Adding pulses can make summer meals more enjoyable

Pre-cook the lentils and chop the vegetable ahead of time to help make these Asian lentil lettuce wraps a quickly prepared light lunch.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Chickpeas, lentils, dry peas and beans, collectively known as pulses, are low in fat and an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

With the pandemic isolation, many people stocked their pantries with nonperishable foods, including pulses.

Using these pulses in summer meals is a good way to up the nutrient content, add variety to the diet and clean out the pantry.

The Pulse Canada website has a wonderful selection of interesting recipes and ideas for adding pulses to the diet.

The following recipes have been adapted from

Asian Lentil Lettuce Wraps

Pre-cook the lentils and chop the vegetables ahead of time for a quickly prepared light lunch.

  • 1 c. lentils, red, picked over and rinsed 250 mL
  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil 22 mL
  • 1 c. red bell pepper, chopped 250 mL
  • 3/4 c. yellow onion,finely chopped 175 mL
  • 1 c. carrot, matchsticks 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. hoisin sauce, or more to taste 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce, or more to taste 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar 22 mL
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil 5 mL
  • 1 c. asparagus, sliced, optional 250 mL
  • 8 oz. can water chestnuts,drained and chopped 227 mL
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. green onions, chopped 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped, optional 30 mL
  • sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
  • 1 head iceberg or butterhead lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed and dried

Sort lentils, rinse well and combine with water in a medium saucepan, place over medium high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and sauté until softened, about five to six minutes.

Add carrots, garlic and ginger and sauté one minute longer.

Add drained lentils, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, asparagus and water chestnuts, cook while tossing, one minute (thin as needed with a few tablespoons of water. The lentils will absorb some of the sauce as the mixtures rests.

Toss in walnuts, sprinkle with green onions, cilantro and optional sesame seeds. Serve filling warm in lettuce leaves. Serves four.

Roasted Chickpea Snack Mix

This is a healthy snack for teens and adults. Young children should not be given this snack because the small pieces could be a choking hazard. Yields: three cups (750 mL).

  • 14 oz. can chickpeas, low-sodium; rinsed and drained 398 mL
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted or canola oil 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika, optional 0.5 mL
  • 1/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. raw almonds or pecan halves 60 mL
  • 1/3 c. dried cherries or craisins 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips, (use dairy free to make vegan) 60 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Lay chickpeas on a double layer of paper towels and dry them as much as possible, changing out the towels as needed. Remove any skins that come off. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place in centre of oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove chickpeas from oven and drizzle with coconut oil and maple syrup. Sprinkle on cinnamon, salt, and smoked paprika. Toss to coat evenly, return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and toss chickpeas. Add pumpkin seeds and almonds and spread into a single layer. Continue baking until the nuts are toasty and the chickpeas are brown and crisp, about eight to 10 additional minutes. Place pan on a rack and cool completely.

Stir in dried cherries or craisins and dark chocolate chips.

Divide into desired portions and store for later or munch immediately.

Cherry Almond Red Lentil Granola Bars

A good energy snack. Yield: 36 bars.

  • 1 c. dried red lentils 250 mL
  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • 1 c. oat flour, gluten-free if needed 250 mL
  • 1 c. rolled oats, gluten-free, if needed 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted almonds, chopped 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries or craisins, chopped 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. ground flax 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. coconut, flaked, unsweetened 60 mL
  • 2/3 c. almond butter 150 mL
  • 1/2 c. applesauce, unsweetened 125 mL
  • 1/2 – 2/3 c. maple syrup, use more for a sweeter bar 125 – 150 mL
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste 15 mL
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c chocolate chips, optional 125 – 175 mL

Combine red lentils and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Most of the liquid should be absorbed, but drain off any extra water.

Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray.

While the lentils cook, add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to a large bowl.

Add cooked lentils and stir to combine.

Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake 25-35 minutes or until the centre is firm to touch and edges are lightly browned.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top return to oven for one to two minutes, or until chocolate chips are soft enough to spread.

Remove pan from oven, then with a knife spread the chocolate chips over top. Cool, then cut into bars.

Chill to firm chocolate, then wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or foil. Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Crispy Split Pea Avocado Toast

Adding crispy split green peas to the mashed avocado adds some crunch to the soft avocado texture. Servings: 2 servings.

  • 1/2 c. green split peas 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. olive oil 10 mL
  • 2 slices bread, whole wheat; gluten-free, if desired
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice 5 mL
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes 0.5 mL

Sort split peas and rinse, place in a medium bowl, cover with water and soak for at least two hours.

Heat a small skillet with the oil over medium high heat.

Drain the split peas and add them to the pan, sauté until crispy, about three to five minutes.

While split peas are cooking, toast the bread and scoop out the avocado. Mash avocado in a small bowl and stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Stir half of split peas into avocado mixture. Spread mixture on toast and top with remaining split peas and garnish with red pepper flakes.<

Greek Chickpea Salad

  • 2 c. chickpeas, cooked or use canned 500 mL
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 c. red onion, thinly diced 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. kalamata olives, diced 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, drained if in oil, and diced 60 mL
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, diced 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped 75 mL
  • 6 c. arugula or spring greens for serving 1.5 L
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese 125 mL

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano, dried 2 mL

Sort one cup dry chickpeas to remove pebbles or damaged chickpeas.

Cover with water and soak for four to 24 hours. Drain, place in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until tender, but not falling apart. Remove from heat, drain, add to salad bowl.

While chickpeas are cooking, dice cucumber, onion, olives, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes and chop parsley, put in salad bowl.

Combine dressing ingredients.

Toss chickpeas with vegetables, add dressing, toss and refrigerate 10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld before serving.

Serve over fresh arugula or spring greens and garnish with feta cheese.< Serves four to six.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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