ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen: Keeping the pulse on pulses

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Known more commonly as legumes, pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. These include peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Pulses are an economical source of protein, fibre, and other nutrients. Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy these tiny nutrition powerhouses.

Edamame, or green soybeans, can often be found in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. Shelled edamame can be easily added to recipes for a boost of colour and nutrition, like in our Orzo and Edamame Salad. This salad can be whipped up quickly for an easy lunch or side dish.

Lentils stand in for ground beef in our Penne with Lentil Sauce. Canned lentils make this recipe a breeze to make, combined with onions, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, and canned tomatoes in a simple, flavourful sauce.

Our Artichoke and Chickpea Ragout is a simple recipe featuring canned artichoke hearts, chicken broth, chickpeas, and diced tomatoes, cooked with freshly chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and parsley. Served over hot cooked quinoa or rice, this is an easy yet hearty meal.

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Last but not least, our Spice Roasted Chickpeas are a crunchy, healthy snack. Try experimenting with different spice combinations to suit your taste.

Orzo and Edamame Salad

1/2 cup (125 mL) orzo

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) frozen shelled edamame

2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon peel

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

2 tbsp (25 mL) oil

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cook edamame in boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer orzo and edamame to a bowl; cool completely. Meanwhile, to prepare dressing, whisk together lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic and salt until combined. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Add dressing to orzo mixture and toss to combine. Yield: Serves 3 to 4.

Penne with Lentil Sauce

2  tbsp (25 mL)  olive oil

1  cup (250 mL)  finely chopped onion

1  cup (250 mL)  finely chopped celery

1/2 cup (125 mL)  finely chopped carrot

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2  tsp (10 mL)  cumin

1 can (28  oz / 796 mL)  diced tomatoes

1 can (19  oz / 540 mL)  lentils, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup (125 mL)  water

1  tbsp (15 mL)  tomato paste

1/4 tsp (1 mL)  salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL)  freshly ground pepper

3 cups (750 mL)  penne pasta,  cooked and drained

1 cup (250 mL)  shredded feta cheese

To prepare lentil sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin; saute for 1 minute. Add next 6 ingredients (tomatoes through pepper). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Toss lentil sauce with hot cooked penne. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: Serves 4.

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ARTICHOKE AND CHICKPEA RAGOUT

2 tbsp canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Hot cooked quinoa or rice

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cans (14 oz/398 mL each) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

2 cans (10 oz/284 mL each) vegetable or chicken broth

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp sage, crumbled

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in artichoke hearts, broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, tomato paste, sage and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender and liquid is slightly thickened. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over hot cooked quinoa or rice.

Yield: Serves 6

SPICE ROASTED CHICKPEAS

2 tsp canola oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp salt

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine oil, red pepper flakes, cumin and salt in a bowl. Add chickpeas and toss until coated. Spread chickpea mixture in a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are crunchy, about 45 to 50 minutes; cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Yield: Makes about 1 ½ cups

ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen’s column on healthy eating for busy families runs Wednesdays in the Calgary Herald’s food section. For tips on cooking, food safety or household matters, email bfkanswerline@atco.com or visit us at ATCOBlueFlameKitchen.com.

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