World Pulses Day

Let’s try some recipes with peas, beans, and lentils.

Pulses are edible dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. They come under the legume family, so pulses include lentils, chickpeas as well as split peas and beans like kidney bean, butterbeans and adzuki beans to name but a few

As a food they are nutritious, plant based and inexpensive. Pulses are rich source of important micronutrients, like potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and zinc. These are important nutrients for the gluten free diet.

Most legumes contain phytochemicals: which have important metabolic roles in humans who frequently consume legumes. Dietary intake of phytochemicals may protect against coronary heart disease, inflammation, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Pulses are a great way to reduce your meat intake without cutting out meat altogether, for example make Bolognaise, chilli con carne or cottage pie by replacing a third of the mincemeat in the recipe with one third red lentils, these lentils do not need soaking and cook quickly.

 Gluten free Cottage pie

Makes 6 portions

Prep time 20 minutes, cooking time 1h


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 550g of beef mince
  • 180g of red lentils
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped/ grated (I use young carrots and just wash them, skin on gives more fibre)
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 600ml beef stock (fresh or made from a gluten free powder or cube)
  • teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme

Mashed potato topping

  • 1.2kg rooster potatoes, peeled and chopped (sometimes I use half regular potato and half sweet potato)
  • 135 ml milk
  • a knob of butter (10g)
  • 100g cheddar, grated(optional)
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Tip: make the base of the cottage pie ahead of time, put it into an oven proof dish and as it cools a film form on top this makes it easier to put the mash on without it sinking into the base.


  1. Heat the oil in a large non- stick saucepan, add the onions celery and carrots cook for 10 minutes, add the lentils and cook for 5 mins more
  2. Put into a bowl and keep aside.
  3. Dry fry the mince, stirring until it is browned, add back in the veggies and lentils.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for 5 mins, add the gluten free flour, and cook for a further 5 mins. Pour in the stock and thyme stir until the sauce thickens.
  5. Spoon this into an oven dish big enough to allow space on top for the mashed potato.

To cook the mash:

  1. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Drain them well and put them onto a very low heat for 3 minutes to dry.
  2. Heat the milk and butter in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Add this to the potatoes and mash well.
  3. If using cheese add half now and keep half for the top.
  4. Grate in fresh nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  5. Using a large spoon gently place the mash onto the pie base and spread out with a fork
  6. If you made the base in advance and it Is cold, put into a preheated oven at 180°c for 45 minutes.
  7. If the base is hot when you add the mash it can be put into a hotter oven 200°c for 20 minutes to brown the potato.

Bean and spinach burgers, served with homemade wedges

Makes 4

Prep time 15 minutes: cooking time 20 mins


100g of frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed to remove all the water

3 scallions chopped finely

400g tin of mixed beans, rinsed and drained well

100g of grated mozzarella and cheddar (available as a grated mix in most supermarkets)

50g unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

5tablespoons of fine polenta

½ tsp of smoked paprika

Small pinch of chilli flakes(optional)

Salt and black pepper

1 large egg white

To serve you will need 4 gluten free burger buns, sliced tomato, baby gem lettuce (or any filling of your choice)

For the wedges

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped to a paste.


  1. Mix the spinach and beans in a bowl and mash until the beans are formed to a rough paste. Add the cheese, scallions, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the polenta, spices, half a teaspoon of salt, pepper, and the egg white. Form into four burgers. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or can refrigerate overnight)
  2. Put the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic and paprika in a bowl and toss to coat the wedges. Preheat a baking sheet with the remaining oil.
  3. To cook the wedges:
  4. Arrange the wedges on the preheated tray and bake at 180°c until browned ,20 mins.
  5. To cook the burgers:
  6. Heat the remainder of the oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  7. Put the remainder of the fine polenta onto a plate and press each burger onto the polenta and repeat on both sides. Fry the burgers on both sides until browned.
  8. Transfer the burgers onto a non -stick oven tray and finish in the oven at 180°c for 10 mins
  9. To serve warm the gluten free burger buns, and fill with the burger and your favourite accompaniments.

Summer beans

When the weather gets better and we are looking a more salads and lighter food options this salad is a delicious and versatile way to include pulses in your diet.

This salad works well to serve with meat, fish or poultry. I sometimes serve grilled slices of aubergine, rubbed with olive oil and garlic, and cooked on a griddle pan, or barbeque or simply add tinned tuna.

Pulses are an all-year great food from warm winter soups and casseroles to light summer salads.

Using drained tinned mixed beans or chickpeas, add diced peppers, red onion, sweetcorn, avocado, spring onions roasted sweet potato or whatever vegetables you like and add the following dressing.

Dressing for bean salad

 80ml olive oil

 40ml lemon juice

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt and peppers

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a jar put on the lid and shake well

 Another great option is to roast drained cooked chickpeas, coat them with a little olive oil, add Cajun spices and roast in a hot oven (190°c) for 7 minutes and allow to go cold. Toss them through washed baby spinach leaves and rocket with strips of mixed peppers ,julienne of raw carrot for a delicious salad