Are you wondering what, exactly, a pulse is? A pulse is the edible seed from a legume plant. Pulses include beans, lentils, and peas. For example, a pea pod is a legume, but the pea inside the pod is the pulse! Pulses are high in protein and fibre – plus they taste delicious! Learn all about pulses, plus some tasty pulse recipes in the article below.
Pulses are among the world’s most nutritious non-perishables. They are also affordable and sustainable, meaning they’re good for the planet and your pocketbook. Canada is also the world’s largest supplier of pulses. Choosing pulses labelled “product of Canada” means your purchase is supporting local farmers when they need it the most.
The pulse on health
Pulses may be small, but they pack a nutritional punch. They’re rich in protein and fibre, and low in fat. They also supply key minerals like iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium, as well as folate and other B-vitamins. Research shows that eating pulses regularly can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and help manage blood sugars. The protein-fibre combo also makes pulses very filling, which helps you maintain a healthy weight. Plus, with all that fibre, it’s no surprise pulses are a plus for your digestive health!
The pulse-abilities are endless!
To prepare canned pulses, rinse well under cold water to make them easier to digest and to remove excess salt. They’re already cooked, so you can add them to a salad, blend them into a dip—or roast them for a crunchy treat!
Here are some easy ways to pump up the pulses in your diet:
- For a quick and hearty meal, add a can of chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans to soups and stews.
- Make your own hummus by blending drained and rinsed chickpeas with 2 tbsp of tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Pair with raw veggie sticks or whole wheat crackers for a nutritious snack.
- Toss some black beans into a breakfast burrito, quesadilla or tacos.
- Add lentil puree to hamburger mixes, pasta sauce or even muffins!
- Swap out salty snacks like chips for spicy roasted chickpeas: Drain, rinse and pat dry canned chickpeas. Toss with a generous drizzle of olive oil and 2 – 3 tbsp of your favourite seasonings. Bake at 375˚F for 1 hour.
- Blend white kidney beans into your fruit smoothie for a burst of protein, fibre and iron.
- Add a handful of black beans or chickpeas to your list of go-to pizza toppings.
- Add chickpeas, lentils or black beans to any green, pasta or quinoa salad.
- Replace half the ground beef in your favourite spaghetti sauce with 2 cups of lentils.
- Mash white kidney beans into chicken, tuna or egg salad sandwiches.
- Power up your mashed potatoes by adding puréed white beans.
- Toss some black beans in with your favourite nacho toppings for a tasty snack.