Legume-free recipe ideas?

BeansI have learned, much to my surprise, that I am drastically allergic to most dried beans, especially lentils and chickpeas. Geez, after all these years of finding ways to work beans into my diet, learning to love Indian food, eating frequent vegetarian meals I find out that I’d actually been doing my body a turn for the worse by eating all those beans.

Here’s my dilemma: I know I function much, much better on a higher-protein, lower-carb diet. However, for a whole host of reasons, I’d rather not sit down to a big slab of meat three times a day. My strategy in the past has been to stretch the meat with beans – instead of a pound of ground beef, I’d use half a pound of beef and a can of beans (1 lb cooked).

Can you think of anything else I might use to stretch meat? I don’t want to just add more starch – the meal will already have rice or another grain – and it can’t all be soy (I’m somewhat allergic, though nothing like the lentils). I’m also allergic to milk, so cheese is not an option. I can have black-eyed peas and lima beans, though it’s not clear if I can only have them at the “shell bean” stage or if they’re ok dried, too. Maybe diced rutabaga? I’m rather stumped and would love your input.



  1. Ed Bruske said,

    May 15, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Emily, I’ve found stir-fry to be very helpful addressing this issue. This is not a “hamburger helper” kind of stretching, but a low-carb method of extending proteins with vegetables. Simply cut you meat (beef, pork, lamb) or fish or shellfish into bite-size morcels and stir fry with any combination of low-carb vegetables such as onion, celery, bell pepper, greens. Add low-carb Chinese condiments such as garlic-chili paste or soy sauce. Works very well for us, and makes great leftovers.

  2. Tammy Coxen said,

    May 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    What about quinoa? It’s a starch, but a high protein one.

    Mushrooms have some protein too, and can be “meat like” in the sense of having some umami…

  3. Kate said,

    May 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Wow–bummer. I was also thinking along the high protein grains line–quinoa, teff, amaranth. How are you with nuts? I mix walnuts and pine nuts into ground lamb. I can imagine using almond flour as a high protein addition too (I add it it and teff flour into baked goods all the time.) And there are a ton of cool nut butters out there now that I could imagine flavoring (pureed cashews with roasted carrots and indian spices as a spread substitute for hummus?).

  4. Emily said,

    May 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Kate, I think you win the prize. 🙂

  5. littlem said,

    May 19, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    A raffinose intolerance huh? Look for recipes/books aimed at IBS as the gas can be a gut irritant. Also try wholefood and raw recipes as there are heaps of interesting recipes that use alternative grains and nuts.

  6. Chris said,

    May 20, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I highly recommend Quorn products, which are mushroom protein meat substitutes. IMO, these are incredibly close to meat in taste. You can also try Seitan, which is a gluten based protein, and as someone else suggested: quinoa, which is a complete protein grain. Having an odd egg wouldn’t hurt either. Hope this helps.

  7. aimee said,

    May 25, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Here’s an idea that may or may not help, depending on the exact nature of your intolerance: try soaking the beans for two or three days, changing the water twice a day, until they are just beginning to sprout. That is, until you can see the sprouts but they aren’t sticking out yet. This changes the chemistry of the beans a lot, it breaks down the oligosaccharides that cause a lot of the trouble for most people. They still taste like beans. There are some wonderful Indian recipes for slightly-sprouted beans. You can grind them with spices and make pancakes for example. Also, you don’t mention if soy is a problem for you. Tofu is made from soy beans that have been soaked and maybe you can tolerate it. Also, there’s always TVP, or seitan. Good luck!

  8. Jennifer said,

    May 29, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Have you tried favas? They are not related to pulses (lentils, etc.) or New World beans. The dried ones are available peeled (yellow) and unpeeled (brown), and some of the A2 Middle Eastern bodegas carry them frozen as well.

    Black-eyed peas and limas are also not related to New World beans … you may want to experiment with other field peas. Cow peas, crowders, and other field peas are very popular vegetables in the South and are used dried, fresh, and frozen. When I lived down South I enjoyed munching my way through all kinds of heirloom field peas. Yum!

  9. Laura said,

    June 1, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Do you eat eggs? I get the most lovely free-range organic eggs at my farmers market… frittatas, omelets, etc. make a good entree. I know that the chickens raised this way produce heathier eggs.

    Being from the South, I second black eyes, field peas, and crowder peas. They are delicious!

    Sunflower seeds are inexpensive, as far as nuts go, and I’ve had some luck with making my own sun “nut” butter by throwing a few handfuls of them into the food processer and adding what ever fresh or dried herbs/spices strike my fancy. You can then use this savory seed butter in a wrap or a sandwich or eat it with veggie sticks…

  10. Taliaville said,

    June 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    TVP is a really good sub for meat- it will absorb whatever you are cooking with, and has the texture of ground beef…

  11. linda said,

    February 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I am on a ruffinose lactose fructose and sorbitol diet for my colon What can I eat. Meat I know is quinoa ok, what about rice. I eat kale and swisscard zucchini, are avocados ok. What else?

  12. Anonymous said,

    November 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I have a string bean allergy and have all beans cause hives. And allergic nuts. Ironically I can still tolerate peanuts. What I learned from southern relatives is boiled peanuts taste and act like beans…..with a light hint of peanut flavor. So, wherever I used to use beans I used boiled peanuts.

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