Canadian pulses—dry beans, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas—are stepping into the spotlight in 2016 as the world celebrates International Year of Pulses (IYP). Chef Michael Smith is the first Canadian to pledge to eat more pulses in 2016.
“Many Canadians are familiar with lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans, even if they don’t know the term pulses, which are edible seeds of plants in the legume family,” says Chef Michael, Canada’s International Year of Pulses (IYP) Ambassador. “Canada can be proud of the pulses we grow here. They are nutritional superstars, affordable and easy to prepare, and they are sustainably grown, meaning they are good for the planet, too.” Chef Michael resides in Prince Edward Island. He's Canada's best-selling cookbook author, a professional chef and an innkeeper.
In conjunction with the kick-off of IYP, a Pulse Pledge campaign was launched, aiming to get North Americans eating more homegrown pulses. The Pulse Pledge is a 10-week commitment to eat pulses each week, and over 17,000 people have already signed up.
“I took the Pulse Pledge because it is an easy way to boost nutrition in almost any meal from tacos to burgers to desserts. And, my family loves them,” says Chef Michael.
Canadians can take the Pulse Pledge at pulsepledge.com and share their ideas on how they eat pulses through social media (hashtags #pulsepledge and #lovepulses).
“We’re asking Canadians to make a commitment to eating pulses more frequently because just a half-cup can make a big difference,” explains Smith.
Pulses are a low-fat source of protein, fibre and many vitamins and minerals. They support a healthy diet and can even help in the management of diet-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
In celebration of IYP, Chef Michael Smith created a new signature dish, the Pulse Taco featuring green lentils and chickpeas. “My Pulse Tacos are packed with fibre, protein, nutrients, and flavour. They’re a great way for your family to join families around the world in a global celebration of flavour and nutrition!”
Canadians can also help the environment and contribute to the future of sustainable food production simply by eating pulses – they’re a low carbon, water-efficient source of protein that enriches the soil where they are grown.
Pulses are a remarkable Canadian success story. Canada’s pulse industry, which only began to see significant growth beginning in the 1970’s, is now contributing over $3 billion to Canada’s economy. Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils and a major supplier of pulses to over 150 countries around the world. Canada’s biggest export markets are India, China and Turkey. Pulses are Canada’s fifth largest crop, after wheat, canola, corn and barley.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP) to celebrate pulses’ contribution to health, nutrition and environmental sustainability and to demonstrate the contribution pulses can make toward global food security and helping the UN implement its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to eliminate global poverty and hunger.
How to Take the Pulse Pledge
Visit www.pulsepledge.com and sign up for the pledge.
Watch for helpful weekly emails full of tips and recipes ideas.
Eat ½ cup of lentils, peas, chickpeas, or beans a week for 10 weeks.
Share your experience on social media using the hashtags #pulsepledge and/or #lovepulses.
Chef Michael Smith’s Pulse Tacos
The year 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations to celebrate one of the world’s most important foods: the edible seeds of the legume family. Beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are packed with fibre, protein, nutrients, and flavour. Their nutritional intensity, inexpensive accessibility, and ease of cooking have made them indispensible staples to cooks all over the globe.
Wherever we live we all do our best to make healthy choices at home but it’s a lot easier when those choices are delicious. These meatless tacos are stuffed with so much sunny southwestern flavour that no one will notice anything missing. What a great way for your family to join families around the world in a global celebration of flavour and nutrition!
Makes 12 tacos, Serves 4 to 6
For the pulse filling
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of canola oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon (18 mL) of chili powder
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of ground cumin
1 cup (250 mL) of green lentils
A 19-ounce (540 mL) can of your favourite beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups (500 mL) of water
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of your favourite hot sauce
For the taco toppings
A head of Bibb or iceberg lettuce
12 hard taco shells
A few handfuls of grated cheddar or taco blend cheese
Your favourite salsa
A large bunch of fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
Make the lentil bean filling. Splash the canola oil into a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté until the vegetables soften and the spice flavours brighten, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the lentils, beans, water, and salt. Bring the works to a slow, steady simmer. Cover tightly and continue slowly cooking until the lentils are tender, 35 minutes or so. Stir in the hot sauce.
Assemble the tacos. Fit a full leaf of lettuce into a hard taco shell. This will hold the fillings in when the hard shell inevitably breaks. Fill each taco with a heaping spoonful of the lentil bean filling. Pack with cheese, salsa, and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges and share!This article was submitted by Saskatchewan Pulse Growers