Beans, legumes, lentils, pulses – whatever you call them, they are incredibly healthy, with so many advantages and no nutritional downsides. They are high in protein and fiber, low in fat and on the glycemic index, high in B vitamins, folate, calcium, and potassium, and help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Dried beans, peas and lentils are some of the cheapest foods out there, and some of the most filling.
But pulses can also be intimidating, what with all the rinsing and soaking, long cooking times, and potential for coming out either too hard or too mushy or just bland and kind of gross. I’ve been put off myself for years from making bean and lentil dishes from scratch, but I’ve decided it’s time to conquer my beanphobia. It’s time to establish a steady collection of go-to recipes that will help to make cooking with pulses a regular and non-terrifying part of my life.
I’m calling the project “Steady Pulse: Bean & legume recipes you can count on,” and I’m inviting food bloggers everywhere to contribute their most time-tested bean/lentil/dried pea/etc. recipes – the ones that will make legume converts of us all. The project will be ongoing, but I’m hoping to gather an initial round-up of folks’ favorite recipes by November 15th. For more information on participating, please visit the Steady Pulse page.
To kick off the project and celebrate kicking my phobia, this week’s menu draws on my tiny personal collection of legume recipes, the ones I make again and again and love every time.
Home-cooked cranberry beans
Fennel-marinated tempeh (Moosewood at Home)
Green salad with tomato, cucumber, carrot, pine nuts, red cabbage
Home-fried potatoes with onion and tempeh
Home-cooked cranberry beans
Tangy red lentils
Quinoa pilaf with red and white quinoa
French lentil salad with cucumber, tomato, mint, and feta
Green salad with tomato and carrot
Chana masala from canned chick peas (Will try to get recipe up later this week)
GF fettuccine with vegan pesto, roasted yellow squash and red onions, and roma tomatoes
Salad of red-leaf lettuce, carrot, red onions, avocado, and beets
I also have the pleasure of hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week! My fellow gluten-free bloggers have planned out some amazing meals this week, so read on!
Kimberly at Gluten Free is Life has redesigned her blog since I last visited and it’s all shiny and gorgeous! (Sorry if that’s old news, Kimberly – my computer has been in the shop for several weeks!) She has no fear of pulses, adding chick peas and black beans and other legumes to her lunches and salads all the time. She has a great menu planned including a sweet potato with cinnamon and Greek yogurt that caught my eye (and made my mouth water), and there is definitely zucchini bread in her future (check out her post to see why and be astounded!!).
Sea at Book of Yum takes another of her drool-worthy weekly trips around the world with a menu inspired by India, Mexico, and the American South. She’s just found out her new baby may have a casein sensitivity, which is sad news, but at least baby’s momma is one of the best vegan-recipe creators on the web. Sea’s latest dairy-free creation is a dreamy dairy-free soy-free pine nut basil tomato cream sauce for ravioli. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness is a definite bean lover. She even uses beans in desserts and as a thickener for chocolate frosting (I want that recipe sometime, Cheryl!). She has a yummy, fresh-sounding summer menu planned and I basically want to eat everything on it. Chickpea crackers, roasted cauliflower, sauteed fennel, chestnut sauce – this week sounds like it’s going to be a flavor explosion of the very best kind!
For a whole host of other weekly menu plans, check out the mega-gigantic Menu Plan Monday compilation over at Org Junkie!