- It’s the International Year of Pulses. Hmmm. Huh?
I’ll admit it. I didn’t know what this meant. I mean when I think of pulses I think of my arteries throbbing in my neck or wrist. Somehow I don’t think this is what we’re celebrating.
This pulse is different. This pulse means the dry, edible seeds of the legume family. Ooohhh. Now I get it! Think dried peas, lentils, and beans. This year we’re celebrating how important these humble little seeds are for our health and the environment.
So what’s the big deal? Oh boy, well there’s so much good stuff in these guys I don’t know where to start. Ok let’s see – protein. Pulses are a great non-animal, lean protein source. In fact, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends including beans and dried peas as a lean source of protein. In addition to protein, they’re are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber is key when it comes to maintaining or losing weight, lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. Just to name a few.
Oh! And how about these little guys can contribute to a more sustainable food system. As more of us become more aware of the environmental impact of eating meat, pulses reduce that impact.
And you know what else? They’re inexpensive. While purchasing dried legumes is less expensive than canned they do require a little bit of thinking ahead. A great way around that ? Lentils! Lentils come in many different varieties and require little effort to prepare. And don’t worry, whatever type you choose, you’ll still get the nutritional (and environmental) benefits.
There you have it. As 2016 moves forward, why not keep your finger on the pulse of this year’s trend (ha! get it?)? Me? On this very, very cold day, I’m going to cozy up with a hot bowl of lentil soup.
Do you like pulses? How do you prepare them?
- 2 cups dried green lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cups of vegetable stock
- Heat a large pot, then add olive oil.
- Add onions, carrots and celery. Stir and cook until they begin to soften.
- Add thyme, tarragon, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir to incorporate for about a minute then add lentils and stir again.
- Add stock. Cover and bring to boil.
- When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, 30-45 minutes.
If the soup is too thick, add more stock (or water).
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Pop-pop always made soup on Sat.nights…full of “pulses”. He old be so proud of you!