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6 Healthy Meals with Beans, Peas, or Lentils for Weight Loss

October 3, 2023
6 Healthy Meals with Beans, Peas, or Lentils for Weight Loss

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In this article:

  • Legumes include beans, peas, and lentils, and are inexpensive and nutritious sources of protein and fiber.
  • Most Americans don’t meet consume the recommendationed amount of legumes.
  • These six meals include beans, peas, or lentils, and are easy to prepare. They’re also balanced, filling, and good for weight management and health.
  • Lark can help you make healthier food choices to support healthy living and weight loss.

Legumes, or beans, peas, and lentils, are linked to health benefits such as lower body fat, lower risk for diabetes, improved heart health, and more. Plus, people who eat more beans tend to have a better overall diet, and beans are low-cost and widely available. So why aren’t Americans eating enough legumes?

Take a look at some easy ways to incorporate more legumes into your regular routine. The following recipes are easy to make, delicious, and filling. You can use beans, peas, and lentils that you’ve cooked yourself from dried packages, or you can use canned low-sodium or rinsed beans in these recipes. Don’t forget that Lark can help you choose healthier foods every day to help you meet your goals.

Legumes Are Beans, Split Peas, and Lentils

“Legumes” refer to the following types of food.

  • Beans, including pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, and cannellini beans
  • Split peas, black eyed peas, and cowpeas
  • Lentils

Green beans, string beans, green peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are considered vegetables, not legumes.

1. Vegetarian Chili

This chili is so satisfying and delicious that there’s no need to use fatty meat, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Just add everything to a pot and let it cook. It’s packed with vegetables and flavor, and it tastes even better the next day. You can use any types of beans you like, and you can make it spicier by adding cayenne pepper, jalapenos, or even serrano peppers. You can skip the corn and sweet potatoes to keep it lower in carbs if you like. It’s a great dish to freeze for later use.

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • Optional: 2 cups of zucchini, eggplant, or cauliflower, cut in small pieces
  • 2 cups of cubed sweet potatoes
  • Optional: ½ cup of sliced cashews
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 15-ounce cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 3 15-ounce cans of beans, such as kidney, black, or garbanzo
  • 2 cups of frozen corn or 1 15-ounce can of unsweetened corn
  • Optional toppings: Shredded low-fat cheese, shredded lettuce, freshly chopped cilantro, lime wedges


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and onions, and cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the other vegetables, sweet potatoes, and spices, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. If needed, add juice from the canned tomatoes to prevent burning.
  3. Add the tomatoes, beans, and corn. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and serve the chili with any desired toppings.

2. Breakfast Taco

Start the day off right with a simple and delicious mixture of eggs and beans. For extra protein, stir in cooked lean ground turkey or diced chicken breast when you heat the beans. You can reduce the carbs by serving the eggs without a tortilla. Optional toppings include chopped tomatoes, salsa, and fresh cilantro. You can double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for a few people or want leftovers

Makes 1 serving


  • ½ cup of canned kidney or other beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites or 4 egg whites

1 cup of fresh spinach or other greens, or ½ cup of cooked vegetables

  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheese
  • 1 taco-sized whole-grain corn tortilla or high-fiber tortilla
  • Directions

    1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat it. Add the beans and heat them.
    2. Add the eggs and stir gently over medium-low heat, until they are cooked.
    3. Stir in the spinach and black pepper and turn off the heat. Stir until the spinach melts.
    4. Stir in the cheese. Serve over a tortilla.

    3. Chicken and Black Bean Bell Pepper Nachos

    These cheesy, satisfying nachos are on delicious bell pepper strips. If you don’t like bell peppers, just serve the toppings on any roasted vegetable or over chopped lettuce instead.

    Makes 2 servings


    • 2-3 bell peppers, cut into strips
    • 1 cup of black beans
    • 2 ounces of shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
    • ½ teaspoon of cumin
    • ½ teaspoon of chili powder
    • Optional: ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
    • 6 ounces of cooked lean ground turkey, cooked skinless chicken breast, shredded or cubed, or leftover rotisserie chicken
    • Additional optional toppings: Sliced olives, salsa or pico de gallo, avocado slices, plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet.
    2. In a bowl, mix together the beans, cheese, and spices.
    3. Bake the bell peppers for 5 minutes.
    4. Top them with the bean mixture and the chicken or turkey. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything is hot.
    5. Serve with any desired toppings.

    4. Tunisian Chickpea Stew

    This Tunisian-inspired stew has a variety of spices, which are rich in antioxidants and give the stew a distinctive flair. You can add different vegetables as desired such as kale, mushrooms, or green beans. You can top your stew with yogurt and store-bought hot sauce or harissa paste, or make your own harissa paste by blending olive oil, vinegar, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This stew is a meal on its own, or you can serve it with fish or add chicken while cooking it.

    Makes 8 servings


    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 chopped onion

    6 cloves of sliced garlic

  • 4 sliced carrots
  • 2 sliced zucchini
  • 1 chopped turnip
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup of tomato paste
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups of low-sodium broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 4 cups of greens, such as spinach or collard greens
  • Directions:

    1. Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes.
    2. Add the carrots, zucchini, and turnip, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spices, then stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes.
    3. Add the broth, chickpeas, and greens. Bring to a boil, then simmer until everything is cooked.

    5. Black Bean Burger

    This recipe is for you if you’re pretty lost in the kitchen. It’s also for you if you have no time to prepare dinner, or if you are looking for a family-friendly meal that everyone can enjoy while you stay healthy. Black bean burgers and veggie burgers made with lentils are both great choices. Serve them on a whole-grain bun with baby carrots or roasted vegetables, over a bed of greens, or even atop a small bowl of hot oatmeal mixed with ½ cup of cauliflower.

    Makes 1 serving


    • 1 vegetarian burger with black beans or lentils


    1. Prepare the burger patty according to the package instructions.
    2. Serve and enjoy!

    6. Loaded Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Lentils

    Lentils are great in soup, but that’s not the only way to enjoy them. This recipe has fiber, antioxidants, and tons of flavor. You can choose whether to use a strong cheese or a milder one. The recipe calls for sweet potatoes, but you can use potatoes instead. You can reduce the carbs by using smashed cauliflower instead of sweet potatoes.

    Makes 4 servings


    • 2 cooked medium sweet potatoes, or about 4 cups mashed
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 2 cups of cooked lentils
    • ½ teaspoon of cumin
    • Black pepper to taste
    • ¼ cup of crushed peanuts
    • 4 ounces of blue cheese
    • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice


    1. Mix the potatoes with the olive oil. Set aside.
    2. In a separate bowl, mix the lentils with the cumin, pepper, lemon juice, and peanuts.
    3. Serve the lentils on top of the sweet potatoes. Crumble the blue cheese on top before serving.

    How Lark Can Help

    Eating more legumes can be part of an everyday strategy to improve health and manage weight, and these delicious recipes can get you started. Lark can help you make good choices every day through 24/7 coaching. You can also use Lark’s food tracker to learn more about your eating habits and receive personalized food coaching.

    Click here to see if you may be eligible to join Lark today!

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