Lupines are high-protein legumes and are common in European and South American recipes. There are more than 400 varieties of the plant, many of which produce beautiful flowers that are often used in English gardens. Lupine beans are often eaten in European and South American countries in the form of flour or as a snack item. Because lupine beans are high in protein, they can also be used as a meat substitute for vegetarians.
The Many Uses of Lupines
Lupines are sometimes made into flour and used in a variety of baked goods. Countries such as Italy and France often combine lupine flour with regular wheat flour to make baked goods, pasta, cereal, and other flour-based foods. Pizza, biscuits, tomato sauce and chicken bouillon cubes may also contain this legume. Food manufacturers in Europe sometimes use lupines as a replacement for fat in some foods, including baked goods and ice cream. Roasted lupine beans are sold as snack items in Italy.
In Chile, lupines are sold as a dietary fiber product made from hulls of the plant that are finely ground. The bean can be used to make lupine milk, tofu, chocolate spread, and sausage. It is also used to clarify wine. Packaged foods sold in the European Union (EU) are required to list lupines on the label if they are contained in the food product.
Lupines and Food Allergies
Many people with peanut allergies are also allergic to foods that contain lupines. Though lupines are not widely used in the United States, they are very common in Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. Lupines are frequently eaten by those who live in Portugal, Spain and in certain areas of South America, such as Argentina. The yellow legume seeds are referred to as lupini beans and are processed in jars and cans.
Allergy-sensitive Americans who travel to Europe need to carefully read these labels because lupines are frequently hidden in baked goods and pastries. It is also necessary to find out if lupine is an ingredient in pasta sauce, especially at restaurants in Italy and France. The UK has begun to use lupines on a limited basis, but they can be found in foods that are imported from other countries. Lupines can cause anaphylaxis for people allergic to it.