2016 – International Year of Pulses

Do you know that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses? Yes, they even have their own year.

Pulses are a category of legume and include dried beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils.1 Pulses make an excellent vegetarian protein, and are also a good source of fibre and iron. This meat alternative is also inexpensive, which is good news as the cost of food has been expected to rise up to 4% in 2016.2 Due to their lower water footprint than other foods, pulses are not only a more economical choice, but a more environmentally-friendly option.3 Many types of pulses are also grown in Canada. Canada represents 35% of the world trade of pulses.4

It’s easy to add more pulses to your diet. Try adding lentils or chickpeas to soups, stews or salads. Chickpeas can be roasted with a little oil and seasoning for a nice crunch. Try this easy Lentil lemon vegetable soup recipe, featuring local potatoes and carrots.



  • 1 cup (250 mL) green lentils
  • 3 small onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 ½ cups (625 mL) vegetable or chicken broth
  • ¼- ½ (60-125 mL) cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on desired lemon flavour)
  • ½ (2 mL) tsp rosemary
  • ½ (2 mL) tsp thyme
  • 3 (750 mL) cups fresh spinach, or 1 package of frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) of freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cover lentils in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for ten minutes.
  2. While lentils are cooking, chop onions, potatoes and carrots.
  3. Once lentils are starting to get soft, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan. Cook onions and garlic.
  5. To onion and garlic, add broth, lentils and all other ingredients except the lemon juice.
  6. Allow soup to cook for approximately 45 minutes, until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add more broth throughout cooking if needed.
  7. Finish soup by adding in lemon juice.

Recipe adapted from: www.pulsecanada.com/food-health/recipes/recipes?mode=details&recipe=10

1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2015). What are pulses? www.fao.org/pulses-2016/news/news-detail/en/c/337107/

2 The Food Institute of the University of Guelph. (2015). The Food Price Report 2016. https://www.uoguelph.ca/foodinstitute/system/files/Food%20Price%20Report%202016%20English.pdf

3 FAO. (2015). The food wastage foot print of pulses. www.fao.org/pulses-2016/news/news-detail/en/c/357534/

4 Pulse Canada. (2015). Pulse Industry. www.pulsecanada.com/pulse-industry