People you follow a healthy, vegetarian, or vegan lifestyle are constantly increasing. The need of these people who mainly want to cook nutrient-rich and tasty recipes in their everyday lives and which are, at the same time, easy and quick (meaning that their preparation does not take much time), has led to many innovations. I personally find it very impressive and I am glad to constantly discover new ingredients that I can cook in many different ways.
Pulses have been in our diet for hundreds of years. They are considered a vegetarian treasure that everyone should include in their diets on a weekly basis and in fact, more than once a week. Firstly, they are part of the Mediterranean diet and they are a complete food; they contain carbs, they are rich in protein, and low in fats. They are high in fiber and as a result, they boost good gut health and they make us feel full for longer. However, apart from the fiber and protein that pulses contain, they also have a low glycemic index, and they practically help in keeping the blood sugar levels stable. This is something that mainly concerns overweight and obese people since it helps them avoid mindless snacking and stops them from consuming extra calories.
Something else that I consider important to know about pulses is that their protein quality is increased when they are combined with cereals. For this reason, I always like cooking them in combination with rice, wheat, quinoa, or bulgur. You should also know that they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They contain thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E and K; elements that boost the body’s normal function and health. You see, I don’t call them a vegetarian treasure by chance! In fact, studies show that the consumption of pulses reduces the probability of developing several chronic diseases.
But, have you ever thought of all the different ways that you can cook them or do you simply use the traditional way of a soup? A trend that I often come across in cooking is the creation of many recipes with ingredients like pulse flours, pulse pasta, but also pulse burgers like falafels. I also observe that even simple pulse salads -which are not of course something new- have become a trend! Have you ever tried anything of the above or you’ve been waiting for the recipes that I prepared for you?
For those of you who love pasta but also want to eat complete meals that are lower in carbs and higher in protein, pulse pasta is a choice that you could add to your diet.
Have you ever tried using pulse flour in your recipes? I found for you a recipe for an omelet made from chickpea flour that you can make and enjoy even if you are vegans!
Falafels look a lot like our classic burger patties! It is one more way for you to reduce meat consumption and top up pulse consumption; especially for those of you who are meat lovers.
No! Do not just make the traditional Horiatiki salad or variations of the famous Caesar salad. Pulse salads are here to stay.
Think about it! The choices are numerous, and the above combinations are something very different for sure; I think it is worth adding them to your diet! Simply try them and I’ll be waiting for your comments!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.