Rediscovered food: lupini beans

Hunting forgotten food…

Cultivated since the days of Romans, Egypts, Mayas and Incas, lupini bean is a kind of legume that is the seed of the Lupinus albus plant. It is yellow and covered with a white almost transparent shell that you don’t eat. This plant needs a hot and humid climate to grow, that’s why it was cultivated in southern Italy before being abandoned as a consequence of the impoverishment of the local people. Nowadays, you can find lupini beans in the stalls during country festivals and feasts.

Lupini beans dried tomatoes & capers


Reasearch showed that lupini beans, like beans and lentils, give a good quantity of energy, have very low fats, important elements such as iron, vitamin B1, potassium and are the richest legumes in proteins and fibers. Definitely a legume to rediscover!!

Indeed, in a well-balanced and healthy diet, lupini beans:

  • help bowel movement and intestinal flora;
  • fight bad cholesterol in the blood, lowering blood pressure;
  • act like insulin, that’s to say lower glycemic index in the blood;
  • are very filling, so they help eat less (and losing weight, if necessary).

Besides, they have other interesting properties, as they protect skin from UV rays and fight wrinkles. Surprising, aren’t they?

Plus, containing no gluten at all, they are suitable for celiac people and for those who just follow a gluten-free diet.

How to eat them

Since lupini beans contain an alkaloid (a chemical element whose pH is too basic for our body) they cannot be eaten as they are, but they must be plunged and must stay in water for some days and then plunged again in salty water. In food processing, they are cooked in salty water and then washed over and over again to remove any trace of that alkaloid which gives natural lupin beans a bitter taste. They are then packed in plastic food containers where they are plunged in a solution of salt and water.

Lupini beans pesto recipe

You can eat plain lupini beans as a snack taking them directly from their container or, if you are looking for a more inventive way to eat them, here’s a very simple, easy and it-couldn’t-be-faster recipe.

You just need:

  • 50 gr lupini beans;
  • 3 dried tomatoes;
  • 10 capers.

Start by shelling the lupini beans and then place them in a food processor together with the other ingredients. You can chop the tomatoes before placing them in the processor, if you like. This way you will help the machine’s work. While shredding, drizzle a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil till you have a smooth cream. You’re done! This pesto is ideal to season your pasta or as a dip for your meat.

Sources - Lupini - Lupini: valori nutrizionali, proprietà, calorie e controindicazioni dei legumi

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