Pulses Are The Star of The Show

The Global Stage 

This week marks World Pulses Day. Yes, yes I do agree there does seem to be a special day for everything under the sun. And yes, to be honest I understand that it doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to celebrate BUT believe me, these guys are severely underrated.

This global day was created to recognise the importance of pulses which includes beans, peas and lentils.

What The Heck Are Pulse’s?

It is clearly a good day when we all wake up with a pulse but in this case we are referring to the pulses that belong to the wider legume family.  This is a group of plants whose fruit or seed is enclosed in a pod.  Pulses refer specifically to the dried, mature seeds of these plants and include dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  The term legume, includes these dried varieties as well as fresh peas and beans and is a more commonly used term than pulses. 

Everyone is familiar with the good old baked bean but there are so MANY other varieties out there. Some that you may know of include chickpeas, lentils, peas and beans like butter beans, kidney beans, cannelloni beans and soybeans.

I include legumes in my cooking at least three times a week and I don’t think anyone in my household even knows! Not that there is any need to hide pulses but they are super easy to add to almost any dish.  

If you are starting the legume/pulses journey, some easy ways to introduce these nutrition powerhouses into your day include adding a tin of brown lentils to a bolognaise sauce (as they virtually disappear once they are put into a dish) or tip them into a green salad or any kind of mince dish. Kidney or black beans are perfect for burrito bowls or wraps, chick peas are delightful when they are added to a curry and red lentils can make a rather tasty  salad.

The Nutrition Lowdown On Pulses

Legumes and pulses are truly multi-skilled and are:

  • a budget friendly source of plant based protein
  • higher in protein than most other plant based foods
  • usually low in fat
  • rich in low glycemic index carbohydrates
  • a good source of B vitamins including folate, plus iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium
  • super high in fibre – both soluble and insoluble with the added benefit of resistant starch which is fabulous for maintaining good gut health

For a bunch of there great reasons to eat them, you can read the latest post by the GLNC here too.

Then there is the newish (but has been grown for eons) protein rich kid on the block packing a serious nutrition punch. This little goodie is the humble lupin flake – a unique legume that contains 40% protein, 40% fibre with a small amount of carbohydrate and fat and is completely gluten free. 85% of the world’s crop of lupins is grown in Australia (mostly in Western Australia) although they are available worldwide. You can try my recipe for the High Protein Lupinsagne here too.

I promise you it’s as simple as cracking open a can to get more of these pulses in your day, week or month.

While you are percolating all these ideas, it is always nice to finish on a sweet note don’t you think?  You will know what I mean when you make and bake Magic Bean Cupcakes 

You can thank me later.

 

 

 

Cinderella or Halloween?

Cinderella and Halloween come straight to mind when I think of the humble pumpkin.  One is a visual of a converted coach hurtling towards a ball with an unsuspecting prince waiting and the other is of a spooky lit up pumpkin face. In reality, we are talking about an orange vegetable of the cucurbitaceae family. Try and say that fast three times, it’s not easy. There are quite a few varieties of pumpkin and they are all very low in calories, excellent sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals plus provide good dose of antioxidants such as leutins, xanthins and carotenes. Pumpkin is very handy as a colour enhancer in a meal and works so well incorporated into a soup.  Hence, my $2 (actually less) meal today is the ubiquitous winter warmer, soup. Red lentil and pumpkin soup 175g red lentils, rinsed 1 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped 1 brown onion, diced 2 x garlic cloves, crushed 1 teaspoon minced ginger or 1cm piece of fresh ginger 2 x 10g vegetable stock cube 2 teaspoons curry powder (reduce to 1 teaspoon if kids don’t like the spice) 1.5 litres of water 1 tablespoon olive oil Heat oil in large saucepan and cook onion for 2 minutes until slightly soft. Add garlic and curry powder and cook until aromatic. Pour in water, crumbled stock cube, pumpkin and lentils and bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes until pumpkin is soft. Once removed from heat, use a stick blender to purée the soup.  Serve with 1/3 cup low fat natural yoghurt and shredded fresh coriander. Serves 4 Cost per serve = $1.67