Did you know the UN declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses? It’s true! For those who don’t know what a pulse is, a pulse is also known as grain legumes, and are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are high in protein, fibre, and various vitamins, provide amino acids, and are hearty crops. They are most popular in developing countries, but are increasingly becoming recognized as an excellent part of a healthy diet throughout the world.
Pulse crops are one of the most sustainable crops a farmer can grow. It takes just 43 gallons of water to produce one pound of pulses, compared with 216 for soybeans and 368 for peanuts. They also contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen in the soil.
Beans have always been a staple in our diet, but lentils only entered about 15 years ago when I started experimenting more. And now I can’t stop! Search the website to see some of the ways I’ve used lentils in my cooking (ie: smoothies)!
Here’s a quick and easy broccoli lentil salad that pairs nicely with any grilled meat and is the perfect potluck or picnic side.
- 1 cup green lentils cooked & cooled
- 2 cups broccoli
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1 pkg craisins (or raisins)
- ⅓ cup peeled and chopped carrots
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- red wine vinegar
- Place cooled lentils in a bowl. Set aside.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in broccoli. Turn down heat to medium (a simmer) and cook broccoli 2-3 minutes until blanched. Drain well and chop fine. Add to lentils.
- Into lentil bowl toss in red onion, carrots and craisins. Mix until combined.