Today, we’re talking about pulses, because…. it’s the YEAR of the pulses!
OK, so what are pulses?
To be exact, a pulse is the dry, edible seed of a legume. What’s a legume? A legume is a plant that bears its fruits in pods. Legumes are vegetarian-friendly and are an excellent source of protein, are low in fat and are high in nutrients, making them ideal for those of you watching your waistline, or simply, for those of who are always trying to squeeze in healthy foods.
I eat pulses on the reg, as in nearly every day. Here’s a list of pulses:
- Split green peas (dry)
- Whole green peas (dry varieties – NOT fresh green peas like snap or snow peas)
- Split yellow peas (dry)
- Whole yellow peas (dry)
- IQF chickpeas
- Dry chickpeas
- Raw Chickpea flour
- Dry red beans
- Dry pinto beans
- Dry black beans
- Dry white beans
- IQF* green lentils
- IQF* pardina lentils
- Red Lentil pasta
- Dry red lentils
- Dry green lentils
*IQF means individually quick frozen, sold at many grocery stores in the freezer section, for examples, click here. The appeal of IQF is you don’t get the added sodium of canned products but don’t have to rehydrate them yourself!
In general, pulses are a category of superfoods that includes chickpeas, lentils, dry peas, and bean varieties. This type of food is extremely sustainable, so the more pulses you eat, the more you can pat yourself on the back for helping the environment!
I love tossing beans into salads for a quick protein source, and as of late, I’ve really been into lentils. A few of you have said that you’ve been nervous to cook lentils because you’re afraid you’ll “mess it up” and they’ll become mushy. You know what? I kinda like mushy lentils! They’re soft and bolognese-like. But, if you’re nervous – just keep taste testing until you think they’re right.
Remember, everything should be cooked to your preference. After all, you’re not cooking for a restaurant – it’s for yourself, so if you like ’em mushy, have ’em mushy!
With today’s dish, we’re infusing our pulses (green lentils) with curry flavors, thanks to garam masala, turmeric and curry powder. This lentil curry is placed over sweet butternut squash noodles and topped with crunchy toasted pepitas.
This spiralized dish is packed with nutrients, protein and comes together quickly. It can also be saved for leftovers. What are you waiting for? Eat some pulses with me!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the USA Pulses and Pulse Canada joining forces to promote pulses in conjunction with the U.N.’s declaration that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses, but all thoughts and opinions are my own, always. Join me to discover all the amazing reasons why pulses have been selected for this honor (take the Pulse Pledge!). #PulsePledge
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers SmartPoints*: 5 points
*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers SmartPoints calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.
Spiralized Butternut Squash with Curried Lentils and Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 medium-large butternut squash peeled, Blade C, noodles trimmed
- 1/2 cup dry green lentils rinsed
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 small teaspoon red curry paste
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out the butternut squash noodles on the sheet and set aside.
- Place the lentils in a medium pot and add in 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked but not mushy, adding water as needed to keep the lentils moist.
- While lentils cook, place a small skillet over medium-high heat and once heated, add in the pumpkin seeds. Let seeds cook until golden brown and toasted. Set aside in a small bowl.
- When lentils are just about done, transfer the butternut squash noodles to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked to your preference.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat with the oil and once oil heats, add in the onion, garlic and ginger and let cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the curry paste and swirl until onions are covered in the paste. Add the tomato sauce, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, and stir until combined. Add in the lentils and let cook for 5 more minutes to strengthen the flavors.
- Remove the butternut squash noodles from the oven, divide into bowls and divide the lentil mixture over the bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds.