Today, we’re talking about pulses–dry beans and peas, lentils and chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. I know. I know. This is the show you’ve all been waiting for. Right? Right! Pulses are versatile and yes, they can also be pretty exotic. They’re nutritious and KIDS LOVE THEM. At least that’s been my experience and the experience of my guest, cookbook author and mom, Jenny Chandler.
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Jenny Chandler is a mom, a cooking instructor, author of four cookbooks including The Better Bean Cook Book and Great Food for Kids, and my go-to expert on pulses. In 2016, she served as the International Year of Pulses Special Ambassador for Europe, which may sound fancy, but Jenny is one of the most down-to-earth chefs I’ve ever met. She’s from the UK, and we became fast friends last year when we met at a nutrition conference in Vienna. She was there to talk about, you guessed it, pulses.
On the show, we offer a primer on cooking with pulses, explain why they’re sustainable and nutritious, and we share two recipes from Great Food for Kids for Super-Speedy Bean and Tuna Salad and Indian Lentil and Tomato Dal. Jenny also talks about getting your kids into the kitchen to cook with you and ultimately, on their own.
“Teaching children to cook is really going to transform their future.” – Jenny Chandler
(Giveaway has ended} I’m giving away a copy of Great Food for Kids: Delicious Recipes & Fabulous Facts to Turn you Into a Kitchen Whizz.
This book is ideal for kids ages 7 to 13, and it encourages them to cook dinner for their families. While the book includes some sweet treats, most of the recipes are savory. And the step-by-step photos of kids cooking (including Jenny’s daughter, Imi), make the recipes easy for children to follow. And wait until you see Jenny’s mini tutorial on how to hold a chef knife!
To enter to win a copy, post a comment at the end of this post telling me about your family’s favorite pulse recipe and/or your best tip for getting your kids excited about cooking. Or tell me why you’d love to win this book. (U.S. entries only, please). Giveaway ends December 13th at noon Eastern, and I’ll pick the winner at random.
PS: The UK version of Jenny’s book is: Cool Kids Cook.
- 1¼ cups red lentils
- 2½ cups water
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1¼ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as sunflower or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup coconut milk
- For the Tarka Topping:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds or cumin seeds and a pich of red pepper flakes
- A handful of chopped cilantro or mint leaves
- Soak the lentils in the measured water while you prepare the onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Add the vegetable oil to a large saucepan, place it over medium heat, then add the onions and sauté gently until they soften. Next, add the garlic and ginger and stir over the heat until the smell wafts up at you. Sprinkle in the turmeric and take the pan off the heat.
- Now, carefully add the tomatoes, coconut milk and the lentils with their water.
- Put the pan back on the heat and simmer, or bubble, slowly, for about 20 minutes until the lentils have collapsed and you have a creamy mixture.
- Taste the dal and add salt to balance the flavors.
- To make the topping, take a small pan and warm the oil over medium heat, then add the seeds and fry for about a minute until they begin to pop.
- Spoon the oil and seeds onto the dal. Stir and serve with a good sprinkling of chopped cilantro or mint.
- All about Jenny and her role with the International Year of Pulses.
- The best dishes for dried beans versus canned beans.
- Tips and tricks for avoiding any gastrointestinal distress (AKA wind).
- Digging into Jenny’s cookbooks, including Great Food For Kids.
- Tips for inviting kids into the kitchen, and why that’s a good idea.
- Jenny’s daughter, Imi’s, favorite dishes to cook and to eat.
- The other kids besides Imi who were involved in the production of Jenny’s book.
- Super-Speedy Bean and Tuna Salad proves you can eat healthy from a can.
- Jenny shares ways to encourage your hesitant eater to become more adventurous and how Imi was ‘weaned on dal.’
- What makes something a pulse?
- The nutritional and sustainability benefits of pulses.
- Family food versus kid food.
- Why we both love cooking with huge handfuls of herbs.
- Jenny’s cookbook recommendations and chef crushes.
My email: [email protected]
I’m able to bring this podcast to all of you thanks to my sponsors: Zespri Kiwifruit and Bush’s Beans.
Have a question about the show or a suggestion for a future show? Ask away by posting a comment below or joining my Podcast Posse.
Brooke Lipe says
Thank you so much for such great tips and recipes! As a dietitian I would like to say my little eats great but truth is it’s a REAL struggle I’m encouraged to get her into the kitchen and I think this would be perfect! My newest plan is to have her cook with me and let her pretend she’s doing a cooking video for you tube! Sometimes you just have to go with what they know’
I love your cooking video idea. I hope you’ll tape your daughter in action and show her the videos as you go! And just think of the great footage you’ll have to look back on!
Lona Smith says
I love cooking with lentils and would love to win this recipe book of Jenny’s for my one and only granddaughter!
My favorite pulse recipe is 3 ingredient chili: black beans, sweet corn, and a can of tomatoes (with spices).
So easy. Love it!
I received dried cranberry beans from my CSA farm box. I’ve been cooking and using them like pinto beans, mostly for Mexican dishes. I’m not a vegetarian, but try to limit my family’s consumption of meat. This cookbook would really help.
This cookbook is terrific. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway!
The pulse recipe my Junior High students LOVE is Black Bean and Corn Dip. I’d share the cookbook with my 100+ students (each semester) and turn them on to even more healthy and delicious recipes!
My oldest daughter, who just turned 12, has been a vegetarian for the past 3 years. Because of her, we eat a lot more beans and lentils than we used to. I love lentil soup! We eat a lot of Mexican food where we use beans as the protein. This may be TMI, but pulses used to give me really bad gas, but that has improved lately. I could not be happier!
Isn’t it so that if You throw away the bean soaking water and wash them before cooking, they cause no gases? I have not had gas problem, having done so. 🙂
If you’re soaking your beans (vs. buying canned), draining and rinsing the water every few hours should help w/ the gas!
I love making a slow cooker of black beans. It makes so much so I use them one night In enchiladas and another night on top of a salad or purée them into a soup with a jar of salsa (plus some water).
My favorite is “arroz con gandules” (rice with pigeon peas – a traditional dish in Puerto Rico). My grandmother makes the best one!
Suzanne Haiker says
Can’t wait to try these recipes, looking for more non meat dishes
eleni giannopoulos says
I cook a variety of dishes with pulses, our favorite being bean soup, however I have a very picky grandson that will not even glance at a pulse!!! The cookbook would be a great incentive I believe to encourage him to taste his own cooking.
Jerilynn Fri says
My kids have always had a strong passion for helping – particularly in the kitchen. They both get upset if they can’t help, so one of the ways we get lots of family time is through making meals. I have no idea how this passion was instilled, but I do love the bonding.
Great episode! Can’t wait to try out the recipes. Our fave pulse recipe is chili. It’s easy and warms us up on these cold winter days!
Our favorite pulse recipe is quite honestly hummus. We also like lentil soup and black beans in our tacos. I’d love to get some more ideas for using pulses in our dinners.
My favorite pulse recipe is black bean brownies! Took them to work and no one knew they were healthy. Until they were gone and I admitted the secret ingredient!
I have been trying to get my little ones to help more with meals and to enjoy more beans, I love this and look forward to trying these recipes. Thank you!
Lentil sloppy joes are a fav in my house!
Tracy Kelliher says
I do not have this book yet. I would certainly LOVE to win a copy to introduce a better variety of foods for our four kids (ages 9, 7, 5 and 5). I am specifically looking for those with dry bean ingredients or other vegetables we can all grow together as our garden projects.
I love to make lentil soup! I would love to win a copy of this cookbook.
Easy, yummy, slightly spicy and sweet at the same time, hearty and filling!!! It’s the bomb!! Got 4 thumbs up from my crew, even my more finicky 10 thyroids old. Double the recipe for sure!! https://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/armenian-lentil-soup-with-eggplant-and-apricots/
Looks like an interesting recipe with apricots and eggplant. Heading over now to check it out!
Mandy Enright says
That dal photo really is quite terrific! One of the things my Mexican hubby introduced me to was the wonders of dried beans, which I’d never had or made before I met him. Now I prefer to make a batch of dried beans/pulses whenever I can – but I also can can with canned beans as well when time isn’t in my favor.
I’m a canned bean fan myself, but making them from scratch is great too. A win win!!
Lori S says
My kids eat pulses best when they are mixed into soups.
Natalie Lyman says
I have 4 boys, 2 of which are super picky eaters. My goal is to get them more involved in the menu planning and cooking process so they’ll feel ownership over the family food. This book would be a great way to get them interested.
My grandchildren cook with me and love eating what they make! My grAnddaughter is 6 & even wants to create her own!
Shannon Helfert says
I loved your podcast and I’m so excited to try out the recipes you’ve posted on pulses. I am a RD and mom of 3 teens, one that is vegan so I’m constantly looking for recipes that will satisfy her choices and meet the nutrient needs of growing teens. Our favorite pulse recipe is lentil soup from the Joy of Cooking that is easy to throw together, takes about 45 total minutes to prepare and cook and devoured by everyone in the family. I love the idea of getting kids more involved and could not agree more with Jennie’s concepts!
Thanks so much for your podcast!
Hi Shannon: Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Pulse story! I’ll have to check out that recipe from Joy. And be sure to give Jenny’s recipe for dal a try. I loved it 🙂
Enjoyed this episode and would love to have a copy of her book. My 8 year old likes to pretend our dinner adventures are like episodes of Chopped. He judges my meals through Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down. I would love to have more Thumbs Up recipes!
I love getting my kids involved in the kitchen, but need to do more of it. Cooking is such an important life skill. Thank you for the podcast and giveaway!
Our go-to pulse recipe is Lentil Chili from Mollie Katzen’s “Still Life With Menu.” It’s a bit too spicy for kids, so would love to expand the repertoire and get my kids eating lentils and other pulses. The cookbook looks great!