A pile of beans and carrots next to each other
November 14, 2023
A pile of beans and carrots next to each other

Brain Healthy Ingredients: Legumes, Olive Oil, Onions

Serves: 4

Legumes like lentils and garbanzos are an excellent source of folic acid, which has been shown to be a key ingredient to brain health in babies, children, adults, and into old age. Getting enough folic acid while pregnant is important for fetal brain development as well.

This recipe calls for the zucchini and summer squash, but if you cannot find them or they are not in season, be creative and try another roasted vegetable like carrots, parsnips, or eggplant.


  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into ½ inch thick circles
  • 1 medium summer squash, sliced into ½ inch circles
  • 7 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tsp Romano cheese, grated (or more, to taste)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 15 ½ oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place zucchini and squash circles on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, and Romano cheese. Roast in the oven until crispy and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Place lentils, garbanzo beans, dill, and onion in a large bowl. Pour the remaining olive oil from the baking sheet into the bowl, and add the squash and zucchini.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and toss to combine.
  5. Sprinkle on more Romano cheese (if desired) and serve immediately.