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September 28, 2020

5 Ways Restaurants are Featuring Legumes (plus a favorite recipe to try)

Legumes have stood the test of time. And most recently, they’ve stood the test of a pandemic. Yet, legumes were already on the rise and gaining culinary momentum over the last year. With a bit of salt, a bit of time, and a flavorful broth to lend support, beans are transformed into something delightful. Often reserved for budget-conscious times and to stretch a pantry, legumes have emerged as an ingredient of choice rather than need. And we’re into it. We might even go so far to call legumes the perfect food for all the benefits they offer us.
Versatile, yes. Comforting, definitely. Satisfying, check. But the best part of legumes are their forgiveness. Swap chickpeas for cannellini beans in a signature hummus as you twist from the expected to something daring. Load up with hot sauce, garnish with a colorful pico de gallo, and serve with housemade tortilla chips. Use in place of pasta, offer as a plant-based burger alternative, or build a guest-choice bowl from the bottom up. As we head into fall and winter months, twists on the classic cassoulet and beds of heirloom beans are sure to appear.
Cookbook writers, like Samin Nosrat, Mark Bittman, and Lukas Volger, have devoted months of inspiration to the ingredient, calling for even more devotion from their followers. At Leo in Williamsburg, an heirloom variety of beans are braised with garlic, rosemary, and sage, salted and finished with a hefty dose of olive oil. At abcV, a vegetarian café by chef Jean-Georges in NYC, menu items include green chickpea hummus, honeynut squash with tahini, and legume options. The recently launched Summer in a Bowl dish at Wagamama includes barbecue-glazed seitan, a coconut and sriracha vegan egg, grilled shiitake mushrooms, and asparagus over brown rice with edamame beans, carrots, scallions, sweet amai sauce, sesame seeds, and lime. 
With plant-based eating continuing to rise and a renewed focus on functional health, the move to legumes is perfectly timed. And by applying time-tested techniques, such as braising, fermenting, pickling, and curing, chefs can impart big flavor on the most humble of ingredients. Take Koshari, for instance. Featured at Egyptian fast-casual chain Zooba, the bowl is filled with a mix of lentils, chickpeas, rice, and macaroni, and topped with a sauce of tomatoes, hot pepper, vinegar, and garlic. Crispy fried onions finish the historic dish to offer a bit more crunch to the comforting and craveable application. 

The family of Legumes offer many choices: Adzuki beans, black beans, fava beans, and split peas, to name a few. All ready to add to classic recipes or to inspire new favorites, from appetizers to dessert (The Hummus & Pita Co. features a chickpea milkshake, called a Chickpea Chiller). We have lots of recipes to instigate your next idea, such as this one for Shrimp Philomena and many others like it. With a quick keyword search or a scroll within categories, you’ll have access to all of them. While you’re at it, visit us on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to share your favorite legume recipes. We’ll do the same!


Joe Beitzel
Brand Marketing Director
Custom Culinary, Inc.