A few weeks ago, Nourish dietitian Amanda Gilley attended an event held by the US and Canadian Pulse Councils. The event was called Taking the Pulse of Plant Forward Dining and was held in Miami. It was a 2-day event in which chefs and nutrition professionals came together to discuss the benefits of adding pulses to menus and into the diet of Americans.
You might be asking yourself “what the heck is a pulse?” A pulse is the dried version of a legume (beans, lentils, peas). Humans cannot digest pulses on their own, and therefore, cooking is necessary to consume them.
At the event, we discussed new and innovative ways to include pulses into recipes, and watched some engaging food demonstrations using pulses. Some of the unusual recipes included a romenesco sauce (a sauce with roasted peppers and nuts) and in a creamsicle smoothie (recipe below). We learned just how sustainable pulses are-they are one of the only crops that puts nitrogen back into the soil (most plants deplete nitrogen from soil). There were a few pulse farmers at the event who informed us that planting pulses is actually more beneficial than allowing a field to lay fallow! It became evident that pulses are an environmentally-friendly food option.
Some of my current favorite ways to use pulses:
- toss cooked beans into a salad
- make homemade hummus (I prefer white or black bean hummus instead of using the traditional garbanzo beans)
- making black bean brownies
- adding white beans to a turkey loaf
- making a kidney bean chili
- preparing a cold bean salad
Some of the NEW ideas I need to try out:
- in sauces, such as romenesco or even mayo (for mayo you would use aquafaba-the liquid leftover from cooking chickpeas or the liquid in canned chickpeas
- in smoothies or even cocktails (for cocktails you would use aquafaba)
- pickling pulses for an interesting bright garnish
Orange Ginger Zinger Creamsicle Smoothie
1 ½ cups orange juice
1 ½ cups frozen mango
1 ¼ cups cooked or canned, drained & rinsed white beans (cannellini, white kidney)
1 cup peeled and grated carrot
½ cup vanilla greek yogurt
½ cup ice
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth.
Garnish with an orange or lemon wedge, and enjoy immediately. Makes 2-3 servings.
1. This smoothie can also be frozen and served as popsicles, or garnished and served as a smoothie bowl.
As a dietitian, I recently celebrated National Nutrition Month in March. This year’s theme was all about reducing food waste; I couldn’t think of a better event to attend than the Miami Pulses Event. Pulses are not only one of the most sustainable, healthy foods out there, but the fact that their cooking liquid can be utilized just as well makes pulses a zero-waste food superstar.
Thank you to the US and Canada Pulse Council for hosting such a wonderful event and inviting me to join in!