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2016 is the International Year of Pulses!

Sue Lucia Chef Michael Smith Pulse Feast sign

You know the food is going to be WOW when Chef Michael Smith is at the party! From Chickpea Stuffed Crepes to Seared Scallops with Red Lentil Risotto, we were delighted to celebrate International Year of Pulses with the celebrity chef, foodies and farmers.

Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, and include dried beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils. The United Nations has declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses (IYP). As Ambassador for Canada’s IYP, Smith praises pules for their nutrition, versatility, sustainability and affordability. And did we mention that they taste great?!

chick pea crepe lentil scallop
[Left: Indian chickpea stuffed crepe with curry chicken salad, golden raisins and cashews
Right: Pan seared scallops with red lentil risotto, smoked bacon and salsa verde]

Take the Pulse Pledge and commit to eating pulses at least once a week for 10 weeks. Here’s a fantastic recipe to get you started!

PULSE TACOS (courtesy of Chef Michael Smith, 2015)
These meatless tacos are stuffed with so much sunny southwestern flavour that no one will notice anything missing.
Makes 12 tacos, Serves 4 to 6
Pulse Tacos snagit

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!

Fascinating food fact: There are 22,000 pulse farmers in Canada, primarily in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba. Our country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of peas and lentils.