Our top canned legumes

18/04/2016 Help for Parents, Product Reviews

We’re celebrating the International Year of Pulses all year! This means that, as well as creating some new kid-friendly recipes, we’re investigating the best unflavoured canned legumes or beans available – think chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and more.

According to a recent survey by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council, many Australians don’t think to include legumes in meals, so we’re missing out on adding these tasty, cheap and nutrient-packed powerhouses to our hot and cold dishes.

All about legumes

Did you know that legumes contain around twice the amount of protein found in whole grain cereal crops such as wheat, oats, barley and rice? They also contain essential nutrients including low GI carbs, fibre, B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium – plus phytonutrients which may help to prevent disease.

They are the perfect ingredient to add to all sorts of dishes to boost your family’s veggie intake (yes, they are a veg!). Add red lentils to spaghetti bolognaise, tip a can of chickpeas into a curry or sprinkle onto a salad, and don’t forget the kidney beans in your tacos and chilli con carne. A 400g tin provides 4 serves of vegetables.

The best canned legumes

We looked at a range of plain canned legumes from home brand to organic, available from major supermarkets. Aside from a few rogue varieties, most of the canned legumes met our Better Choice criteria, so we didn’t need to create a top five or top 10 list. Surprisingly, it was a brand of organic legumes that were higher in salt and so didn’t meet our criteria. These criteria help to identify nutritious foods that kids will enjoy eating while being in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

So if you want to find the best canned legumes, use our Better Choice criteria and look at:

  • Reduced salt – Check the label and choose those that have less than 300mg of sodium per 100g.
  • Saturated fat – On the label, look for less than 1g of saturated fat per 100g. Plain legumes are naturally low in total and saturated fat.

All the legumes we tested had a Health Star Rating of 4 or more, with the lowest-salt ones receiving 5 stars.