Everyday new ingredients continue to rise onto the scene. Sometimes, these will take off and become food phenomena, with everything from avocados to chia seeds getting the limelight in recent years. One such ingredient that has started to appear on menus and is being touted as a great new ingredient is lupin flakes.
Lupin flakes come from the beautiful lupin flower, a colourful flower native to warmer climates like Australia, the Mediterranean and South America. The plant creates flowers in the shape of pods, similar to peas, the seeds inside are then dried and flaked to become lupin flakes.
These flakes are then used in many ways but are becoming extremely popular in the plant-based diet thanks to their high levels of protein, iron and fibre. They have a very similar look and taste to couscous, but with 90% less carbohydrate, plus they are also gluten free.
As around 85% of all lupin production takes place in Australia, they are the leaders in using lupin in food. One of the leading lupin producers in Australia is Revolupin, and in a recent interview with the Telegraph, Sofi Sipsa their chief scientist discussed the health benefits they have found through over 20 years of research and studying: “Lupin flakes have a unique combination of low-carb, gluten-free, plant-based protein and prebiotic fibres, with high levels of bioavailable essential amino acids and minerals, ideal for improving health issues arising from today's modern diet, such as diabesity, hypertension, gut health and cardiovascular health.
"Coupling this with the growing movement to more plant-based diets, gluten-free diets and in particular our understanding of the importance of prebiotic fibres on the microbiome, it's a convergence of factors that have created the right environment for its popularity."
Thanks to their rather muted flavour, lupin flakes can be added to almost anything, which means you’ll have to keep an eye out for them all over menus. Although, I expect we will see them appear as part of desserts, cakes and smoothies first.
In the past, we have seen similar superfoods quickly take a rise thanks to their adaptability and health benefits. Chia seeds are a great example of this, as a subtly-flavoured ingredient they can be added to most dishes easily but are able to boost the fibre content, even with only a small addition. Chia seeds are now very commonly added to smoothies and desserts, as well as made into their own products like chia puddings. Even though their ‘viral’ spell has now worn off, they are still incredibly popular within health food circles.
As a lover of food, I am a lover of the opportunities that arise when new foods become popular and desired by consumers, and I really cannot wait to see what chefs will do with lupin flakes.