It’s time to talk pulses again. If you missed the first blog post where we talked about what pulses are, the International Year of Pulses and Alberta’s pulse industry, check it out here. 2016 has been declared International Year of Pulses (IYP) by the United Nations.

Today, let’s talk about the nutritional benefits of pulses. Did you know that pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans are high in fibre, a good source of protein, low in fat and packed with essential nutrients? That’s right! Three-quarter cup (175 mL) counts as one Canada Food Guide serving as a meat alternative. Pulses are also gluten-free for those with Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance. They pack a nutritional punch and taste delicious.

Many people around the world have known the nutritional value of pulses for thousands of years and incorporated them into their diets. International Year of Pulses (IYP) is a good opportunity to remind people of the goodness of this inexpensive source of protein.

Pulses are easy to incorporate into your family’s diet with the increased availability of pulse flours, packaged pulse snacks and even made-in-Alberta No Nuts Pea Butter that tastes just like peanut butter, in addition to canned or dry beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.

So why don’t more people eat pulses? It could be because they don’t know where to buy them and/or how to cook them. Pulses can be found in most grocery stores or ethnic specialty stores in both the canned and dry form. Pulses can be cooked on the stove top, in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and for certain recipes, in the oven.

The Pulse Canada website has a great resource on how to cook your pulses. Check it out: Pulse Canada: How to Cook Pulses.

To help you get started, here are two easy recipes featuring different pulses. Give them a try. Enjoy!

Quinoa, Chickpea, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Quinoa chickpea salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (beige, red or black)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed

  • 1 chopped, unpeeled cucumber

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 cup chopped parsley

  • 1 cup sliced baby spinach leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • To taste salt and pepper

Directions:

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Tip: Do not overcook. Chill in the refrigerator to cool.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, spinach and about half of the feta. Gently toss in the cooled quinoa; do not overmix or stir. Whisk vinegar, honey and paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the combined salad ingredients; toss gently. Top with extra feta if desired; serve immediately.

Source: W Network

 

Hoisin Turkey and Lentil Lettuce Wraps

Lentil lettuce wrap.

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil for cooking
  • 1 lb ground turkey (can substitute chicken breasts)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems chopped
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 green onions chopped
  • 1 head butter, romaine or leaf lettuce 
  • peanuts and fresh cilantro for garnish 

Directions:

Heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the ground turkey and red pepper and cook, breaking up with a spoon until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro and lentils and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add 1/3 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender, any excess moisture has evaporated and the meat has started to brown. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce and green onions. Cook for another minute or two, stirring to coat well and heat through. Wash and prepare your lettuce, separating leaves. Serve turkey-lentil mixture in bowl with lettuce leaves for filling.

Source: Alberta Pulse Growers 

You can learn more about pulses during Stampede! The International Year of Pulses 2016 Travelling Exhibit will be on display in the Agrium Western Event Centre. Stop by and check it out!