Lentil, Pea and Sweet Potato Curry

Food blogger, Taryn Littleton, created this delicious curry for us.

We love the legume and sweet potato combo – both are sources of low glycemic index carbohydrates, rich in slowly digested starch and fibre, helping to control blood sugar levels.

Also, eating dry beans, peas and lentils at least 4 times a week can help prevent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and overweight, as well as improving gut health.

 

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (crushed)
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 5 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup reduced fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

METHOD 

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic, carrot, ginger, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the potato and lentils and stir to coat with the spice mixture.
  3. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, garam masala, salt and sugar, bring to the boil and cover with a lid.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the curry simmers, cook the rice.
  6. Add the peas to the curry and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and lemon juice.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Tomato and onion salsa: Combine 2 tomatoes chopped and ½ onion finely chopped. Season, mix and enjoy served with your curry.

Serve on a bed of rice with a dollop of plain yoghurt and with a tomato and onion salsa.

VARIATIONS

  • Replace the coriander with fresh mint. Serve with naan bread instead of rice.
  • For more nutrients add in a cup of frozen veg.

NUTRITION INFORMATION per serving (excludes serving suggestions, recipe serves 6)

Energy: 1316 kJ Protein: 10.6 g Carbohydrate: 52.0 g Of which, total sugars: 9.4 g Fat: 8.2 g Fibre: 10.0 g Sodium: 302 mg

Source and image: Taryn Littleton for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa


Why dietitians want you to love your beans!

In celebration of National Nutrition Week: ‘Love your beans – eat dry beans, peas and lentils’ (9 to 15 October), we chatted to a few dietitians to find out why these foods, also known as pulses, should form an essential part of our diet.

To find out more about why beans are good for health, how to cook them, how to prepare them, snack ideas and great recipes, join the #LovePulses Twitter Talk on Wednesday, 12 October at 1pm (SA time) – follow our @ADSA_RD Twitter handle or the hashtag #LovePulses.

Why pulses?

  • “Pulses are very economical in this tough economic time. Add pulses to meat dishes like mince and stews to bulk up your dish and make it go further”, says Registered Dietitian and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokesperson, Monique Piderit.
  • Beans, peas and lentils add a great variety to meal preparation, are affordable and good for our earth. – Nazeeia Sayed, RD (SA)
  • Pulses are a good, inexpensive source of protein. – Kelly Schreuder, RD (SA)
  • Pulses help to keep your blood sugar steady (making them a great option for diabetics) and lower your cholesterol. – Zelda Ackerman, RD (SA)
  • Pulses are high in soluble and insoluble fibre, aiding good digestion and keeping you regular. – Mpho Tshukudu, RD (SA)
  • Beans, peas and lentils are low in sodium, and provide important minerals like potassium and calcium, which can improve blood pressure. – Jessica Byrne, RD (SA)
  • Pulses are a good source of plant-based iron and have a low glycemic index, keeping you fuller for longer. – Cath Day, RD (SA)

Cooking tips for pulses

  • Tinned chickpeas, beans and lentils are just as nutritious as the dried versions. Stock up on tinned pulses for quick emergency meals, e.g. chickpeas and tuna, mince with tinned lentils or add tinned beans to your favourite salad. – Monique Piderit, RD (SA)
  • Soak in the morning (ahead of cooking in the evening) using boiling water or use canned varieties to cut down on cooking time. – Nazeeia Sayed, RD (SA)
  • Add salt at the end of the cooking process. Adding it at the begin increases cooking time and hardens the skins. – Mpho Tshukudu, RD (SA)
  • Soaking and rinsing dry beans before cooking, as well as rinsing canned beans in water, can help to reduce hard to digest carbohydrates, which could cause flatulence in some individuals. – Jessica Byrne, RD (SA)
  • Rinse tinned legumes well before serving, as this increases your tummy’s tolerance to beans, lentils and chickpeas. – Cath Day, RD (SA)

Great, easy snack ideas for pulses

  • Drain a tin of chickpeas and place in a roasting pan drizzle with olive oil, cumin, paprika and black pepper. Roast for around 40 minutes for a quick and easy roasted chickpea snack. Store in an airtight container for a quick snack on the go. – Monique Piderit, RD (SA)
  • Pulses can be used to make tasty dips, e.g. pureed chickpea and butternut, or white bean dip (flavoured with a little vegetable oil, garlic, lemon juice, sprinkling of salt and herbs).  Dips can be enjoyed with veggie sticks or crackers. – Nazeeia Sayed, RD (SA)
  • Or keep it even simpler and just mash or blend pulses with garlic, herbs and spices for a delicious, healthy spread or dip. – Kelly Schreuder, RD (SA)
  • Lentils are quick and easy to cook together with your brown rice, pearled barley or crushed wheat. – Zelda Ackerman, RD (SA)

“Pulses should be a regular part of a family’s healthy eating plan and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Aim to include them in your diet at least four times a week,” says ADSA spokesperson, Jessica Byrne.


Love your beans for good health

South Africa celebrates National Nutrition Week from 9 to 15 October, and aligning to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) which has declared that 2016 is the ‘International Year of Pulses’, this year’s campaign theme is ‘Love your beans – eat dry beans, peas and lentils!’ echoing the country’s food-based dietary guideline to ‘eat dry beans, split peas, lentils and soya regularly’.

“There’s a good reason to put dry beans, peas, lentils and soya into the spotlight. Unfortunately, they are largely overlooked as they are often seen as a ‘poor man’s food’ and they can take a long time to cook. We should be eating them, along with a variety of foods, at least four times a week; and yet, many of us hardly include them in our diets. There’s just not enough awareness of how they contribute to healthy lifestyles, or how to use them well to make delicious meals,” says Ms Lynn Moeng-Mahlangu, Cluster Manager of Health Promotion, Nutrition and Oral Health at the National Department of Health. “However, this National Nutrition Week, we hope to share tips and recipes to inspire South Africans to eat more beans, peas, lentils and soya. For information on these tips, access the National Nutrition Week website”.

National Nutrition Week is a joint initiative by the Department of Health, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), the Nutrition Society of South Africa (NSSA), the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) and the Consumer Education Project of Milk SA (CEP). “We are delighted that this year’s theme highlights these affordable, versatile and tasty foods that make such a vital contribution to our health when they are a regular part of the family’s healthy eating regime,” says ADSA President, Maryke Gallagher.

So much nutrition advice is centred on what we need to eat less of, but when it comes to pulses – your dry beans, peas and lentils – the message is about eating more!

Carol Browne from the NSSA highlights some benefits of pulses. “Beans, peas and lentils also provide exceptional nutritional value for money, having a high micronutrient to price ratio. What’s more, they improve soil fertility, are water efficient and have a smaller carbon footprint, promoting environmental sustainability.”

The top nutritional benefits of eating dry beans, peas, lentils and soya are that:

  • They are low in fat, high in fibre and have a low glycaemic index
  • They are naturally cholesterol-free
  • They are naturally gluten-free
  • They are a good source of plant protein, providing twice as much protein as wheat
  • They are good sources of vitamins such as folate and minerals such as potassium and calcium

According to Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA, “Including dry beans, peas, lentils and soya regularly in your diet, along with other health promoting behaviours, contributes to better health, helping to improve blood pressure and the maintenance of a healthy weight, reducing the risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes.”

When it comes to cooking, pulses are wonderfully versatile and can be incorporated into the diet in many ways. “Pulses are excellent when used as the main ingredient in a vegetarian meal,” Linda Drummond from the CGCSA points out, “Or they can be used as an affordable way to extend meat in something like a meat stew or a bolognaise sauce. Cook up a large batch, portion and freeze to use to make a quick meal like soup or a bean salad.” As part of National Nutrition Week activities, a host of recipes celebrating beans, peas and lentils in tasty dishes are available on the National Nutrition Week website.

“Some people experience bloating and gas as a result of eating beans, but we would like to highlight steps that can be taken to prevent this from being a reason why many don’t include these nutritious foods in their eating plans”, says Maretha Vermaak from the CEP of Milk SA. Vermaak advises people to start with small amounts to build up one’s tolerance over time and to soak dry beans before cooking.

On Wednesday, the 12th of October, ADSA (@ADSA_RD) will be hosting a Twitter Talk from 13h00 to 14h00 where dietitians and National Nutrition Week partners will be answering questions such as: Why are beans, peas and lentils good for health? How do we avoid getting bloated and windy after eating beans? What is the best way to prepare dry beans for cooking? How do I introduce more dry beans, lentils and peas into my children’s diet? What are some ways we can use beans, peas and lentils in meals and snacks? Join the conversation live on Twitter, follow the @ADSA_RD handle or track the hashtag #LovePulses to get great ideas and tips that will help you and your family to love dry beans, peas and lentils. The Department of Health in the various provinces will also celebrate National Nutrition Week during the month of October.

For more information on National Nutrition Week 2016, please visit the website: http://www.nutritionweek.co.za/