WellBeing by Well.ca | 5 Reasons You Should Be Eating More Pulses
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Food

5 Reasons You Should Be Eating More Pulses

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. They’re sustainable. Pulses are super water-efficient, and have a low carbon footprint.
  5. 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

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 by A Family Feast

photo credit: A Family Feast

Mujadarra by A Family Feast

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.

 

 

 

Top view of vegetarian shepherd's pie

photo credit: Canadian Living

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie by Canadian Living

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.

 

 

 

Red Lentil and Kale Soup by Oh She Glows

photo credit: Erin Young, Well.ca

Red Lentil & Kale Soup from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

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.

 

 

Black Beans

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:

Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies by Minimalist Baker

photo credit: Minimalist Baker

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies Minimalist Baker

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.

 

 

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole by Damn Delicious

photo credit: Damn Delicious

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole by Damn Delicious

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.

 

 

Hydrating Salad by POPSUGAR Fitness

photo credit: POPSUGAR Fitness

Hydrating Salad by POPSUGAR Fitness

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

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:

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad by Oh She Glows

photo credit: Oh She Glows

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad by Oh She Glows

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.

 

 

Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew by The Kitchn

photo credit: The Kitchn

Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew by The Kitchn

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!

 

 

 

Cashew Chickpea Chocolate Truffles by Keeping it Kind

photo credit: Keepin’ it Kind

Chocolate Chickpea Truffles by Keepin’ it Kind

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!

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Please Keep In Mind

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness. You must consult with your professional health care provider before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking, varying the dosage of or ceasing to take any medication.

2 Comments
  • Lori B
    Posted at 11:47h, 17 January Reply

    This version of mujadara is our favourite- the onions are caramelized first, then the rice and lentils are stirred in with water and it all simmers together until the rice is cooked. So good!
    http://orangette.net/2007/03/into-the-pantry/

    • Cori Myles
      Posted at 15:48h, 17 January Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Lori! We’ll definitely be putting this on our recipes to try list! 🙂

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