We’re halfway through International Year of Pulses (IYP). Are you eating more of them yet?
If not, sign up for the Pulse Pledge. You’ll be inspired to try.
First, a word on the IYP. The United Nations declared 2016 the year of pulses to remind us how diets of pulses are healthier for both people and planet.
There’s plenty to say about why. Low-fat, high-fibre pulses help with weight control. The World Health Organization recommends eating more of them to prevent diabetes. Research shows diets that include them may help prevent heart disease. They’re deemed a “superfood” for their key nutrients including complex carbohydrates, vegetable protein, folate and other vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron. They’re earth friendly too. Pulses are a protein crop with a lower carbon footprint, requiring less water while enriching the soil with nitrogen and other beneficial microbes.
Pulses are a very important crop to Manitoba farmers, with more than 200,000 acres now devoted to beans, peas and lentils.
But the best food in the world won’t do us good if we’re unwilling to try it. That’s why, along with the International Year of Pulses, cooks and chefs from all over the world have gathered together all sorts of new innovative ways to eat them.
Not so long ago consumer research told us few knew what a pulse was, or thought they were time consuming to cook, or just knew one or two ways to prepare them. But we have no excuse for not knowing about them today. Virtually every food or lifestyle mag now carries pulse recipes and articles telling us why we should try them.
So are you? Take the Pulse Pledge and find out why pulses are finding their way to dinner tables around the globe. Here’s a few sample recipes from the Pulse Pledge website. Looking for more? Log on to the websites of these recipe creators for more inspiration.
What is the Pulse Pledge?
To learn more log on to pulsepledge.com/take-the-pledge/.
Eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks and join a global food movement. Sign up for recipes, inspiration and the chance to win prizes. The Pulse Pledge is an initiative of Pulse Canada, the American Pulse Association and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council.
Roasted Beet Hummus
Try this brilliant-purple dip made with fresh garden beets for dipping sliced carrots and cucumbers. This is a Mediterranean-inspired dish. Peeled beets can be steamed or roasted in advance.
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1/2 c. roasted beets
- 2 tbsp. tahini sauce
- 1-1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
Pulse hummus, beets, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon in food processor.
Cumin Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos
This quick meal takes 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook.
- 1 lb. peeled and trimmed carrots (about 4 large or 8 regular-size carrots)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin divided
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. harissa seasoning
- Coarse salt
- 1 small, chopped red onion
- 1-1/2 c. cooked brown, black, or green lentils (or 1 can lentils, rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 corn or whole wheat soft tacos
- 2 large Hass avocados
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Halve or quarter the carrots (depending on how wide they are), then cut them into 1-inch-long pieces. Place them in a large mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, the coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and the harissa, if using. Toss well to combine. Transfer the carrots to a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender and a little crispy. While the carrots roast, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the red onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the lentils, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, the chili powder, lime juice, and salt. Stir to combine everything and heat the lentils up (about 1-2 minutes). Turn off the heat. Toast the tortillas gently over an open oven burner (about 1 minute per side). Alternately, you can wrap them in foil and place them in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes prior to taco assembly. To assemble tacos, place 1/4 cup lentil mixture, a handful of roasted carrots, and a few avocado slices in each taco. Top with an extra squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Fresh, chopped parsley makes a nice accompaniment, too. Enjoy.
Peanut Butter Chickpea Energy Balls
- 1-1/2 c. chickpeas cooked
- 1/2 c. all-natural peanut butter, smooth
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1-1/4 c. ground oat flour
- 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips
First, place chickpeas, peanut butter, and honey in a food processor and blend for about a minute on high, or until the mixture is smooth. Then, add in cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, and oat flour, and pulse until combined. At this point your dough should be similar to cookie dough consistency. If things are too dry, add more peanut butter, if things are too wet, add more ground oat flour. Add in chocolate chips and pulse until combined.
Finally, using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between your palms to form a ball. Repeat. Store in the fridge or freezer!