Lupine flour is made from the beans of the sweet lupine (Lupinus albus), a type of lupine cultivated to be less bitter and nontoxic for human consumption. Lupine flour is sometimes referred to as lupine protein. It cannot be considered raw food because heating is required to process the flour.
Culinary uses — lupine flour:
What does lupine flour taste like? Lupine flour has a yellowish color and a slightly nutty, versatile flavor. How can you use lupine flour in cooking? Lupine flour is most often used as a substitute, for example, to replace wheat flour in baking. It is a particularly practical substitute because it binds water and has a durable shelf life. We recommended replacing a maximum of 15–20 % of the flour called for in a recipe with lupine flour. This increases the protein in foods such as cakes, muffins, and pancakes. It also gives baked foods a looser, airier texture and a yellowish color.
If you want to use lupine flour as an egg substitute for vegan fried foods, you should add some starch (e.g., potato starch or cornstarch). Lupine flour contains very little starch, meaning that it is not suitable for thickening sauces and soups.
To use lupine as an egg replacement, mix about 15 g lupine flour with 45 mL water or plant-based milk. You can also use this mixture as an egg substitute for breadcrumb coating and then roll the food in breadcrumbs.
Lupine flour’s high protein content (approx. 38 %) makes it an ideal ingredient for protein drinks. However, lupine protein isolate (lupine concentrate) contains an even higher concentration of protein and can also be used in protein shakes.
Lupine flour furthermore contains lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier to better combine ingredients. Vegan “cheese” sold in supermarkets may contain lupine flour. Lupine tofu is another particularly tasty source of protein.2
Lupine protein isolate is often used to produce vegan substitutes for milk products such as yogurt, cheese, and ice cream because it has very little flavor of its own.1 In the Mediterranean region, pickled lupine beans are sold as a delicacy at markets and in restaurants (Italian: lupini, Spanish: altramuces or chochos). If you roast lupine beans, you get a drink comparable to coffee.2
Vegan recipe for Pizza Dough with Lupine Flour and Wheat Flour
Ingredients: 100 g whole wheat flour, 100 g flour, 100 g lupine flour, ½ cube compressed yeast (fresh yeast), 150 mL lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon oil (e.g., cold-pressed canola oil), salt, herbs to taste (e.g., oregano and basil).
Preparation: Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix with salt and herbs. Then pour the yeast water and oil into the flour and work into a smooth dough with a wooden spoon or a food processor. Leave the dough to rise for at least 1 hour in a warm place. Then you can roll out the dough as you wish, cover it, and bake in the oven at 230 °C for about 15–20 minutes. The lupine flour keeps the dough light and fluffy.
Recipe for Vegan Shortbread Cookies:
Ingredients: 100 g powdered sugar, 200 g vegan margarine, 300 g wheat flour, 40 g lupine flour, 1 package vanilla sugar (or a couple of drops of vanilla essence or small pieces of a vanilla bean pod), 2 tablespoons water, the juice of one small lemon.
Preparation: Mix the powdered sugar, margarine, wheat flour, and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Mix the lupine flour with the water and lemon juice until smooth and add to the other ingredients in the bowl. Knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and easily separates from the bowl. Wrap the dough in foil and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 °C. Roll out the dough and cut the cookies to the desired shape. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Be careful when baking that the cookies become only slightly brown. Once you have cooled the cookies, you can decorate them, for example, with icing made from sugar and water, chocolate icing, coconut flakes, nuts, or sprinkles.
You can find vegan recipes with lupine flour at the bottom of the text or in the sidebar: “Recipes that have the most of this ingredient.”
Purchasing — where to buy lupine flour?
It is unlikely that you will find lupine flour at major supermarkets such as Walmart, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, and Safeway (United States); Extra Foods, Metro, and Freshmart (Canada); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl (Great Britain); or Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Harris Farm (Australia). Instead, try organic supermarkets, health food stores, and specialty stores. These sorts of shops will usually sell organic lupine flour, and you may even be able to find lupine flour produced using biodynamic practices.
White lupine (Lupinus albus, field lupine), which is used to make lupine flour, no longer exists in the wild. However, primitive forms of the plant such as Lupinus graecus and Lupinus termis can be found in the wild. These are bitter forms of lupine that contain considerably more bitter alkaloids than sweet lupine cultivated today.3 All parts of wild lupine plants are poisonous. You can occasionally find feral species of the narrow-leaf lupine (Lupinus angustifolius, blue lupine).
Lupine flour must always be stored in a closed, dry container in a dark environment. Ground products are always more susceptible to pests than whole beans, and for this reason lupine flour should be used up quickly.
Nutrients — nutritional information — calories in lupine flour:
Is lupine flour healthy? Lupine contains all the essential amino acids (threonine, isoleucine, tryptophan, leucine, lysine, valine, phenylalanine, and methionine) and is a valuable source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. You can find out more about essential amino acids on our page about okra.
The protein content of lupine flour is about 38 %, while its carbohydrate content is about 41 %, of which about 30 % is dietary fiber. Fat makes up approximately 8.1 % of lupine flour. One hundred grams of lupine flour contains 341 calories.4
In addition to the main nutrients mentioned above, lupine flour also contains the trace element manganese. At 2.5 mg/100 g, the amount of manganese found in lupine flour is comparable to shredded coconut (2.7 mg/100 g) and psyllium (2.6 mg/100 g). Manganese is important for regulating the body’s carbohydrate metabolism and helps the body to form connective tissue. Larger amounts of manganese are contained in foods such as wheat germ (13 mg/100 g), hazelnuts (6.2 mg/100 g), and rolled oats (3.6 mg/100 g).4
Lupine flour also contains folic acid (folate) (188 µg/100 g). According to the EU regulation (2011), this makes up almost 100 % of the recommended daily dose of folic acid (200 µg).5 The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends that adults consume 300 µg of folate per day.6 The manufacturing process and the heat treatment that lupine flour undergoes means that some of the folic acid in the flour is lost. Lupine grits contain 355 µg/100 g: even more folic acid. At 181 µg/100 g, cooked lentils contain similar amounts of folic acid while raw lentils contain considerably more (479 µg/100 g).4 Legumes generally contain high quantities of folic acid; however, these quantities are greatly reduced through cooking. Folic acid is an important nutrient for cell maturation, protein metabolism, and the development of the fetus. Women should consider increasing their intake of folic acid to approximately (550 µg)6, even before pregnancy.
Select CLICK FOR under the photo of lupine flour to see the nutrient tables. These tables provide complete nutritional information, the percentage of the recommended allowance, and comparison values with other ingredients.
Health aspects — benefits of lupine flour:
Is lupine flour alkaline? Unlike many other legumes, lupine contains alkaline protein, which means that the body produces very little uric acid. This makes lupine particularly suitable for people following a low-purine diet because of problems such as rheumatism or gout.
Traditional medicine — naturopathy:
Lupine beans have been a known treatment for intestinal problems and colic since Hildegard of Bingen.16 Today, naturopathy considers lupine an antioxidant with antimicrobial effects and the ability to restrain cancer.
Dangers — intolerances — side effects:
Lupine contains allergenic proteins (conglutin), which can cause cross-reactions with allergens from soybeans, peanuts, green beans, and peas. Symptoms may include skin reactions, breathing problems, and cramps, and can even lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.7
The allergen declaration requirements for lupine and lupine-based products are problematic because they vary from country to country. In the EU, Australia, and New Zealand, all foods containing lupine, even in small quantities, must be labeled with an allergy declaration. Since 2008, lupine has been one of the 14 ingredients that must be clearly stated on prepackaged food in the EU. These 14 allergens cause approximately 90 % of all allergies.8
In contrast to other legumes, lupine beans cause significantly less flatulence.
The toxic substances found in wild lupine are not present in cultivated sweet lupine that is processed into products such as lupine flour. Through targeted breeding, alkaloids such as quinolizidine, lupanine, 13-hydroxylupanine, sparteine, multiflorin, and lectins were reduced in sweet lupins.9
Some farm animals have experienced poisoning from the alkaloids contained in wild lupine. Rotted/spoiled animal feed can cause lupinosis. Fungus (Phomopsis leptostromiformis) colonizes spoiled food and causes liver damage, especially in sheep, cattle, and horses.10
Description — origin:
There are about 300 known species from the Lupinus genus. They originate from two major gene centers: the Mediterranean region and the central part of the west coast of North, Central, and South America.3
People have cultivated white lupine (Lupinus albus) from the Mediterranean region and the Andean lupine (Lupinus mutabilis) from the high altitudes of the central and southern Andes for thousands of years. Yellow lupine (Lupinus luteus) and blue lupine (Lupinus angustifolius) only became the subject of breeding to create low alkaloid sweet lupines at the end of the 1920s.3 These species are also suitable for a wide range of cultivation areas.
Cultivation — harvest:
Lupine is an herbaceous, mostly perennial (sometimes annual) plant and is very low-maintenance. It grows on sandy, and even dry soils, which do not require fertilization. Lupine improves the quality of the soil in which it grows, making it particularly interesting for organic farming. Bacteria binding air to nitrogen lives on lupine root and enriches the soil with up to 100 kg nitrogen per hectare. Furthermore, lupine roots are up to 1.5 m long and loosen the soil to improve the root ability for subsequent crops. It is important to leave a break of at least 4 years between the harvest of lupine and planting new crops in the same soil.11
Lupine reaches heights of 80 to 120 cm, with the flowers being up to 50 cm tall. Lupine flowers are often called blue lupine; however, most of the time they are white. The lupine flowers come in a wide variety of colors, from white to purple, pink, red, and yellow. Two-colored variants are also possible.
Lupine beans range from roundish to flat in shape and rough to smooth in texture, and are enclosed in pods. The size and color of the beans may vary depending on the variety. Blue lupine has smooth, grayish brown beans with white spots (diameter about 7 mm), multi-leaved lupine has spherical, grayish beans with dark spots, and white lupine has flattened, white beans that sometimes have a black mark (diameter about 8–10 mm).12
Blue lupine is usually harvested in late August. At this time, the storage humidity will be about 14 % water, and drying is necessary.13
Anthracnose (focal spots) is a plant disease that makes lupine cultivation difficult, especially for white lupine. Fungi such as Colletotrichum acutatum and Glomerella cingulate cause the disease. Varieties of blue lupine are resistant to anthracnose.
Making lupine flour:
To make lupine flour, lupine beans are pressed into flakes. They are then soaked in water to increase digestibility. During this process, the milky liquid containing lupine’s high-quality protein is extracted. The liquid is then evaporated, forming a powder that can be used as lupine flour.14
When lupine-based products such as lupine tofu are produced, they are manufactured in a similar manner to flour. However, to make such products the protein concentrate is used instead, which has a curd-like consistency. Lupine beans are soaked and ground to a thick mash. Lupine milk is then pressed from this mash. This considerably reduces the heating process. When heated to temperatures of approximately 85 °C, the protein contained in the milk coagulates after approximately 50 minutes. The “whey” is then separated, and the resulting mass is mechanically dehydrated in a “press box,” where it is processed into the desired end product.14 When dried to a powder, the lupine protein isolate (lupine concentrate) has a protein content of over 90 %.15
The type of lupine used depends on how the lupine will be processed. For example, white sweet lupine is used for meat and cheese substitutes, while blue sweet lupine is used for vegetable protein powders.
In contrast to lupine flour, lupine grits are coarser. The lupine beans are crushed to make lupine grits. Lupine grits are not usually considered a raw food product as they tend to be heated to prevent spoiling.
Animal protection — species protection — animal welfare:
Lupine plants are a great source of nectar for bees and bumblebees thanks to their colorful flowers.
General information about lupine flour:
Lupine is one of the largest and most famous flower groups in the US, with popular varieties including Lupinus texensis, Lupinus polyphyllus, and Lupinus succulentus.
Alternative names for lupine flour:
Lupine is also known as lupin, white lupine, field lupine, blue lupine, wild pea, blue pea, quaker bonnet, bluebonnet, and sundial.
Literature — sources:
Many researchers do not believe that Wikipedia is an authoritative source. One reason for this is that the information about literature cited and authors is often missing or unreliable. Our pictograms for nutritional values provide also information on calories (kcal).
- Prolupin GmbH. Prolupin entwickelt pflanzliche Lebensmittelzutaten ohne Eigengeschmack. 2010.
- Wikipedia Lupinen.
- Bibd.uni-giessen.de Gattung Lupinus L. von W. Schuster.
- USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
- Amtsblatt der Europäischen Union. Verordnung (EU) Nr. 1169/2011 des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates vom 25. Oktober 2011 betreffend die Information der Verbraucher über Lebensmittel.
- DGE Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung.
- BfR Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung. Allergie durch Lupineneiweiss in Lebensmitteln. Aktualisierte Stellungnahme Nr. 039/2011 des BfR vom 26. August 2011.
- Pini U. Das Bio-Food Handbuch. Ullmann: Hamburg, Potsdam. 2014.
- Wikipedia Weisse Lupine.
- Jago MV, Peterson JE et al. Lupinosis: response of sheep to different doses of phomposin. Australian journal of experimental biology and medical science. 1982;60(3)
- Fibl.org Merkblatt Biolupinen. 2012.
- Reiner H. Die Lupinen - Warenkundliche Grundlagen für die Müllerei. Ausarbeitung für die Mantler Mühle. Wien. 2007.
- Oekolandbau.de Lupinen.
- Lupinen-samen.info Verwendung der Lupine.
- Ufop.de Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. Lupinen in der Humanernährung.
- Hildegard von Bingen. Physica. Lib. II, Cap. IX: De Vichbona.