By Registered dietitian Andrea Kroeker

I really like pulses, such as chickpeas, beans and lentils. They are an underrated food. In fact, if I could advertise the best foods out there, this would be one of them.

1.       Pulses are Healthy

Pulses are rich in soluble fibre, which helps balance blood cholesterol levels and blood sugars, and they don’t need to taste bland to be healthy.

2.       Pulses are Inexpensive

Pulses are also inexpensive and serve as a good meat alternative, because they are high in protein and they won’t add unwanted saturated fat.

This salad is a great option for dinner or lunches and can be prepared ahead of time in big batches. And, since the vegetables are cooked, it can also be stored in the freezer.


Pulse + Barley Salad


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cups pearl barley

4 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth (good alternatives: homemade stock or reduced sodium chicken broth)

1 medium zucchini, chopped

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

19 fl.oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

19 fl.oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt and pepper, optional (skip the salt to reduce your sodium intake)

1/4 tsp or 10 sprigs dill, dried or chopped

(Optional) feta cheese (rinse feta to remove excess brine and salt), lemon, thyme or fresh parsley


Over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add barley and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in soup stock and bring to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat. Let simmer for 30 – 35 minutes or until barley has soaked up most of the liquid.

Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Serve with optional sprinkling of feta, lemon, thyme or fresh parsley on top. This dish is also delicious cold! For more pulse recipes, visit Pulse Canada’s website at


Find out about booking an Ask A Dietitian group appointment with one of our registered dietitians or speak to your doctor about accessing a one-on-one appointment with a registered dietitian in our network.