Pulses are rich in minerals, vitamins, protein and so much more goodness, and they count as 1 of your 5-a-day! You can buy them dried and soak and cook them yourself, or make it even simpler and buy them canned and ready to eat. You can drain, rinse and add a tin of beans or lentils to so many dishes - try adding them for the last few mins of cooking to a one-pot dinner like chilli, stews, casseroles or curries (chickpeas work great in the last one), heating some low sugar and salt baked beans to go on wholegrain toast or a baked potato (or sweet potato for another of your 5-a-day), or even adding them cold to a salad or as a side (hot or cold) with some fresh or dried herbs and a squeeze of lemon. If buying canned, these versatile veg are all ready to store for months, even years (just go by the use by date on them)! Once opened, keep any leftover pulses in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days. If using dried pulses, it's best to check instructions on the packet or online as they vary, but most will require overnight soaking in water (add a pinch of bicarb to beans to help soften) and then anywhere between 45 mins and 2 hours of cooking time. You can then freeze the cooked pulses for up to 6 months though, so you can make a big batch and keep them handy.
At Its Best: January - December