Ancient Wisdom, Modern Snacks
The guy in the image is Gaius Plinius Secundus, though you may know him better as Pliny the Elder, born in Verona around 23 or 24AD. He was an author, a lawyer, a philosopher, a naturalist and a military commander for the ancient Roman Empire. Basically, he was no dummy. And when he led a legion of Centurions off on another conquest he needed to make sure they were well nourished without the benefit of vacuum-sealed K-rations or foil-wrapped protein bars. He provided something simpler, tastier and more nutritious: lupini beans (lupinus albus, since we're doing latin translations today). And in so doing he was merely borrowing on the wisdom of the Egyptian Pharaohs of the 12th Dynasty 2000 years earlier.
Modern science can give us hard data to back up Pliny's thinking - like the graph above, which shows the number of grams of vegetable protein per 100 calories of lupini beans compared to everything from chia seeds to chick peas to soybeans. They've got 35% more fibre than oats, 2.6 times more minerals than coconut water and 80% fewer calories than almonds. But here's the real kicker... they're delicious!
Stop at a sidewalk café after a morning traipsing around Rome these days and you'll find lightly pickled lupini beans a common accompaniment to a cold bottle of Moretti! But although these are a very common bar snack from Italy to Portugal and Egypt to Ecuador, they've never really caught on in North America. Until now.
BRAMI Snacks of New York is behind the latest effort to popularize this ancient snack and we are now offering three flavours (sea salt, garlic & herb and balsamic vinegar) in their colourful and convenient resealable packages. You can eat them the traditional way - popping the softer interior bean from the shell with your fingers or with your teeth - but these beans are so perfectly pickled that you can go ahead and eat the whole thing (unlike other commercially available lupini beans we've tried).
We actually looked into making our own pickled lupini beans at home but it's at least a two week process so we're glad that BRAMI has made it easier to eat these things in more ways than one. And, honestly, we are craving these things daily. Great with a beer at the end of the day? Absolutely. But mid-afternoon at the computer and you feel you want to reach for a cookie? Lupini beans fill that gap perfectly. Take it from us... and Pliny.