Diners at three Lethbridge restaurants recently had a taste of locally grown dry beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils as part of the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission’s Savouring Pulses meal campaign.
Bonnie Greenshields, owner of the Round Street Café, responded to an invitation from the Pulse Growers’ nutrition consultant Wendy Benson. “We often are looking for new recipes and menu ideas,” said Greenshields. “We have presented our famous black bean soup weekly and it is a favourite.”
Greenshields also uses green and red lentils a couple of times a year, but hasn’t yet used chickpeas. She said no customers have mentioned the pulse menu items that include a hummus and veggie wrap, “but everybody says they really enjoy them,” she said.
Michelle Sereda, owner of Michelle’s Memorable Meals, used a special message board to tell customers about the pulse program, and focused on black, navy, pinto and great northern beans. She also used green and yellow split peas. She provided two menu items daily and had desserts daily, which all included beans. “That took my staff a little to get used to,” Sereda said.
“I plan to incorporate some of the pulse food items on my menu from time to time,” she said.
Al Scherer, an owner of the Guesthouse Restaurant, said he challenged chef James Fraser to develop a pulse salad, and he responded with his Mexican bean salad, including a little taco sauce for zip. Scherer used a recipe he liked from a customer from Colombia, and renamed it Southern Alberta Bean Ragout.
Scherer said both dishes will become a main feature on the Guesthouse buffet, which accounts for about half the restaurant sales. Fraser and Scherer said they had no problem acquiring the pulse crops locally for their dishes.
“Wehavepresented ourfamousblackbean soupweeklyanditisa favourite.”