Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Three Beans Make Good Butter!

It should come as no surprise that, as a nutritionist, I have an innate fondness for the world of the complex carb - slash - protein package that is the humble legume. Usually, when you think "bean", images of either long, slender haricots verts with a pat of butter or the pintos, blacks and kidneys you find in chili or Mexican take out. But the whole legume spectrum encompasses more than these - including butter, navy, fava, Great Northern, mung, soy and a host of other (and sometimes super-colourful heirloom) "dry beans" as well as black- and yellow-eyed peas, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), peas, lentils and peanuts.

A lot of people are surprised to see peanuts in the list of bean-related foods, but they belong to the Leguminosae (or Fabaceae, depending on who you reference) family of plants. Being an edible "seed" in a pod, all legumes are the best source of concentrated protein in the plant world - and peanuts are no exception. For the same amount of calories, legumes provide 2-to-4 times the protein of whole grains.  In fact, charities like UNICEF, Project Peanut Butter and Doctors Without Borders use them to help alleviate malnutrition in third-world countries! It's a world away from the standard lunchtime PB&J, for sure.

For most of us, though, peanuts are normally found in the "nut" category - especially as a "butter". Their naturally higher fat content makes them a natural for the application, making a luscious cream almost on their own with the application of a grinder. Like I showed you with the soynut butter, though, you can make a rich, roasted "spread" from any nut or legume - or combinations of the two. The idea of combining legumes into a spreadable snack was where I started playing around with the soynut butter recipe, adding first roasted kidney beans for a "2-Bean Butter" and finally deciding to use some raw peanuts in concocting a "Triple Legume Butter".  In the end, this unique and delicious spin on the traditional was a great team of peanuts, soybeans and kidney beans - and it has about the same calories and fat of the jarred, storebought kind. Plus, it's relatively cheap if you make your own roasted beans (and even cheaper if you shell your own peanuts - I used raw ones from the bag we usually feed to the squirrels). I didn't add either salt or sugar to the original puree, so that when I use it for baking I can customize those levels to taste. Although, if you're feeling really decadent, you could use melted butter for the oil and turn it into a "true" butter!
 

Three Legume Butter
Makes roughly 4 3/4 cups, 13 2-tbsp servings
3/4 cup roasted soybeans
1/4 cup roasted kidney beans
11 oz raw peanuts
1/4 cup canola oil
water as needed
salt and/or sugar to taste
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the roasted soybeans, roasted kidey beans and enough boiling water to cover. Let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Turn the processor on and run until they are finely chopped, then add peanuts and process until the mixture forms a doughy mass.
  3. Stream in oil, followed by as much water as you need to get a spreadable consistency.
  4. Finally, add the flavourings you desire and puree in.
  5. Store as you would any "natural" nut butter.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 194.8
Total Fat: 16.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 5.5 mg
Total Carbs: 5.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 7.8 g

1 comment :

David T. Macknet said...

Interesting! I've never thought of grinding up soynuts ... but I suppose they'd be quite tasty!