The Main Menu: Be your own ‘Flavour King or Queen’ with nutritious pulse recipes

Lentils form the basis of recipes for salad and a soup/stew in this edition of The Main Menu.


Pulse is a gem of a restaurant at 821 Gerrard St. E. (just east of Carlaw Avenue on the south side). As the name suggests, the restaurant features pulses (dried beans such as a lentil, split pea, chick peas—a source of protein, vitamin A and B and minerals, calcium and phosphorous) on the menu.

The restaurant is the brain-child of chef and owner Kyle Fisher who I think of as the flavour king. Each one of his dishes is bursting with taste.

It is difficult to try new dishes simply because the originals are so delicious. I want more! Like the Fattoush salad or the cauliflower or apple and lentil salad or…You get the idea!

Everything sampled is a treat. Kyle’s ingenious use of candied lemon rind and pickled onions to enhance dishes are two examples of lip-smacking ingenuity. Kyle began cooking at an early age. As a teen, his interest led him to a co-operative learning opportunity in high school and then he graduated to an apprenticeship at one of Toronto’s best restaurants, Pangea.

Later, he worked as a sous chef in Georgian Bay until he got his red seal and opened his own business. Say no more — Kyle’s passion for quality is reflected in Pulse’s innovative menu which you can try from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and on Saturday for brunch as well.

However, it is a “gem,” a small star, with limited seating. Call 416- 624-1453 for reservations.

Be your own “Flavour King or Queen” and experiment with these recipes featuring the nutritious pulse.

Lentil Salad

Serve this salad as part of an antipasto accompanied by an assortment of olives, mild cheese such as bocconcini or sliced mozzarella and fresh sliced tomatoes with basil.

For convenience you can use 1 can (19 oz/ 540 mL) rinsed and drained lentils, or cook 1 cup (250 mL) dried lentils well covered in water for 20-25 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain and cool.

1 cup (250 mL) green lentils, well rinsed
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced fennel or celery
1/2 cup (125 mL) red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp (14 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) white or red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils, fennel, red onion and parsley. Set aside. In a small jar combine oil, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.

Serve at room temperature with suggested accompaniments. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL) or 4 servings.

Lentil Vegetable Soup – Stew

This hearty mixture is a cross between soup and stew.

Again, you can use canned pulses (lentils, chick peas) for convenience.

2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 cups (500 mL) cremini or white mushrooms
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 L chicken stock (additional water if necessary)
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried green lentils
1/2 cup (125 mL) barley
1 bayleaf
1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) curry powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh chopped Italian parsley

In large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat oil to hot; stir in onions, garlic, mushrooms sliced, carrots and celery. Cover. Cook stirring occasionally to prevent burning and cook until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in chicken stock, lentils, barley, bay leaf, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook about 30 – 35 minutes or until barley and pulses are tender. Stir in parsley.

Serve hot with sour cream or yogurt. Makes 4 cups (1 L) Serves 4.

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