Spain is synonymous with premium pork products and seafood, but that can mean we overlook the plant-based options. This includes legumes, which have been staple foods in Spanish cuisine for centuries! And with their impressive nutritional profile, it’s no surprise why. So let’s take a look at how they show up in dishes, and how we can incorporate them into our vegetarian - and vegan - recipes.
Spain’s Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for growing kidney beans, faba beans, garbanzo beans and lentils - these have been farmed for centuries and many products have their own protected DO regions. However, the preparation of legumes has undergone a modernization in the last century.
During the civil war era in Spain, women began working outside of the home, so there was less time to prepare dried beans, lentils and garbanzo beans. This led to a flourishing market for pre-soaked, pre-cooked legumes, as well as preserved and canned legumes. The popularity of these products remains strong today in Spain. Whether you prepare your legumes from scratch, or get conveniently prepared ingredients, here’s what to make: