Break out your favorite chili and hummus recipes! The United Nations (UN) has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses thanks to their high nutritional content and low environmental impact.
Pulses: Commonly Known as Beans, Peas, Lentils & Chickpeas
Pulses are part of the legume family and come in a variety of shapes and colors and flavors, including:
- Red beans
- Black beans
- White beans
- Navy beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Green peas
- Kidney beans
- Butter beans
- Fava beans
- Split peas
- Pigeon peas
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Pulses?
Pulses offer inexpensive and valuable nutritional benefits, including:
- Fiber – pulses across the board offer more fiber per serving than popular cereal grains. Compare:
- 19.1g fiber in 1 serving of Navy beans
- 7.1g fiber in 1 serving of Bran Flakes
- Protein – many pulses contain twice as much protein as wheat, oats, and rice
- B vitamins – especially folate, thiamin, and niacin
- Minerals – especially iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc
- Low glycemic index – so they won’t spike your blood sugar
- Gluten-free – a filling and nutritious alternative to grain-based side dishes and treats. Their sweet starches are commonly used in Asian pastries, such as these adzuki bean cookies.
Good for the Environment Too?!
Another significant feature of pulses is their relatively low impact on the environment. The UN states that pulses have a lower carbon and water footprint than other crops. It takes 1/10th the amount of water to grow 1Kg of pulses compared to 1Kg of cooked beef.
Plus, pulses do not require refrigeration and only need minimal processing. They can even be stored (dried or canned) for months, even years, without spoiling or losing nutrients. Make sure to add them to any food storage you maintain.
Gluten-Free Baking with Pulses
That’s right, you can enjoy all your favorite baked foods gluten-free by replacing the flour with pulse flour. The Global Pulse Confederation has published this free guidebook to cooking with pulses. They offer recipes for everything from soup to pizza crust. Below we feature a crepe recipe made with garbanzo flour from this unique cookbook.