Kitchn Love Letters

The $5 Italian Snack That’s Helping Me Eat More Protein

updated Oct 28, 2022
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Credit: Katie Leaird

I would love to tell you that I discovered pickled lupini beans during my travels from Puglia to Cinque Terre, but that’s just not true. Although they’re a product of Italy, I fell in love with Brami Italian Snacking Lupini Beans right here on Martha’s Vineyard.

A friend introduced me to these protein-packed beans when I was trying to mix up the foods in my lifestyle during the spring. I’m not a nutritionist, but I don’t need to be one to realize that my diet was too carb-heavy — would you expect anything less if you eat pasta for two out of three meals a day? I was consuming enough vegetables alongside my noodle-rich lifestyle, but since I don’t eat much meat, I was clearly lacking on the protein front.

Brami has a bunch of different flavors; my favorites are the Garlic & Rosemary, Mediterranean Medley, and the Hot Chili Peppers. In one 5.3-ounce package, there are seven grams of plant protein and zero grams of carbohydrates. Another major boon is that these pouches are shelf-stable. Especially in the off-season on this tourist island when a lot of shops and restaurants close, it’s vital to have a fully-stocked pantry, so I keep a couple dozen bags of Brami beans in there at all times.

Credit: Katie Leaird

These snacking beans are great to graze with wine and cheese, providing a tangy, textured element. I’ve also been sprinkling them on salads for a snappy bite, and yes, of course, stirring them into spaghetti with briny capers, lemon, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Protein problem solved!

Recently, I’ve discovered the smaller snack-size bags, which I now keep in my purse for convenient on-the-go nourishment. They’ve even replaced my chip and popcorn stash; their salty, slightly crunchy bites are just so snackable.

What’s your favorite grocery store snack? Tell us in the comments below.