Pulses a great source of protein for vegetarians
Published 28/07/2015 | 00:00
Protein is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails, and an important building block of bones, cartilage, and muscles. It can help you feel full and satisfied, for longer.
Food sources include; meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, yoghurt, bee pollen, and spirulina. However, if you're vegetarian you may not be getting enough protein. Pulses, lentils, and legumes are another source of protein that you could use.
But, when I mention pulses and lentils people often tell me that they haven't a clue what to do with them. I know what they mean, I have looked at many a bag of them over the years sitting in my cupboard wondering what I could do with them, and I hadn't a clue!
Eventually I found some simple ways to include them in my diet. At first, I wanted to be all pure and get the dried ones, and not use tins. But, I quickly realised that tins were handier, in my kitchen more dried pulse went out of date than what I used, simply because I would forget to soak them overnight. So, I gave in, and now I mostly use tins.
It's far easier to open a tin of chick peas and add them to a curry. You can add a tin of cannellini beans, haricot beans, or chick peas to any soup. A tin of mixed beans, with chopped peppers and a delicious dressing makes a great addition to any salad.
Haricot beans are basically baked beans without the sauce. Red lentil soup, or split pea soup are two of my favourites, and are so easy to make. I do use the dry lentils for these soups. You can make falafels or lentil burgers at a moment's notice.
However, if unlike me, you would prefer to use the dried pulses. You will have to rinse them well. Soak them overnight, and cook them for 1 and a half to 2 hours depending on the one you choose. Red Kidney beans need to be hard boiled for at least 10 minutes before cooking.
Whichever way you choose to use them, don't be afraid of them. You can dress them up whatever way you want, and you will have found a simple way of getting some extra protein into your diet.