Pulses, Pulses & more Pulses
It is ABOUT TIME that I chat with you about pulses - arguably my favourite ingredient! Also, 2016 is conveniently the 'International Year of Pulses' - so they are finally starting to get a bit of the fame that they deserve.
Okay, so first of all, what are they?
Pulses are the dry, edible seeds of legumes, including:
- dry peas (ex: split green peas & yellow peas),
- beans (ex: kidney beans, black turtle beans, & pinto beans),
- lentils (ex: red lentils & french green lentils), and
Check out a full picture-list here.
Why do I love them? (My top 5!)
1. They are jam-packed full of nutrition:
Are you ready? This list is long…Pulses are high in vegetarian protein, fibre, antioxidants, iron, potassium, folate, magnesium, and zinc. All of which we should try to consume MORE of!
2. They improve your health:
Evidenced-based research links eating pulses to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, improved digestive health, better blood sugar control, and healthy body weights (by increasing feelings of fullness).
3. They are sustainable food:
Because pulses are able to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, they require little, if any, fertilizer, and have one of the lowest carbon footprints. They are also able to grow in our cold Canadian climate!
4. I love to eat local:
Canada is one of the largest producers of peas and lentils worldwide. DYK that in 2010 we produced 32% of the peas around the world, and 38.5% of the lentils?! Right here in our backyard. In Alberta, dry peas are the most widely grown pulse crop, but we grow all types of pulses. Read more about that here and here.
5. I can afford them:
Per serving, pulses cost less than many other protein-rich foods, like beef or chicken.
What are my top 10 (err, 11) favourite ways to eat pulses?
1. In soups:
For lunch on a brisk fall day, try this 'Beet and Bean Borscht' using white kidney beans.
2. In dips:
For dessert or an afternoon pick-me-up, try this 'Dessert Hummus' using canned chickpeas.
Or for a savoury appetizer dip, try this 'Spinach and Pea Hummus ' using cooked split green peas and chickpeas.
3. To boost salads:
Make your co-workers jealous at work, and try this 'Julienne Salad' made with blackeye peas, cucumber, capsicum, coriander and carrot.
4. As the protein in smoothies:
For breakfast or after a workout, try this 'Chickpea Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl'.
5. In powerbowls:
For a quick and easy meal, try this 'Fresh Protein Powerbowl' with roasted chickpeas, smoked tofu, brown rice, kale, beets, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber and 'Lemon Tahini Dressing' from Oh She Glows.
6. In baking:
For your next celebration, try these "Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies'.
7. In addition to meat:
If you are a meat lover, try out these 'Pork Tacos with Pinto Bean Radish Salsa'.
8. As a meat replacement or substitute:
For a Meatless Monday extravaganza, try these 'Easy Lentil Meatballs', using cooked green lentils.
9. In energy bites:
For your next hiking trip, try these 'Peanut Butter and Coconut Pea Protein Bites', using pea protein powder.
10. As sandwich fillers:
For a shoo-in with kids, try these 'Vegan Sloppy Joes', using green lentils.
11. As a stand-alone snack:
For an afternoon snack, to get you through until dinner, try these 'Roasted Chickpea Snacks'
The list could have went on forever, but figured you would all get tired of scrolling…Enjoy! :)