The main difference between how I ate growing up, and how my family eats today, comes down to one thing: pulses. You may not be familiar with the word, but likely will know it well by the end of this year, thanks to the United Nations declaring 2016 as the year of the pulse.
So, what exactly is a pulse? Good question. They are the delicious, sustainable, local (for Canadians), healthy, protein-packed foods you know as chickpeas, lentils, beans and dried peas. They’re high in fibre, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc, and have twice as much protein as other whole grains like wheat, barley or rice.
My family consumes pulses regularly. We’re rarely without hummus in the fridge, eat soup with beans every week, love to add roasted chickpeas to our salads, and have been known to toss them into a pot of any other stew or curry to bulk up the protein without adding more meat.
That last point is key, as far as I’m concerned. Groceries are going to be even more expensive in 2016 and with four meat-loving men to feed each day, I already double and triple most of my recipes, but this year instead of upping the meat count, I’m replacing half of it with beans, lentils or chickpeas, when appropriate. My turkey lentil sloppy Joes are an excellent example of this. It’s a family favourite recipe, and to this day I don’t think anyone even knows it’s loaded with lentils and not just meat. Pulses are a far more economical protein option, and will certainly help to keep the food costs in check if they replace a meaty meal every once in a while.
Here at SavvyMom, we’ve developed plenty of recipes using pulses, and are showcasing 11 of our favourites to show you how easy it is to add them to your own family meals:
Chickpea patties (our super popular recipe has been updated after three years!)
Sweet Potato Hummus