The United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.
The hope is to position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients all over the world. By doing so, the goal is to promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by pulse farmers.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what are “pulses,” you’ll be pleased to know you are not alone.
Pulse refers to the grain seed from a legume. More commonly, you’ve probably heard of pulses by their individual names such as peas, beans, lentils, carob, soybeans and even peanuts.
To learn about this initiative and all you could possibly need to know about pulses, visit the website dedicated to the International Year of Pulses
Pulses have been a main source for protein for those following a vegetarian and or vegan lifestyle for years. The intent is to bring everyone to love pulses and rely on them as much as those smaller groups already do. Pulses are low in fat, high in fiber and very rich in protein. They play an important role in preventing illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Pulses include vitamins and minerals that are crucial during developmental stages for children and for maintaining health in all stages of adulthood. Some nutrients present in pulses include iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, thiamin B vitamins and zinc.
Perhaps the main reason we all need to increase our intake of pulses is due to their high quality protein. Unlike other more popular protein sources in the American diet, pulses are also environmentally friendly in so many ways.
If you are convinced and would like to increase the amount and variety of pulses you include in your diet beyond just rice and beans, you’ve come to the right place.
We enlisted the help of some creative expert food bloggers who are also registered dietitians to share some of their favorite recipes with pulses.
Go on and pin, save, and add as many of them as you’d like to you own recipe collection.STUFFED SWEET POTATO WITH MUSTARD GREENS & CREAMY TAHINI SAUCE
By Cara from Street Smart Nutrition
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 Tablespoon salted butter
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups mustard greens, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chickpeas
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons plain siggi’s skyr
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork or knife. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake 40 minutes or until fully cooked.
When the sweet potatoes have about 15-20 minutes remaining, add the butter in a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Add the thinly sliced onions and allow to cook over medium heat until onions begin to caramelize. Reduce heat to low, add the mustard greens and minced garlic, cover, and allow the greens to wilt.
While the greens are wilting, combine the tahini, plain skyr, garlic clove, salt, red pepper flakes, and water in the bowl or cup of a food processor, Ninja, or Bullet. Pulse until ingredients are well combined and the texture becomes creamy.
Add the chickpeas to the mustard greens and onion skillet to heat. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Slice the potatoes lengthwise, open, and roughly mash the inner potato with a fork. Evenly divide the greens mixture in half, stuffing 1/2 into each sweet potato. Spoon the creamy tahini sauce over the top. Serve warm.POTATO, LENTIL AND BEET SALAD
By Tracee from Triad to Wellness
1 ¼ cup beets, rinsed
1 pound red potatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cup cooked small green lentils, see note
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup vegan style mayonnaise
1½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups chopped kale, optional
Place beets and potatoes in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover the vegetables with cold water and add salt. Bring water to a boil, and then reduce the heat and continue to cook on a low simmer. Do not cover.
Cook the potatoes and beets until they are soft all the way through. Drain the potatoes and beets and run them under cold water to cool them down.
In a separate bowl, add the potatoes, beets, lentils, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
In another small bowl add the lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and ground pepper. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the beet and potato and stir well.
Serve over kale.RED LENTIL QUINOA SOUP WITH PAPRIKA-MINT OIL
By Roxana from The Delicious Crescent
2 cups red lentils
1/4 cup quinoa
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste (optional)
8 cups water or stock (vegetable or chicken) adjust as needed
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup grated carrots
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon juice – to taste
1 ¼ teaspoons Salt (adjust if using stock)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried mint
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
Wash the red lentils and transfer to the cooking pot. Add the chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, grated garlic, water or stock, tomato paste & cumin (optional), turmeric and bring it all to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are completely soft and fallen apart.
In a separate saucepan put 1/4 cup quinoa and 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat, place the lid and let it simmer until quinoa is tender and a bit chewy. When it is cooked, the white spiral like threads appear around each grain of quinoa.
Blend the cooked red lentils to a smooth consistency as per preference, using an immersion blender or a countertop blender.
Add the grated carrots and simmer for another 10 minutes; adding the cooked quinoa, chopped cilantro, black pepper and salt towards the end.
Squeeze some lemon juice as per taste. Adjust the final consistency and seasoning according to taste.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. When the oil is hot, turn off the heat. Add the paprika, mint and ground red pepper (optional). Make sure to take the saucepan away from the heat source, so that the seasonings do not get burnt. Ground red pepper adds the characteristic pungency and you may want to add it per preference and taste.
Stir about one fourth of the paprika-mint seasoning oil into the soup to allow the flavors to mix well into the soup. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle the remaining seasoning oil on top of the soup. Serve some lemon wedges on the side for this red lentil quinoa soup with paprika-mint oil.CRISP LENTIL SALAD
By Elizabeth Shaw
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup French lentils
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch black pepper
1 cup dry couscous
1 can of diced canned tomatoes, no salt added
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 large cucumber, skin on, chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
sea salt (to taste)
In a large stove top pot, place vegetable stock, garlic, black pepper and lentils. Cook on medium heat until water absorbed.
In a separate pot, place remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock and whole grain of choice. About half way through cooking, add in 1 can of the diced tomatoes. Let simmer until liquid absorbs.
Remove lentils and grain from heat, let cool. Combine lentils and grain in a large bowl, stirring in red wine vinegar, chopped onion and cucumber. Salt to taste.
Set in the refrigerator and let cool until ready to serve.
Perfect with toasted chips, pita or served on top of mixed greens.ROASTED FENNEL AND CAULIFLOWER WITH WHITE BEANS AND SHAVED PARMESAN
By Jenny Shea Rawn
2 heads fennel, cleaned, trimmed and sliced, reserving some fennel fronds (green feather-like leaves on the fennel that have a light anise flavor) for topping the finished dish
1 head cauliflower, cleaned and broken into similar sized bite-sized pieces
1 15.5oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup shaved parmesan
Preheat oven to 425 with the cast-iron skillet inside. Toss the fennel and cauliflower with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast the fennel and cauliflower for 25-30 minutes in the skillet or on a baking sheet until lightly caramelized, turning the veggies over halfway through. Remove from the oven (carefully!) and toss in a large bowl with white beans and parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with the reserved fronds. Serve.Plus 5 More:BLUEBERRY WALNUT CHICKPEA SALADQUINOA CORN RED BEAN SALADVEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BITESSPICY HUMMUS BLACK BEAN VEGGIE BURGERGRILLED AVOCADO STUFFED WITH CORN BLACK BEAN SALSAAND, one more BONUS Recipe!TUSCAN WHITE BEAN, KALE AND ROASTED PEPPER STUFFED CHICKEN
By Katie Cavuto from Healthy Bites
6, boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 large roasted pepper, diced
1 cup Tuscan White Beans (Better Bean)
1 cup chopped, steamed or frozen kale
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast halves to form a pocket.
In a small bowl, combine the roasted peppers, white beans, kale and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of the mixture and close (you can use a tooth pick if needed). Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Using a grill pan or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken (top side down to start) for 2-3 minutes to brown. Once browned, place the whole pan in the oven and back for 8-10 minutes to cook through.