Snacks & Treats

6 Ways To Sneak Lentils And Beans Into Everyday Recipes

Feb 18, 2016

The World Health Organization has declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulse—and for good reason: pulses (the edible seed of a legume, including lentils, chickpeas, green peas, kidney and black beans) are incredibly good for us. They're high in fibre and protein and low in fat and calories.

Pulses also cheap, accessible and versatile—the ultimate convenience food—and one of the most inexpensive sources of protein.

Whether canned or dried, pulses of all kinds are easy to cook with. They get along well with any number of other ingredients—they’re as fitting in a bowl of sausage and kale soup as in a spicy curry or a cheesy, gooey baked dip.

And because pulses are starchy and substantial but also very mild in flavour, they’re also ideal for boosting fibre, protein and other nutrients in snacks and baked goods (and no one will know they’re there).

Canned white kidney or navy beans make a perfectly smooth puree to add to white bread and pizza dough. Black beans are naturally disguised in a brownie. Cooked red lentils cleverly disguise themselves as oats in cookies, muffins, scones, loaves and other delicious things. All these pulese help make for tasty nibbles with added nutrients that provide an energy boost, keeping you and your family fuller, longer.

Try cooking or baking with beans or lentils with one of these six simple recipes. 

1. Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips And Red Lentils

Red lentils and bananas play well together in this rich, moist banana bread. Add chocolate chips for extra sweetness! Recipe >

Banana bread with chocolate chips and red lentils.

2. Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

These one-bowl chocolatey brownies don’t have any flour at all. Their structure comes from pureed black beans. Recipe >

Black bean brownies

3. White Bean Waffles

Talk about power waffles! See if your family can guess what the secret ingredient is...Recipe >

Waffles with maple syrup and jam.

4. Oatmeal Scones With Red Lentils

Lentils give these delicious oat scones a fibre boost. Recipe >

Cooked lentils in a strainer

5. White Bean Pizza Dough

This pizza dough remains smooth-textured and chewy—no one will know it has been boosted by beans! Recipe >

6. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Red Lentils

Lentils cleverly disguise themselves as oats in these delicious cookies. No one will guess they’re in there, bumping up protein and fibre. Honest. Recipe >

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies With Red Lentils

Article Author Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie Van Rosendaal

Read more from Julie here.

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks (with a seventh due out this fall), the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. She is a recipe developer, TV personality, food stylist and writes about food for local, national and international publications. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie, where she documents real life at home in Calgary with her husband and nine-year-old son. Connect on twitter @dinnerwithjulie.


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