The Roundup -

2016 International Year of Pulses


Celebrate 2016 as the International Year of Pulses! Pulse crops, that is, and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate because Montana and North Dakota are the two leading states for pulse crop production, such as dry peas and lentils. Montana and North Dakota are responsible for 80% of all dry pea and lentil production.

Pulse crops are good for the farmer because they provide an income opportunity when the prices of grain crops are down, and pulse crops planted in rotation with other crops are shown to increase yields. Pulses are also great for breaking up disease cycles, and they put nitrates back into the soil, both of which save the producer money by cutting their input costs.

Pulses are good for the consumer because they are a high-fiber plant protein, that are quite filling and cost effective. As our society becomes more health conscious, and fractionation incorporates pulse crops into flour and cereals, the domestic market has begun to grow. As acreage increases, receiving and shipping facilities are established, such as the one opened by ITC International Inc. in Glendive, MT.

"We've been fortunate because pulse prices have remained strong," said Shannon Berndt, Executive Director of the Northern Pulse Growers Association. "But, increasing the domestic market has been a challenge because consumers don't always know what to do with them."

And what does one do with a can of chickpeas or bag of lentils? Those very questions are why the United Nations declared 2016 the Year of International Pulses. The Northern Pulse Growers Association which represents pulse growers in North Dakota and Montana, are focused on informing people about the benefits of pulses, their importance in the world-wide market, and how to cook with them. Pulses are great for crockpots, and can easily be incorporated in time-saving freezer meals. They are quick, convenient, and can easily become a go-to 30-minute meal after a busy day.

Formerly North Dakota Dry Pea & Lentil Association, Montana growers voted to join up with the neighboring state, establishing the Northern Pulse Growers Association in 2007. They work in cooperation with the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council on domestic and international marketing. In 2016, the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council joined Pulse Canada, with a North American branding campaign. International exports continue to be the largest market for pulse crops, however Berndt commented the industry would love to see that change.

For more information and delicious recipes, visit

Cinnamon Hazelnut Muffins


1/2 c & 2 T. sugar

½ c. butter

2 eggs

1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. lentil flour

1/4 c. chickpea flour

1/4 c. potato starch

1/4 c. tapioca flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. & 2 T. chopped hazelnuts


Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. Using a paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter on speed 8 for 30 seconds, scrape and mix for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl, add eggs and beat for 1 min on high speed. Scrape the bowl, add heavy cream and continue to mix for 1 minute on medium high speed. Add flour, baking powder salt and cinnamon, mix for 30 seconds, scrape and mix for 30 seconds. Fold in Hazelnuts. Scoop the dough into a muffin liner and fill it to the rim. Bake at 350 F for 22 minutes in convection oven.

Lentil Lasagna


1 c. lentils (dry)

2¼ c. water

1¼ tsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. salt

8 oz. lasagna noodles

1 c. onion, chopped

1 T. garlic, minced

2 T. olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

1/8 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dried basil leaves

1½ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan. In a medium saucepan, combine lentils, water, fennel seeds and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender and almost all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Mix lentils with tomato sauce, sugar and basil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions and garlic in 1 ½ Tbsp. oil until they are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn onions into a bowl and set aside. To skillet add remained oil  and zucchini and cook, stirring until zucchini are tender, about 8 minutes. Arrange half the noodles over bottom of baking pan. Arrange zucchini slices evenly over noodles, then spread half the lentils over the zucchini then half the cheese over the lentils. Top with remaining noodles, then with the onions and finally with remaining lentil mixture. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, or until heated through. Five minutes before lasagna is done, uncover it, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and continue baking, uncovered, until cheese melts.  Cut into eight pieces.


Makes eight servings (1/8 recipe). Each serving has 320 calories, 8 grams (g) fat, 18 g protein, 45 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 860 milligrams (mg) sodium, 87 micrograms folate and 3.8 mg iron.


1-15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or about 2 cups boiled

½ tsp. tahini

¼ c. fresh lemon juice

4 T. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

Crushed red pepper or cayenne for garnish


Puree chickpeas, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt in a food processor or blender, reserving a few whole chickpeas for garnish.  Add more lemon juice, if desired. Spread the puree in a flat serving dish using a spoon to smooth the top.  Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle on red pepper.  Arrange the reserved chickpeas in the center of the dish.

Serve this Eastern Mediterranean chickpea dip with triangles of pita bread or with celery, carrot and cucumber sticks.

**These recipes, along with many others can be found at


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