A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend Pulse Feast, the Canadian launch party for the International Year of Pulses. Confession: When I received my invitation for the event, I had no clue what the hell pulses were. In all honesty, in my quick scan of the invite, in the midst of the busy holiday season, I somehow got the impression that pulses had something to do with food trends. Though pulses aren't a word to describe food trends as a whole, they are actually a food trend for 2016 in itself. In fact, the United Nations declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses! So what the heck are pulses? 'Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Pulses grow in pods and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours." Some pulses that you may be familiar with, and may already be apart of your diet are dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils, as well as six other less popular varieties that I haven't mentioned.
Though pulses may be considered a major food trend for 2016, the host of Canada's Pulse Feast, Chef Michael Smith, disputes that pulses aren't a trend at all, they're here to stay! Thanks to their versatility, sustainability, affordability, and vast health benefits, Chef Michael Smith believes that pulses will soon become apart of Canadians everyday diet. As a way of inspiring North Americans to eat more pulses the Pulse Pledge campaign was launched in conjunction with the International Year of Pulses kickoff. The Pulse Pledge is a 10-week campaign that encourages North Americans to commit to eating pulses at least once a week, each week for the 10-week period. The goal is that the healthy habit of eating pulses on a regular basis will continue past the designated 10-weeks.
After taking my own Pulse Pledge at the Pulse Feast, I was inspired to make a hearty pulse-packed chilli that would allow me to get my pulse intake throughout the week as I continued to eat leftovers. I love this chilli recipe because it's super easy, is big on flavour, is incredibly satisfying, and will provide leftovers for the rest of the week. Though I like to simmer my chilli on the stove for at least an hour to let all of the flavours develop, this dish can easily be rushed and be on the table in less than an hour when short on time, sacrificing the flavour only minutely. Though canned pulses aren't the ideal thanks to their added sodium content, I often cook with canned beans and chickpeas because they're so incredibly convenient. Because this recipe is all about ease, I chose to use a canned bean and chickpea medley for my chilli. When purchasing canned pulses I try and look for ones that have reduced sodium or are from a brands healthy line (for instance President's Choice Blue Menu). To ensure that I can control the amount of sodium going into my chilli, I also make sure to rinse my canned beans and chickpeas very well and strain before adding them in.
Give my Pulse-Packed Chilli a try this week and let me know how you enjoyed it on Twitter: @thisgingerrose. Also, be sure to take the Pulse Pledge yourself and commit yourself to eating pulses every single week for the next 10-weeks!
* Please adjust the spices based on your own heat tolerance. I can handle a lot of heat and usually use this as my base and add more heat if needed, though this may be quite spicy for some.
** If you're in a hurry, you can simmer the chilli for as little as 30-minutes, though some flavour may be sacrificed.
about 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
4 stalks of celery, peeled, small dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar (680mL) strained tomatoes (no salt-added)
1 can (540mL) six-bean medley, well rinsed (I like President's Choice Blue Menu)
2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes*
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced + 2 Tbsp. adobo sauce*
1 Tbsp. chilli powder*
cheddar cheese, grated, for garnish (optional)
fresh cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)
sour cream, for garnish (optional)
salt, to taste
- In a a large pot set to medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and celery and sweat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30-seconds).
- Add ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.
- Add strained tomatoes, bean medley, red pepper flakes, chipotle, adobo sauce, and chilli powder. and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour in order to impart the most flavour**. Taste and season as needed with salt and additional chilli powder. Serve immediately garnished with cheese, cilantro, and sour cream, or continue simmering on stove for up to 3-hours until ready to serve. Chilli may be kept in fridge for 3-4 days or up to 6-months in the freezer.