Joel Fuhrman shared on The Dr. Oz Show, which uses almond butter as the green-light source of fat and dates as the green-light source of sugar.
Mostly, I just add beans to whatever I happen to be making. I try to always keep an open can front and center in the fridge as a reminder. We buy black beans by the case. (Black beans appear to have more phenolic phytonutrients than other common legumes, but the best bean is probably whichever one you’ll eat the most of!)