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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Apple Spice Hummus

It's the Year of Pulses

Posted by Jenna Smith - Food Safety

The 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. What in the world are pulses you ask? Pulses are a subgroup of legumes; legumes refer to the whole fruit enclosed in the pod of the plant, but pulses refer to only the edible seeds within the pods. Common pulses include chickpeas, lentils, black-eyed peas and kidney beans.

The benefits of pulses are widespread. Researchers have reported that regular consumption of pulses may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. They're rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, such as iron and potassium. In addition, their sustainability contributes to food security all around the world. They're drought-resistant making them suitable for farmers, particularly in third world countries who have dry environments and problems with malnutrition. They can be stored for long periods of time minimizing waste, and these protein-packed plants are economical, costing far less than the protein of animal foods.

To eliminate mushiness and to spread your money farther, use dried beans instead of canned. Lentils and dry peas don't require overnight soaking, but for the rest of the pulses, follow the directions on the package. If choosing dried kidney beans, be sure to read my Killer Kidney Beans? blog to prepare them correctly! Use pulses in a side dish or as the main meal. Substitute half or all of the meat in burgers or meatballs with dry beans or lentils. Hummus is an easy go-to side dish made with chickpeas and served with sliced veggies or pita bread. Lentil soup is perfect for a fall or winter night, but you can also try pureeing cooked beans, peas or lentils and stirring them into soups. Cut down your food costs and health disease risks by getting pumped full of pulses!


Apple Spice Hummus (Printable PDF)

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 medium apples, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup creamy peanut butter

2 to 3 Tablespoons water

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Place all ingredients in a food processor bowl. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Serve with apple slices, carrot slices, or whole wheat crackers.

Yield: 28 servings (2 Tablespoons each)

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 80 calories, 3 grams fat, 140 milligrams sodium, 10 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams protein

Source: NDSU Extension Service

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