Celebrating a Healthy Global Food Trend

By Jen Gilbert

I like to find any reason to celebrate. Whether itâ€TMs a birthday, an anniversary, a half-birthday, a half-anniversary, or a national day of you name it - Iâ€TMm celebrating it. When the United Nations declared last year (2016) as the International Year of Pulses I put on my party hat!

You might ask, what are pulses? Pulses are peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. They are healthy, versatile, easy on the wallet, and friendly to our environment. Pulses are simple to prepare, fun to substitute into your favorite recipes, and one of the most cost-effective sources of proteins around. Pulse crops are also great for the environment as they are natural fertilizers, leave a low carbon footprint, and require little to no irrigation.

Is there a health benefit to pulses? YES! The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods. Pulses are nutrient-rich foods; high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are also gluten-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. Pulses can be purchased dry, canned, fresh, or frozen. Regardless of your preference, they are easy to find and are part of Tennesseeâ€TMs “farm fresh local crops.”

How can you become a pulser? Pulses are available during all seasons due to their long shelf life and are commonly found at your local farmers market. While pulses are tasty on their own, in soups, stews, pastas, and tacos, they are also a perfect substitute for some common ingredients.

For example, hummus can be made from chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Swapping out the mayonnaise on your sandwich with hummus increases the nutritional value and delivers a lower fat/lower calorie option your heart and waistline will appreciate. The next time you are preparing lasagna or chili, swap out lentils for half of the meat; itâ€TMs a tasty, budget friendly trade. One of my new finds is to use a white bean puree in baking; exchanging half of the butter or oil with a pulse of white bean puree. Get creative, enjoy, and donâ€TMt forget to pulse and do the swap!

Jennifer Gilbert is from Orlando, Florida. She received her undergraduate degree in Dietetics from Florida State University and is currently an intern at the Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt. As a future Registered Dietitian, Jen hopes to begin a career combining her love of good food, wholesome nutrition, and overall wellness.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars Servings: 9

½ cup red lentils
½ cup all-natural peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (+ 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top)

1. In a small saucepan, combine lentils and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until lentils are soft. 2. Transfer lentils to a food processor. Add a few tablespoons of water, then process until lentils are a smooth puree. Set aside in bowl. 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. 4. Place oats in food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in baking soda and salt. 5. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Add in lentil puree. Mix until well combined. 6. Fold in oat mixture then gently fold in mini chocolate chips. 7. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top. 8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool brownies completely and then cut into 16 squares.

Per Serving Nutrient Analysis: per one bar Calories: 147
Sodium: 86 milligrams
Fat: 7 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Fiber: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 18 grams

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/11/peanut-butter-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-lentil-blondies-vegan-gluten-free-healthy/ http://gentleworld.org/cooking-guide-for-beans/

Homemade Hummus
Servings: 26
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup water
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions for Cooking Chickpeas
1. Soak 1 cup of beans in 4-5 cups of water overnight before cooking. 2. Rinse with fresh water before cooking. 3. To cook: bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup soaked beans. Simmer for 2-3 hours. *1 cup dry beans yields approximately 2 ½ cups cooked beans Instructions for Hummus
1. Place beans and garlic in food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped. Add ½ cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

Per Serving Nutrient Analysis
Calories: 44
Sodium: 74 milligrams
Fat: 2.5 grams
Protein: 1.5 grams
Fiber: 0.9 gram
Carbohydrates: 4.4 grams
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/traditional-hummus http://www.teacher-chef.com/2013/04/14/hummus/ http://gentleworld.org/cooking-guide-for-beans/

No-Meat Black Bean Burger
Servings: 4

1 cup cooked black beans
½ green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces ½ onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
½ cup breadcrumbs
Instructions for Cooking Black Beans
1. Soak 1 cup of beans in 4-5 cups of water overnight before cooking. 2. Rinse with fresh water before cooking. 3. To cook: bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup soaked beans beans. Simmer for 60-90 minutes. *1 cup dry beans yields approximately 2 ½ cups cooked beans

Instructions for Burger
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet 2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. 3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans. 4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, and cumin. 5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky

and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties. 6. Place patties on baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Per Serving Nutrient Analysis
Calories: 198
Sodium: 197 milligrams
Fat: 3 grams
Protein: 11 grams
Fiber: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/85452/homemade-black-bean-veggie-burgers/ http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/black-bean-burger/