Cowpeas & mung beans: 10 future foods you need in your kitchen

The Future 50 Foods report lists 50 plant-based foods we should be eating. Ten of these are widely available in SA - and many are part of our food heritage

10 March 2019 - 00:00 By staff reporter

Gluten-free, full of fibre, it is a nutritious substitute for wheat or white rice.
Native to Africa, protein-packed cowpeas are quick-growing, drought-hardy and heat-tolerant. Use the beans to make a wholesome soup, the leaves as leafy greens and the seeds ground into flour.
The third most important legume in Africa, they are also known as jugo beans and offer a unique combination of carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Try them roasted or added to soups and stews.
Pumpkin leaves - rich in iron, beta-carotene and calcium - have numerous health benefits.
Though they are small, mung beans are big when it comes to the B vitamins like folate, Vitamin B2 and B3, as well as minerals like iron and zinc. They are great with noodles, rice dishes, curries and stir-fries. Excellent sprouted, too.
This bright vegetable can have up to 11 times the vitamin A content found in green cabbage and offers potent health benefits. Delicious raw in salads or cooked, it works well with apple as a side dish.
A hardy plant that can tolerate frosts, drought and high winds, it is grown in diverse climates. Classed as a complete plant protein, it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, and is gluten free. Cooked in the same way as rice and eaten as a side dish or used in salads and other vegetable dishes.
These versatile greens are packed with vitamins A, C and folate (iron) and delicious cooked or raw and enjoyed on their own or added to salads, soups and stews.
With a carbon footprint 43 times lower than that of beef, lentils are an excellent source of protein, fibre and carbohydrates. Low GI, they offer a high protein boost to salads, spreads, soups, vegetable dishes and stews.
Not a rice as we know it, wild rice is a species of grass often mixed into brown rice. Full of fibre, it's low in GI and is gluten free. Cooked wild rice contains way more iron and folate than white rice. A good energy booster.
The Future 50 Foods have been selected based on their high nutritional value, relative environmental impact, flavour, availability and affordability. For the full list visit Knorr.

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