Lupini beans have been popular in Italy for centuries and today they are an important part of Mediterranean cuisine. Thick skin of these beans makes them fun to eat, because you can “pop” them to get to the salty meat inside.
Nowadays, Lupini beans are mostly used as a snack because of their salty and a bit bitter taste. However, some of the sweet cultivars developed today nicely integrate in vegetarian cuisine.
Lupini beans are the second best source of plant protein (the first is soy beans). Highly digestible proteins make up about 40% of the bean. Lupins also are an excellent source of dietary fiber (36%). Combined with the fact that some of the newer types of Lupini beans suppress appetite, this particular product turns out to be a highly nutritious food that is perfect for weight loss.
Some other health benefits of Lupini beans:
- Gluten free
- Act as a probiotic by promoting growth of good bacteria in your digestive tract
- Low on lectins and saponins (both are well-known gastro-irritants)
- Free of cholesterol
- Rich source of essential amino acids
Vitamins A, B, C
High in Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium
Lupini beans require some specialized methods of preparation. However, the newer types are easier to cook. In Southern Italy, where this type of beans is most popular, almost every family has a secret recipe for Lupini beans.
The most common method of preparation is:
- Rinse and clean the beans.
- Soak overnight.
- Boil the beans in unsalted water and let them simmer until they turn yellow.
- Let the beans cool in water.
- Soak for 3 to 5 days changing water as needed (no less frequent than once a day).
You can try tasting the beans on day 3 and if they aren’t bitter, they are ready to serve. Store the cooked beans in a clean container in the fridge. To make a really delicious traditional Italian snack, refrigerate the beans in a mix of water, salt, and vinegar.