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Nourishing communities: How Made In Hackney uses pulses to fight food injustice

News | Published  20 May 2024

In the heart of Hackney, amidst the vibrant tapestry of cultures and communities, our plant-based charity doesn't just teach cooking classes; it empowers, educates, and nourishes, tackling food injustice and insecurity head-on. We spoke to Made in Hackney about how at the core of their mission lies a humble yet powerful ingredient: pulses.

Pulses, the edible seeds of legume plants, are a nutritional powerhouse cherished across diverse culinary traditions worldwide. From lentils to chickpeas, beans to peas, these tiny marvels are loaded with protein, fibre, and essential nutrients. At Made In Hackney, pulses aren't just ingredients in our kitchen; they're catalysts for change.

In a world where access to nutritious food isn't always equitable, we see our commitment to incorporating pulses into our recipes as a revolutionary act. These legumes form the backbone of our culinary curriculum, ensuring that every dish is not only delicious but also nutritionally balanced.

One of the key challenges when addressing food insecurity is catering to diverse cultural backgrounds. What might be a staple in one community could be unfamiliar in another. We endeavour to navigate this by embracing the versatility of pulses. Whether it's a fragrant dahl, a hearty alicha miser (Ethiopian lentil stew), or a zesty chickpea salad, pulses provide a common ground where everyone can come together, regardless of their cultural heritage.

Moreover, pulses are incredibly budget-friendly, making them accessible to all. In a modern world where fresh produce can sometimes be prohibitively expensive or tough to locate, pulses offer a sustainable solution, stretching limited resources without compromising on nutrition or flavour.

Our work extends beyond the kitchen. Through our cooking classes, we empower individuals with the knowledge and skills to make healthier choices, breaking down barriers to good nutrition. By teaching people how to cook delicious, plant-based meals centred around pulses, we foster self-sufficiency and resilience within communities all over the planet.


Food injustice is a multifaceted issue, deeply intertwined with social, economic, and environmental factors. We recognise this complexity and address it holistically. By promoting plant-based eating with pulses at its core, we not only improve individual health but also contribute to a more sustainable food system by educating, sharing recipes, and inspiring people to build cooking skills. One example of this can be seen in our Community Made program. These batch cooking sessions work to upskill individuals while producing hundreds of plant-based meals each week in support of our beneficiaries.

In a world where the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen, we see Made in Hackney as agents for change. Through the tireless efforts of our team, we demonstrate that food justice isn't just a lofty ideal but a tangible reality within reach.

You can explore the transformative power of pulses for yourself through the selection of our recipes below but before you start cooking, let us leave you with these words of wisdom from longtime Made In Hackney chef and teacher, Sareta Puri:

“Pulses are the perfect plant-based protein to incorporate into your diet as they are affordable, nutritious and - most importantly - delicious! Low in fat, high in protein and fibre, pulses can help protect against a range of conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes. From an Indian daal using lentils to a West African red red stew of black-eyed beans to classic baked beans on toast, there are pulse-featuring dishes to suit all cuisines, budgets, and tastes!”.  

You heard Sareta. Anything is pulse-able!

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