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CALLING ALL RECIPE USERS

CHICKPEA AND CRANBERRY COUSCOUS SALAD

2-1/2 c. chicken stock

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 c. couscous

1 c. dried cranberries

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3 green onions, chopped

2 c. cooked chickpeas (or 1 19-oz./540-ml can)

drained and rinsed

1/4 c. canola oil, divided

1/4 c. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley

Combine stock, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous, cover and let stand five minutes or until liquid has been completely absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Break up any couscous lumps with fingers. Sauté zucchini, carrots and green onions in one tablespoon of canola oil. Add sauteéd vegetables to couscous. Stir in cranberries and chickpeas. Whisk together lemon juice, remaining oil, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Pour over couscous and toss together. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional Info (per serving): 287 calories, 6 g fat, 9 g protein, 50 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium.

– Recipe provided courtesy of Pulse Canada

If your New Year’s resolutions include eating a healthier diet, pay attention to the headlines in 2009 on how beans, peas and lentils can improve your health.

In December the Journal of the Amer ican Medical Association published results of a new study led by a Canadian researcher, showing that eating pulses as part of a low-glycemic index diet can help to control diabetes and to increase “good” cholesterol.

Foods that only slightly increase blood glucose levels fall into the category of having a low-glycemic index.

This new study is being called the strongest evidence yet of what eating pulses can do for those with Type 2 diabetes, demonstrating their “double whammy” benefit of increasing good cholesterol and reducing blood glucose levels.

The study was conducted by Dr. David Jenkins, an expert in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital.

Two-hundred patients with Type 2 diabetes were assigned either a high-cereal, high-fibre diet, or a low-glycemic diet, which also included pulses as well as rice, some kinds of breads plus oatmeal and oat bran cereals. Both groups limited their consumption of white flour and ate the required 12 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Findings show those on a low-glycemic diet, which included the pulse foods, gained the most benefits, with their hemoglobin A1C levels (a measure of blood glucose levels) dropping slightly, plus significant improvements in good cholesterol.

There’ll be more news like this in 2009. Next month Pulse Canada, a national association representing growers, processors and traders of pulse crops, will host a Pulse Health and Food Symposium in Toronto at which the latest results of several more clinical trials will be released on the health benefits of consuming pulse-based foods.

In 2006, Pulse Canada obtained funding through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to support seven clinical trials investigating the health potential in pulses.

Pulses are a perfect food in winter, when we need hearty and filling meals that provide lots of fibre and complex carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals. Pulses also contain virtually no fat and provide almost twice the amount of protein found in cereal grains.

If you’re looking for new ideas for cooking and eating more beans, peas and lentils in 2009 log on to the Guide to Cooking Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils and Peas found on the Pulse Canada website at www.pulsecanada.com.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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