Lupini beans are legumes that are popular throughout the Mediterranean and are commonly eaten pickled or as a snack.
Also called lupins, they are sometimes used as a meat substitute because their rich amino acid profile, comparable to that of soy, makes lupine beans an excellent source of protein.
They’re also relatively easy to grow, another reason lupine has become a popular plant-based protein alternative.
Lupins, however, are a little more high maintenance than other beans.
Due to the bitter alkaloids present in dried lupine beans, they can be poisonous if not prepared properly. So if you’re wondering why this true superfood isn’t more popular, you probably have your answer.
But don’t despair, there are many ways to eat them, and manufacturers are making lupins increasingly accessible.
What are the benefits of Lupini Beans?
Lupini beans do not contain starch like many other legumes. They are high in protein, a good source of fiber and relatively low in fat.
Interestingly, some people who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to lupine beans.
If you are allergic to peanuts (which are legumes in the same family as lupins), talk to your allergist or general practitioner before trying this food.
1. High protein
Lupini beans are exceptionally high in plant-based protein. In fact, a 1-cup serving of cooked lupins contains more protein than a 3-ounce serving of chicken breast.
2. Low carb
Compared to some other beans (navy, kidney, garbanzo), lupins have about one-third the carbohydrates per 1-cup serving.
This makes it a great choice for those watching their carbohydrate intake or following a low-carb diet.
3. Good source of fiber
Lupini beans are rich in fiber. Research suggests that fiber can aid digestion, help regulate blood sugar, and provide cardio-protective effects.
Lupine Bean Nutrition
Nutritional information for 1 cup of cooked lupine beans. Daily Value (DV) is based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
|total fat||4.9 grams|
|Saturated fat||0.5 grams|
|Trans fat||0 grams|
|Folate (B9)||25% DV|
Are lupine beans the same as fava beans?
Don’t get it wrong: Although they may look somewhat similar, lupine beans are not fava beans! Their nutritional composition and taste are very different.
Lupini beans are silkier in texture and boast a more savory flavor than fava beans. They are also high in protein, calcium, magnesium and some fatty acids.
How to Cook Lupine Beans
To remove alkaloids that can make lupine poisonous, wash the beans, then soak them in a salt solution (brine). Repeat until the solution no longer tastes bitter.
When the bitterness is completely gone, none of the toxic compounds remain in the beans. Unfortunately, this process can take up to five days.
A variety of beans called sweet lupine contains less bitter alkaloids and requires less soaking. If you don’t remove all the bitter compounds, the beans will not only be harmful, but they will taste very bitter.
Recipes using Lupini Beans
As word got out about the benefits of lupines, they popped up on recipe blogs. Check out these recipes for some inspo.
1 bowl of lupine bean salad
This Italian recipe adds arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and Mediterranean staples like pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, and fresh lemon.
Lupine Beans Ceviche
Inspired by Peruvian dishes, this vegetarian version trades in seafood for a 24-hour uninterrupted soak. (Maybe this bean is trying to tell us something?)
Lupine Bean Hummus
It uses sweet lupins to reduce overall cooking time, adopting a Middle Eastern staple.
Where to Buy Lupine Beans