Let’s take the pulse on pulses. I’m talking dried legumes that grow inside pods, be it beans, peas or lentils.
So much value in every bite. Full of protein. Packed with fibre. What kitchen can survive without these yummy little packages?
Open my pantry and you’ll find shelf upon shelf of peas – like chickpeas, green peas and black-eyed peas.
Then there are beans. Kidney-shaped in black, red and white. Black ones, often called turtle and fermented into a salty Chinese condiment. Italian variations like cannellini (white kidney) beans or ceci (chickpeas) beans, borlotti, butterbeans, lupini beans and fava.
We haven’t even mentioned lentils! Small red ones (also called Egyptian) are one of the quickest you can cook, while green and brown lentils take a few more minutes. But those French babies dubbed Le Puy are my favourite.
Indian cuisine revels in pulses and you’ll find the largest selection with the most confusing appellations in ethnic food aisles and Indian grocery stores.
Many turn to canned beans instead of dried, for convenience sake. I like to soak and cook pulses in bulk. Once they’re tender, drained and cooled, I freeze and label in two cup containers.
No matter which pulse moves you the most, your health (and the earth) will thank you if you eat them regularly.
White Bean and Rosemary Dip
This easy dip needs a food processor to become sublime. Yes, you can hand-mash canned beans into a delicious affair but I like to use cooked dried beans, which provide more flavour and texture but call out for strong maceration. Do NOT use a blender. Dried beans you hydrate and cook yourself are not only cheaper than canned, but contain zero sodium compared to the oodles found in canned.
1 garlic clove
2 cups cooked white beans such as kidney, navy or cannelinni
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (aprox 5-inch sprig)
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tbsp water * optional
Freshly ground black pepper
With the food processor blade running, drop garlic clove down the tube to mince. Add beans, lemon juice, rosemary and paprika and mix until well combined. Pour oil through feeding tube while the blade is running. Add water, if needed, to make the puree the right consistency. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve in a bowl, garnished with a whole sprig of rosemary, a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of Vancouver Island flaky salt.