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On the Pulse of Healthful Eating Using More Pulse Foods In Your Diet (FN1714)

Pulses are a type of legume characterized by seeds that grow in pods. These ancient crops have been used in worldwide cuisine for thousands of years. Pulses include chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), lentils and dry peas. Pulse foods are rich sources of protein, fiber, vitamins such as folate, and minerals such as iron and potassium. They are low in fat and sodium, and are naturally gluten- and cholesterol-free. Researchers have reported that regular consumption of pulses may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. The purpose of this publication is to show how to use more pulse foods in your diet and provide tested recipes and two weeks of sample menus at the 1,800- and 2,100-calorie levels.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Rebecca Berg, Program Assistant; Stacy Wang, R.D., L.R.D., Extension Associate


Page 1 Photo Red lentil soup

red lentil soup

How to Prepare Pulse Foods

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

Note: For ease of preparation, the recipes in this publication call for canned chickpeas; however, soaked/cooked chickpeas can be substituted.

• Remove any small stones, then place in a strainer and rinse with water.

• Chickpeas require soaking prior to cooking. The following methods may be used to soak chickpeas:

- Traditional slow soak: Cover 1 pound of dry chickpeas with 10 cups of water and refrigerate six to eight hours or overnight.

- Hot soak: Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot, add 1 pound of dry chickpeas and return to a boil. Allow to stand at room temperature for two to three hours.

- Quick soak: Bring 10 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 pound of dry chickpeas. Boil two to three minutes. Allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.

To cook: Drain and rinse chickpeas, then use 2 cups of unsalted water for every cup of chickpeas. Simmer for 90 minutes to two hours, then use in your favorite recipes.

Yield: 1 cup dry chickpeas + 2 cups water = about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas

Lentils

• Remove any small stones, then place in strainer and rinse with water. You do not need to soak lentils.

• For every cup of lentils, add 2½ cups of unsalted water. Heat water to boiling, then simmer lentils for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 1 cup dry lentils + 2.5 water = about 2.5 cups of cooked lentils

Dry Peas (Split or Whole)

Split peas:

• Split peas do not require an overnight soaking. Use 2 cups of water for each cup of dry peas. Heat water to boiling, then simmer split peas for about 30 minutes to desired tenderness.

Whole peas:

• Soak whole peas in water overnight or use one of the methods under “Preparing Chickpeas.”

• To cook: After soaking, cook whole peas for 35 to 40 minutes to desired tenderness.

Yield: 1 cup dry split peas + 2 cups water = about 2 cups of cooked split peas

MENU PLANS

Note: The nutrition analysis for the foods listed on the menu plans are based on no added fat or salt.

Key to abbreviations:

c. = cup
tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
oz. = ounce
g = gram
mg = milligram
mcg = microgram

Tips for the cook:

Do not cook peas, lentils or chickpeas in aluminum or cast-iron pans because these materials may inhibit cooking and change the color of the product.

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RECIPES

Apple spice hummus
apple spice hummus

2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled and chopped
⅓ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ c. creamy peanut butter
2 to 3 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
Apple slices, carrot slices and/or whole-wheat crackers

In a food processor bowl or blender container, place the following ingredients: chickpeas, apple, lemon juice, peanut butter, water, salt and spices. Cover and process or blend until smooth; transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to three days. Serve dip with apple slices, carrot slices and/or whole-wheat crackers.

Makes 28 servings (2 Tbsp. each). Each serving has 80 calories, 3 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 140 mg sodium, 15 mcg folate and 0.5 mg iron.

barbecue baked lentils

4 c. water
2 c. dry brown or green lentils
½ tsp. salt, divided
1 c. onions, diced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
⅔ c. ketchup
⅓ c. maple syrup
¼ c. prepared mustard
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine water, lentils and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Drain lentils in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooked liquid. Combine lentils, diced onions and chopped red pepper in an 11- by 7-inch baking dish. Combine ¼ teaspoon salt, reserved cooking liquid, ketchup and the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour the ketchup mixture over the lentil mixture, stirring to combine. Bake at 350 F for one hour.

Makes eight servings (1 c. each). Each serving has 240 calories, 1.5 g fat, 14 g protein, 45 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 490 mg sodium, 4.4 mcg folate and 3 mg iron.

Spiced lemon quinoa with split peas
spiced lemon quinoa with split peas

¼ c. dry yellow split peas
5 tsp. mild olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1 serrano chili, minced
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. kosher salt
9 oz. loosely packed baby spinach
1 c. prepared quinoa, cooked as package directs
1½ Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Simmer split peas with 2 cups water in a small saucepan until just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a towel. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cover and cook until they pop, one minute. Stir in cumin; cook a few seconds until sizzling, then stir in split peas, curry powder, chili, turmeric and salt. Cook, stirring often, until split peas start to turn golden, two minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add spinach to frying pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until wilted, one to two minutes. Drain any liquid. Stir in quinoa, split pea mixture and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

Makes five servings (1 c. each). Each serving has 230 calories, 7 g fat, 8 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 280 mg sodium, 1.3 mcg folate and 4.4 mg iron.

chickpea flour pancakes

1¼ c. chickpea flour
1 c. water
A pinch of salt
1 egg
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix together the flour, water and salt. Crack in the egg and mix well. Add the baking powder, baking soda and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Let batter rest for a few minutes at room temperature. Lightly oil a frying pan with a little oil, heat until very hot and add a ladle of batter. Cook until lightly golden. Turn the pancake over with a spatula and cook for one minute. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter, re-oiling the pan each time.

Makes 10 pancakes. Each pancake has 90 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 270 mg sodium, 53 mcg folate and 0.7 mg iron.

Lentil garden omelet
lentil garden omelet

¼ c. dry red or green lentils
8 eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ small red onion, diced
¼ c. finely diced red pepper
¼ c. thinly sliced asparagus
1 c. packed baby spinach, chopped
4 tsp. finely grated Parmesan

Prepare lentils according to package directions or until they reach desired doneness. Whisk eggs and salt together. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, pepper and asparagus. Add spinach; cook until wilted. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low, add one-fourth of egg mixture to a heated nonstick skillet. Cook until edges are set (two to three minutes). Sprinkle one-fourth of vegetable mixture onto the egg mixture, along with one-fourth of the Parmesan cheese. Use a spatula to fold the omelet onto itself. Slide onto serving plate. Repeat with the remaining egg and vegetable mixtures. If desired, flip omelet to seal edges and develop a golden-brown color. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve warm.

Makes four servings (one-fourth of recipe each). Each serving has 210 calories, 11 g fat, 17 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 470 mg sodium, 71 mcg folate and 2.9 mg iron.

country-style split pea soup

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 c. onion, diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 c. celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ c. dry green or yellow split peas, rinsed
3 c. chicken broth
3 c. water
1 bay leaf
¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
½ tsp. ground pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 c. cooked ham, diced (optional)
1 c. plain nonfat/low-fat yogurt (optional)

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat oil then add onion, leek, celery and garlic Sauté until they are tender, about five minutes. Add peas, broth, water, bay leaf, parsley, seasoned salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until peas are tender. Add the carrots, potatoes and ham (optional) to the soup. Cover and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but retain their shape. Add water, if necessary, to thin soup. Reduce heat. When ready to serve, remove bay leaf.

Optional: Add plain yogurt, cook for five minutes. (Do not boil.)

Makes 24 servings (½ c. each). Each serving has 60 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 250 mg sodium, 35 mcg folate and 0.8 mg iron.

lentil lasagna

1 c. dry green or brown lentils
2¼ c. water
1¼ tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. lasagna noodles
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
⅛ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced
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 oil until they are tender, about five to seven minutes. Turn onions into a bowl and set aside. To skillet, add remaining oil and zucchini and cook, stirring until zucchini is tender, about eight 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 (one-eighth of recipe). Each serving has 320 calories, 8 g fat, 18 g protein, 45 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 860 mg sodium, 87 mcg folate and 3.8 mg iron.

Lentil granola
lentil granola

1½ c. dry red lentils
5 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. rolled oats
5 ounces sliced almonds
1 c. shaved coconut
1 c. dried cranberries or desired dried fruit

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add lentils and simmer for five minutes or until just tender. Drain lentils and spread on a tray. Allow to steam-dry and cool. Preheat your oven to 300 F. Combine honey, vanilla and olive oil in a bowl. Toss the cooled lentils in the honey mixture. Spread the coated lentils on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir in oats and almonds and continue baking for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Next add coconut and dried fruit and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 servings (¼ c. each). Each serving has 150 calories, 6 g fat, 5 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 mg sodium, 0.5 mcg folate and 1 mg iron.

red lentil soup

2 c. dry red lentils
8 c. chicken broth, low-sodium
4 medium carrots, diced (about 2 c.)
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. paprika
2 chicken bouillon cubes, low-sodium
1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
1 large onion, diced (about 2 c.)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. diced roasted chicken (optional)
1 lemon, juiced (about ⅓ cup juice)
Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Sort, then rinse lentils. Add to broth and bring to a boil. Add diced carrots. Cover; cook for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. When lentils are tender, add dry spices, bouillon cubes and diced tomatoes. Sauté onion and garlic in a frying pan using olive oil. When golden brown, add to soup mixture. Add chicken if desired. Simmer for five minutes. Turn off heat and add lemon juice to pot; stir. Garnish bowls of soup with parsley if desired.

Makes 12 servings (3/4 c. per serving). Each serving has 190 calories, 4 g fat, 13 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 125 mg sodium, 3 mcg folate and 2.4 mg iron.

Orzo salad with chickpeas and artichoke hearts
orzo salad with chickpeas and artichoke hearts

½ c. orzo or other tiny pasta
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
⅛ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. lemon juice
⅛ tsp. ground pepper
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅓ c. crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1½ Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
6 c. baby spinach

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Cook orzo until just tender, about nine minutes, or according to package directions. Drain water and allow to cool. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with oil. Mash garlic and salt into a paste with the back of a spoon in a medium bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and pepper. Add the cooked orzo, artichokes, chickpeas, feta, dill and mint; toss gently to combine. Add tomatoes and toss again. Serve on top of fresh spinach. If making ahead of time, wait to add tomatoes and spinach until right before serving.

Makes six servings (1 c. each). Each serving has 220 calories, 6 g fat, 10 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 560 mg sodium, 121 mcg folate and 2.7 mg iron.

Smoked paprika wild rice sweet potatoes and chick peas
smoked paprika wild rice, sweet potatoes and chickpeas

1 c. prepared wild rice
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large yellow onion, cut into about ½-inch pieces (about 2 c.)
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into about ½-inch cubes (about 4 c.)
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1½ tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground clove
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
Sour cream for garnish (optional)
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Cook the wild rice according to package direction. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, combine onion, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, wild rice, spices, salt and olive oil. Mix well so that the spices and oil are combined evenly. Spread onto a baking sheet that is large enough to keep the mixture relatively shallow for roasting. Bake the vegetables for 45 minutes. Add or subtract time based on the tenderness of the sweet potatoes. While the mixture is cooking, be sure to rotate and mix the vegetables about every 15 minutes for even roasting. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

Makes seven servings (1 c. each). Each serving has 195 calories, 9 g fat, 6 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber,
440 mg sodium, 38 mcg folate and 1.4 mg iron.

red lentil porridge

¼ c. dry red lentils
1 c. old-fashioned oats
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
⅓ c. raisins or other dried fruit (optional)
Milk and brown sugar or maple syrup, for serving

In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with ½ cup water and bring to a simmer; cook five minutes. Add the oats, cinnamon, salt and another 2 cups water; bring to a boil and cook for five to seven minutes, stirring often, until the oats and lentils are tender and any excess moisture has been absorbed. Stir in the raisins and remove from heat. Let sit for two to three minutes, then serve hot, sprinkled or drizzled with brown sugar or maple syrup and milk.

Makes four servings (⅔ c. each). Each serving has 160 calories, 2 g fat, 6 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 80 mg sodium, 0 mcg folate and 2 mg iron.

roasted chickpeas - cajun
roasted chickpeas - cajun

1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then pat dry with a paper towel. Discard any excess skins that fall off in the washing. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with olive oil and Cajun seasoning and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until chickpeas reach a desired crunch. Check and stir the chickpeas every 10 minutes to ensure they do not burn. Remove from oven and cool completely. Serve.

Makes eight servings (2 Tbsp. each). Each serving has 110 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 200 mg sodium, 26 mcg folate and 0.6 mg iron.

roasted chickpeas - italian

1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Drain and rinse chickpeas and then pat dry with a paper towel. Discard any excess skins that fall off in the washing. In a medium bowl, mix together chickpeas, olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Spread chickpeas evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until the chickpeas reach a desired crunch. Check and stir the chickpeas every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Serve.

Makes eight servings (2 Tbsp. each). Each serving has 110 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 250 mg sodium, 26 mcg folate and 0.6 mg iron.

roasted chickpeas - orange-spiced

1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then pat dry with a paper towel. Discard any excess skins that fall off in the washing. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with olive oil and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until chickpeas reach a desired crunch. Check and stir the chickpeas every 10 minutes to ensure they do not burn. In a bowl, combine marmalade, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Spoon warm roasted chickpeas into marmalade mixture and gently coat. When all chickpeas have been coated, spread onto baking sheet in a single layer. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Break up chickpea clusters and loosen any chickpeas from the baking sheet with spatula. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes eight servings (2 Tbsp. each). Each serving has 120 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 170 mg sodium, 26 mcg folate and 0.6 mg iron.

References

Campos-Vega, R., Loarca-Pina, G., and Oomah, B. (2010). Minor components of pulses and their potential impact on human health. Food Research International, 43, 461-482.

Gebrelibanos, M., Tesfaye, D., Raghavendra, Y., and Sintayeyu, B. (2013). Nutritional and health implications of legumes. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 4(4), 1269-1279.

Goni, I., and Valentin-Gamazo, C. (2003). Chickpea flour ingredient slows glycemic response to pasta in healthy volunteers. Food Chemistry, 8, 511-515.

Khan, I. Tabassum, F., and Khan, A. (2008). Glycemic indices and glycemic loads of various types of pulses. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 7(1), 104-108.

Mitchell, D., Lawrence, F., Hartman, T., and Curran, J. (2009). Consumption of dry beans, peas, and lentils could improve diet quality in the U.S. population. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(5), 909-913.

Mollard, R., Wong, C., Luhovyy, B., and Anderson, G. (2011). First and second meal effects of pulses on blood glucose, appetite, and food intake at a later meal. Applied Physicology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 36, 634-642.

Rochfort, S., and Panozzo, J. (2007). Phytochemicals for health, the role of pulses. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(20), 7981-7994.

Roy, F., Boye, J., and Simpson, B. (2010). Bioactive proteins and peptides in pulse crops: Pea, chickpea and lentil. Food Research International, 43, 432-442.

Tosh, S., and Yada, S. (2010). Dietary fibres in pulse seeds and fractions: Characterization, functional attributes, and applications. Food Research International, 43, 450-460.

Credits

Graphic design – Deb Tanner, NDSU Agriculture Communication
Copy editor – Ellen Crawford, NDSU Agriculture Communication
Food stylist – Shannon Charpentier
Photographer – John Borge

Top 10 Reasons to Use Pulses on Your Menu

  • Excellent source of fiber
  • Good source of protein
  • Low-fat
  • Low-sodium
  • Good source of iron
  • Excellent source of folate
  • Good source of potassium
  • Low glycemic index
  • Gluten-free
  • Cholesterol-free

This publication is a companion piece to “Pulses: The Perfect Food” (FN1508), which provides additional nutrition information, recipes and information about buying and preparing pulse foods.

NDSU Extension Service
Pulse Crowers
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