I’ve been reading lately, more often than not, articles on 2016 being the international year of pulses. That means that we are all called to cook, eat, and share dishes where the main ingredients are the so-called pulses: lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas. I couldn’t be any happier. Most of my years have been the year of pulses, my diet being mostly focused on leguminous and vegetables. I love them, and eat them constantly (even when I don’t share my dishes with you).
In Italy we have quite a few soups/pasta staples that have been my favorite since childhood: Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas, but it’s more of a creamy soup than an actual pasta dish), Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta with Beans, again, more of a soup than a pasta), Riso e Lenticchie (Rice and Lentils) just to mention some. I’ve had them repetedly through all my life. Plus, Minestrone, where you have your pulses with the vegetables and the pasta. Amazing.
The dish I am presenting you today, is based on a recipe found on a cookbook we bought during our wine tour in B.C. last summer, “Spilling the Beans”, an excellent cookbook full of fantastic recipes using beans and grains from appetizer to dessert, sure to please everybody.
This recipe is a comforting, creamy, cheesy, delicious Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin.
A filling, nourishing, yummy gratin; layers of healthy and colorful vegetables, pulses and cheese: sweet potatoes cut in rounds, canned (or cooked) white beans and sautéed swiss chard. To hold every flavor together a bechamel and a generous sprinkle of your favorite cheese: Gouda, Gruyère, Cheddar, Edam, Asiago, you name it, then baked to a bubbly cheesiness.
You’ll want to dig in this delicious gratin as soon as it comes out of the oven, but I suggest you wait a little so not to burn your tongue and palate, like I did.
You can eat it as a side dish, but I can guarantee you, it is great on its own as the main star of the show. We had a big piece, and a second helping, for dinner. So tasteful!
If pulses are not a regular part of your diet, try to dedicate one day a week to a recipe based on lentils, beans, chickpeas or peas. There are so many good dishes that you can make. Your body will be pleased and your family will be surprised at how tasty they can be.
Song of the day: George Ezra “Blame it on Me”.
Recipe for this Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin, adapted from the cookbook “Spilling the Beans” by Julie Van Rosendaal and her long-time friend Sue Duncan.
Ricetta in italiano:
Here are some more ideas on how to incorporate pulses in your favorite food.
From the same cookbook “Spilling the beans” Loreto made these gorgeous, healthy: Whole wheat White bean Pancakes
I hid the pulses in this: Black bean Cake with Strawberry Compote
We enjoyed a super flavorful: Curried Lentil Cashew Burger
And loved a nutritious and delicious: Whole wheat Cous Cous with Roasted Vegetables, Feta and Chickpeas
Enjoy your pulses!