Pulses: Easy Hacks to Make Meals Count

pulse muffins

The United Nations has named 2016 “The Year of the Pulse”. No, not your heartbeat “pulse”, but the category of foods that are naturally high in critical nutrients and easy on our planet. This includes dried beans, peas and lentils.

As a global nation, we know that we want to leave a better place for our children and one of the key factors is how we grow our food. Pulse foods put nitrogen back into the soil as they grow and they provide affordable, transportable, highly nourishing fuel for the world.

Some of the most common dishes can be improved nutritionally with the simple addition of pulses. Here are three easy recipes with a little twist that really bumps up their fiber, protein and nutrient content:

Turbo Soup
Choose a low sodium, high vegetable soup like butternut squash or cream of broccoli and stir in 2 tablespoons of white bean hummus and 2 tablespoons of water per 1.5 cup serving. This will enhance your soup’s flavour and enrich its nutritional value. (You can actually perform this same magic with any sauce or stew without changing the taste much at all!)

Super Powered Muffins
Muffin mixes are great, but they tend to use white flour with no fiber and low protein. Adding Weetabix biscuits and chickpea flour changes everything. Weetabix is a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal that adds texture and dissolves easily while chickpea flour is a solid protein source that gives muffins heft. Consider adding pumpkin seeds and berries to create a super fueled on-the-go snack or breakfast. Get the full delicious recipe here.

Protein Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes couldn’t be easier and red lentils will virtually disappear in the mix. This is a great way to start kids on beans. In a large pot, boil 3 cups of water and add 1 cup of red lentils. At the same time, bake or microwave 2 to 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes. Peel the skins once cooked and add to the lentils, mashing everything together using a hand blender or potato masher. Stir in a pinch of nutmeg and a tablespoon of butter, plus salt and pepper. Tip: You can also turn this into a delicious soup by simply thinning it with chicken or vegetable broth.

 

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Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at www.theresaalbert.com

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