Sweet lupine, or lupin, is a nut-like legume that grows in arid regions and is native to North America, Southern Europe, and North Africa.
Normally, the plant can be toxic to livestock and humans, but the legumes, called lupin beans, are edible and very nutritious once soaked in saltwater to remove the toxins. They are growing in popularity as a food additive to replace peanuts and add proteins in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Many protein shakes, energy drinks, and other foods include lupine as their primary source of protein and are thus labeled "peanut-free." Similarly, flour from the lupine can be used to make pastas and noodles that are gluten-free.
Replacement may come with allergies of its own
Although many foods can contain lupin and they are, technically, peanut-free, some allergists are warning that some people with peanut allergies may also have sensitivity to lupin beans, while others may be allergic to lupins themselves, specifically.
According to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, lupin allergy is a growing trend in Europe, where lupin beans are more commonly used in foods than they are in North America. A known link between peanut allergy and lupins is also cause for concern.
Although studies are underway, there are no concrete numbers as to how likely a peanut-allergy sufferer is to have a lupin bean allergy as well.