It’s simple to incorporate healthy pulses into your every day eating plan and wonderfully satisfying and tasty too.
Cans of cooked beans and chickpeas, along with bags of quicker cooking dried pulses such as lentils and mung beans, make great store cupboard standbys for quick food fixes. If you’re really organised you may cook up a big pot of pulses from scratch with enough for a few meals ( they keep in the fridge in their cooking water for a good five days and can be frozen too).
So, once you’re stocked up with pulses, here are a few really easy ideas to get you incorporating them into your diet.
Just blitz a handful of cannellini, butter beans or chickpeas with your favourite smoothie recipe; the pulses give a fabulously creamy texture as well as adding valuable protein and fibre.
Try roasting chickpeas in a hot oven (around 200°C/400F) along with some extra virgin olive oil, seasoning and spices for about 30 minutes. They’ll develop crisp skins but remain beautifully soft within, be sure to devour whilst still warm.
Why stick at chickpeas? You can blend any cooked pulses along with a little garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning with amazing results. You may or may not choose to add the customary tahini but do be sure to add spices (such as cumin or coriander) or generous handfuls of herbs.
Throw a few pulses into any soup and you’ll make it more substantial and filling. Blended pulses give a luscious velvety texture, meaning you can cut back on creamy fats if you’re counting calories. Try making a simple soup of onion, green peas and mint with a can of butter beans or any other veg/pulse combination that takes your fancy.
Casseroles, Stews, Curries and Pie Fillings
Adding a few pulses to familiar recipes can up the fibre content, eek out more expensive ingredients and make the dish more satisfying and filling too. Blend to a creamy paste or add as whole pulses, the choice is yours. Cottage pie could be a good place to start.
A sprinkling of cooked beans, lentils or chickpeas can transform a simple salad into a wholesome meal. Try warming the beans in a little extra virgin olive oil with a touch of garlic, season, then leave to sup up the oil as they cool for extra flavour.
Beans and chick peas have been a traditional ingredient in a classic Turkish rice pudding called Noah’s Pudding for hundreds of years - try sprinkling in a few next time you make a rice pudding.