Book Review: Pulse: Truly Modern Recipes for Beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils to Tempt Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians Alike

Pulse: Truly Modern Recipes for Beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils to Tempt Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians Alike by Jenny Chandler is a collection of bean recipes and tips for using beans. Chandler is a professional chef and teacher. She was educated at Leith’s School of Food and Wine and has traveled extensively in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. She has lived in Spain, Italy, and France. Her cooking school is The Plum Cooking Company in Clifton, England. 

Pulses, a term I was unfamiliar with, are legumes and are introduced as more than a vegetarian option to protein. They are a source of fiber and complex carbohydrates that will compliment anyone’s diet. Beans are naturally low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. Pulse also tackles the the problem, which results in many jokes about beans: gas. Preparation and gradually adding bean to your diet are key. Chandler goes over the advantage and disadvantages of everything the reader will need to know about beans: Soaking, canned, dried, sprouted, cooking methods, storage, complementing proteins. Once the reader has a complete overview, Chandler goes into the recipes.

Recipes show the influence of Chandler’s travels from simple Middle Eastern hummus, Southwestern (U.S.) Black Beans and Chipotle Dip, Chickpea bread, and soups of all varieties. Vegans and vegetarians will have very little problem making substitutions in nearly all the recipes although some recipes are meat-centric. There is an entire section on vegetarian main dishes. The book ends with section on making basics like bread crumbs, perfect poached eggs, using chilies and preparations that some may not be familiar with. There is also a comprehensive index of bean types, where they are from and 

Chandler writes a very good cookbook on on a simple but very practical food item that many people overlook. The variety of cultural influences and menus make the bean anything but boring. This will be a cookbook I will be using as part of my strict vegetarian diet. An excellent and healthy cookbook for everyone regardless of their diet.

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