One of the oldest cultivated foods, Lupin beans or Lupini beans are the seeds of the lupines plant. Rich in protein content, these beans are of Mediterranean origin. Lupini is indigenous to Italy and is cultivated widely here. It is yet to gain popularity all over the world.
Traditionally they were eaten throughout Southern Europe and Latin America along with beer. Due to the bitter taste and alkaloid content, a special 'debittering' treatment is essential before consuming lupin beans. This way, the toxic alkaloids are removed from the beans. Like olives, these legumes are otherwise quite bitter and inedible.
Lupin beans - composition and nutritional content
Although Lupin beans belong to the pea family and were primarily cultivated for their flowers, recent research has revealed yet another interesting aspect of Lupin beans in that - consuming Lupini beans for even a month can result in reducing blood pressure, lowering triglycerides and lowering cholesterol, and can result in weight reduction.
Round in shape, like a watermelon seed and light yellow in color, Lupin beans are large dried and similar to Fava beans. They are lowest in carbohydrates and have just 16 total carbs or 11.4 net carbs (total Carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohol) per cup. Once cooked, 1 cup Lupini beans provide 200 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 26 grams of protein. This is good news for weight watchers!
They can be taken as a light snack and also in pickled form and enjoyed as an antipasto, either cooked or chilled. Like pumpkin seeds, they are sometimes salted and prepared as a snack, perhaps a good alternative to popcorn.
High in nutrition, Lupin beans are a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. They are a great source of protein - the amount of protein in Lupin beans being as high as in soybeans (100 grams of Lupini beans contain 36 grams of protein). That is why, Lupin beans are vegans delight.
Using Lupin beans
Lupin beans can be purchased in canned form; as there is considerable effort to prepare them at home. They can be eaten with or without jacket (skins). For those wanting to prepare these beans at home, Lupin beans need to be soaked for several days in a number of changes of water in order to avoid anti cholinergic toxicity. They can also be prepared by only soaking them overnight in salt water.
Over time, the bitter alkaloids are released in the water. Therefore the longer you soak these beans, the better. After rinsing them thoroughly, they attain their optimum flavor. For two to three persons, one cup of dried beans, prior to soaking should be enough. A word of caution – those with allergy to peanut also tend to be allergic to Lupini beans.
Lupin can be eaten by biting a small tear in the skin and popping the inside into your mouth – but they can also be eaten with the skin on.
Rinse a bag of Lupin beans in cold water. Place a large saucepan and add a handful of salt in it. Cover with 2-3 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Now cover, reduce heat and simmer for about three hours. Strain and rinse well, and add another handful of salt again to the pan and add water to cover by a couple of inches. Place in the refrigerator. Repeat this for a fortnight or until the bitterness is completely gone. Once they are ready, store in a refrigerator in the same brine solution for many weeks. Whenever necessary, only the required amount of Lupin beans can be removed from the brine solution.
Cooking with Lupin beans
Other than eating it straight, Lupin beans can be used in a variety of ways. Combined cold with olive oil, garlic, a little shallot and sage, basil or thyme or parsley, they should make a delicious dish. In a three-bean or green salad, Lupin beans can be used. Warm them and mix with canned tomatoes.
Lupini beans can also be warmed up and tossed with shredded pork or chicken. It could be simply blended up in a food processor with some olive oil, garlic.
The low fat and carbohydrate nature of Lupini beans aid weight loss. Since the fiber curbs appetite, it offers a satisfied feeling during the day. Thus consumption of Lupin beans eliminates the tendency to gorge on other unhealthy snacks.
Lupin beans also ensure bowel health by acting as a probiotic and lessening the symptoms of constipation and other bowel problems.
Since these beans contain high amount of Arginine, an essential amino acid, they help in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Those with hypertension can benefit by adding Lupin beans to their menu.
Lupini beans are also a good antioxidant source. Regular consumption of Lupini beans can be linked to lowering the likelihood of developing various ailments such as cardiovascular problems, cancer and diabetes and neuro degenerative diseases.
Gout sufferers may be interested in Lupin beans as they do not produce purine acid during digestion. Diabetics will also benefit as they are very low on the glycemic index. Lupin flour is an alternative for those with celiac disease as it has no gluten. With a carbohydrate count, Lupini is a replacement for pasta, grains, breads and other legumes.