Happy Year of the Pulse! 2016 has been declared “International Year of Pulses” by the United Nations, and we’re excited. After all, what’s not to love about pulses? They’re affordable, sustainable, and super tasty and versatile, and pulses being one of this year’s hottest food trends means that we can all look forward to tons of new recipes using lentils, beans, chickpeas, and other dried peas.
If pulses aren’t already a staple part of your diet, they definitely should be! Here are 5 of our favourite reasons to eat more pulses:
- They’re nutritional powerhouses. All pulses have 4x more fiber than brown rice, and they’re great sources of protein, iron, potassium, folate, and antioxidants.
- They’re suitable for a range of diets. Pulses are naturally gluten-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free, so whether you’re vegan/vegetarian, gluten free, or just trying to minimize your cholesterol or sodium intake, they’re a healthy addition to your meals. Plus, they’re high in protein and low in fat, which makes them great for helping to manage your weight.
- They’re extremely versatile. From desserts like black bean brownies (delicious, trust us), to appetizers like hummus and hearty soups and stews, there’s no course that pulses can’t be right at home in.
- They’re sustainable. Pulses are super water-efficient, and have a low carbon footprint.
- They’re affordable. Pulses are one of the most cost-effective protein sources that you can eat, and are way easier on your budget per serving than proteins like beef, pork, or chicken.
So, are you ready to add more pulses into your diet this year? Taking the Pulse Pledge and committing to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks is a great way to get started! Once you’ve signed, stock up your pantry with these staple pulses and start trying out some of our favourite ways to use them.
Lentils are one of our absolute favourite pulses – they’re a great replacement for meat in tacos, they’re filling and hearty enough for soups and stews, and they make a delicious veggie-friendly shepherd’s pie. Here are some of our favourite lentil recipes:
Mujadarra is a classic Middle Eastern dish made with lentils, brown rice, and seasoned caramelized onions. We love how the super simple ingredients in this recipe come together to make a rich, flavourful, and totally delicious side dish.
Even meat-lovers will dig into this vegetarian riff on the classic dish. Lentils pair with savoury mushrooms, soy sauce, onions, carrots, and of course, mashed potatoes, and the result is vegetarian comfort food at it’s finest.
This soup is a Well.ca staff favourite (that’s our CMO Erin’s photo of it from a recent dinner), and once you’ve tried it for yourself, you’ll understand why. This filling vegetarian soup is rich in spices, packed with healthy lentils and kale, and way easier to make than you’d think.
What aren’t black beans great at? They’re rich in protein and fiber, they help to support healthy digestion, and they’re delicious in everything from soups, to burgers, to desserts! Here are some of our favourite ways to use them:
How do you make sweet, fudgy, chocolatey brownies even better? Pack them with fiber, omega-3s, and protein! These stealthily healthy brownies are made with black beans, flax, and coconut oil for extra nutrition.
Black beans are a Tex-Mex staple, so it’s no surprise that a Tex-Mex-inspired recipe is on our list! This healthy casserole is a lightened-up version of the classic enchilada bake. We love how easy it is to make, and that’s it’s full of healthy ingredients like veggies, quinoa, and of course, black beans.
Packed with fresh ingredients like black beans, cucumber, corn, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and lime, this is the perfect summer salad — but don’t let that stop you from enjoying it all year round! It’s a total crowd-pleaser that makes a great side dish or potluck recipe.
Chickpeas are a pantry essential among the Well.ca staff. We love that they’re full of protein, fiber, and folate, and that they’re so versatile, right at home in everything from appetizers to sweets. Here are our favourite dishes starring chickpeas:
A twist on caesar salad, this one by Oh She Glows is just as delicious and creamy and crowd-pleasing as the traditional version, with an added health boost from the inclusion of kale and crispy, crunchy roasted chickpea croutons! These croutons are also tasty enough to eat all on their own, so we recommend making extra for snacks.
This satisfying stew is healthy, comforting, and full of nutritious chickpeas and veggies and creamy coconut milk. Best of all, it’s made in the slow cooker!
You may not have thought of chickpeas as a dessert ingredient, but after making these truffles you’ll wonder why you’re not using them sweets more often!