You've most likely been eating pulses for years. The lowly legume family, the staple of Mexican and Indian cuisines, includes chickpeas, lentils, dried beans, peas and even the peanut. What's new is that the United Nations has declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses and chefs across the world and here locally will be working to bring these low cost proteins into delicious dishes.
Packed with plant protein, pulses are also a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals; and help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help with losing weight. Pulses have a tiny carbon footprint and help enrich the soil they're grown in, making them great for the environment. Best of all their super cheap, with a serving costing about 10 cents.
Consider the little lentil and not from a can of poor tasting soup. Unlike other dried beans, lentils are small and cook rather quickly. They are also a rare, complete protein. Within Indian cuisine rich curry is made with lentils as well as flatbread from lentil flour. If desired you can easily sneak them and other beans into sauces adding to your health without compromising taste.
Another pulse is the peanut. Though peanuts are traditionally thought of as nuts, they are not. Like their fellow legumes, peanuts offer a healthy amount of protein and are a good source of Vitamin E, niacin, and folate. If you limit adding too much sugar and salt like natural peanut butters you can easily get health benefits from the peanut.
Perhaps more encouraging, the Montana Department of Agriculture stated that in less than 20 years pulse crops have grown from an obscure specialty crop to one of the state’s largest exports.
FOODIES will support and encourage the use of more healthy, sustainable, plant based ingredients, including pulses, in our vendor’s menu offerings.