Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol. [1]

Peas beans lentils are Pulses, they are legumes. Humans have been farming peas, beans, lentils since soon after the start of agriculture.


Pulses are high in protein but most are best eaten with other proteins to complement them.

Per serving, they have twice as much protein as cereals (legume and cereal combinations, like beans and rice, complement one another to provide many essential amino acids). [2]
You don't have to eat pulses and grains during the same meal though there are many tasty meals and snacks that combine pulses and grains. You should eat other proteins on the same day you eat pulses and it may be best to eat them within a few hours. This applies especially to vegetarians and vegans.[3] [4]

Peas beans lentils are economical to buy, they give you protein without saturated fat and are a good idea if you like them. [5] Pulses can be added to soups, stews, casseroles with a small amount of meat, that way the dish becomes satisfying, the protein in the meat and the protein in the pulses complement each other so you get a nourishing, satisfying meal with only a little meat. I used to do that regularly before I became a complete vegetarian. If you want to limit the meat you eat for ethical reasons or for health reasons cooking a little meat with pulses is a good idea. Pulses are also very useful for vegetarians as they complement other proteins and can help supploy the protein in a vegetarian diet.

Cooking pulsesEdit

Dried pulses are best soaked for at least 9 hours or overnight though you can leave this out with split lentils. It is also good to rinse pulses thoroughly or change the water several times while they are soaking. With kidney beans changing the water is especially important. [6]

  • Legumes are good in casseroles, soups, stews, you can search for recipes that you like or develop your own.
  • Pureed beans, chickpeas, lentils can form the foundation for dips or spreads.
  • Cooked pulses can be added to salads. [7] Also some beans and lentils can be sprouted and the sprouts added to salads.

A good idea is to soak up and cook a large batch of pulses at one time, more than you need for the dish you're planning. You can add spices or whatever to give them your own individual theme. When the pulses have cooled down you can bag the remainder and put them into the freezer to use later. Frozen pulses are as convenient as tinned pulses.

See alsoEdit


  1. Beans and other legumes: Types and cooking tips
  2. Cooking Dried Beans, Peas & Lentils
  3. Vegan Protein Combinations
  4. Building Complete Proteins from Nuts, Grains and Legumes
  5. Eating Beans Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
  6. PulsesThis link has cool pictures
  7. Beans and other legumes: Types and cooking tips

External linksEdit

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