legumes soup with creme on top

In the new series of Jamie’s Super Food, Jamie visits Sardinia with a group of the island’s oldest residents, keen to uncover a few secrets of the Mediterranean diet. Sardinians eat a considerable amount of legumes and beans – a whopping 12 times as many as we do in the UK.

So what is a legume? Basically, a legume is a flowering plant that has edible fruits or seeds. It’s a really broad term that refers to all sorts of beans and pulses. Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts and even tamarind are all part of the legume family. Check out our guide to beans for some extra inspiration on how to use legumes.


Different legumes have different nutrients, but the common ground they all share is that they are rich in protein and fibre. Protein is brilliant for our bones and muscles. And the fibre we find in legumes keeps our gut healthy and happy.

Getting into specifics, black beans are a source of iron, which makes red blood cells. Chickpeas and lentils are a great source of copper, and that keeps all the tissues in our bodies strong and healthy.

As a high-protein ingredient, legumes are also a brilliant vegetarian alternative to meat. You can smash, bake, fry and boil legumes into all sorts of tasty recipes. Take a look below for inspiration!

For more tasty and nutritious meals for the family, head to Jamie’s Family Food hub.