10 Ways to Add More Pulses to Your Diet – Beans, Peas and Lentils

Want to add more pulses to your everyday routine, but not sure how? Pulses are a great source of plant-based proteins and part of eating for brain health.

add more pulses
Mix and match from a variety of pulses. Dried or canned – they’re all good!

Also Read: Healthy Eating for Brain Health, How to Cook Pulses, Top Sources of Plant Based Proteins

Here are ten different ways to add more pulses to your diet along with links to recipe ideas for each. For tips on how to cook dried pulses check out How to Cook Dried Pulses – Regular or Instant Pot.

10 Ways to Add More Pulses to Your Diet

1. Add them to salads or veggie-grain bowls.

Falafel Salad Bowl with Bulgur/Quinoa

Zesty Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Southwestern Bean and Pepper Salad

Whole Grain Salad with Chickpeas and Fetatomato cucumber pasta salad sq

Mediterranean Tomato, Cucumber and Chickpea Pasta Salad

Classic Three Bean Salad

2. Use them in soups either whole or pureed.beet and bean soup

The Ultimate Customizable Chowder – pureed white beans to thicken

Beet and Bean Soup – Vegetarian/Vegan Borscht

Italian Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

Lentil Soup – With or Without Baconbacon lentil soup chunky on spoon

3. Use as a spread in wraps or on top of tacos or quesadillas.

Try whole beans, pureed or refried beans all work.

Super Simple Black Bean Tacos from Registered Dietitians Erin and Dara at How to Eat

4. Add to chili or curry recipes.butternut vegetarian chili

You can go all beans for a vegetarian or vegan dish or do a combination of meat and beans. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

cauliflower chickpea curry

Butternut and Bean Chili

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

Very Quick Butter Chickpeas

Classic Chili Con Carnechili in a bowl

Green Bean and Pork Chili

5. Use bean or lentil puree in baking.

Replace up to half the fat in baking recipes with pureed beans or lentils.

Black Bean Brownies from Registered Dietitian, Nita Sharda at Carrots and Cake
Red Lentil Waffles from Professional Home Economist, Marilyn Smithblack bean patties

6. Use as a base for vegetarian burgers.

Black Bean Burger Patties

7. Enjoy them as dry roasted snacks or salad toppings.oven roasted chickpeas close

Oven Roasted Chickpeas

8. Add them to smoothies for extra thickness and nutrition.

Pureed white beans or cooked pureed red lentils work best.
Pina Colada White Bean Smoothie – from Great Tastes of Manitoba

9. Mix in to rice, quinoa or other grain side dishes.

The combination of whole grains and pulses will provide you with all essential amino acids in one meal. They also taste great and will keep you feeling satisfied longer.

Jewelled Fried Rice with Black Beans – from The Kitchen Fairy a Canadian Food Blogger

10. Use to make tasty spreads and dips. white bean hummus

Hummus is a classic spread, but don’t stop there! Add your favorite seasonings to pureed cooked beans or lentils to make a spread for sandwiches, bagels or wraps.

Chickpea Hummus or White Bean Hummus

Well there you have it, my top ten ways to add more pulses to your diet. Do you have other ways to enjoy more beans, peas and lentils?

Are you interested in eating more pulses, but your digestive system just doesn’t react well? Keep reading for a little more about gas and bloating as it relates to pulses.

add more pulses

For even more ideas and recipes, check out my Pinterest Board dedicated to recipes on Pulses – Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas.

What About Gas and Bloating

Pulses are a fantastic source of soluble fibre, the kind that your body is able to break down and use. But digesting pulses isn’t as easy as it sounds, thanks to a type of carbohydrate in beans called oligosaccharides. Our body needs the help of gut bacteria to digest these oligosaccharides (Os). Our good gut bacteria eat the Os. (Yup, pulses are a prebiotic – foods that feed our good gut bacteria). Those bacteria do a fantastic job but as they digest the Os, they also release gas. Hence the build of gas in you. If trapped, this gas may make you feel bloated. It’s often released through burping or farting. Just a normal part of our digestion.

For most people, a little gas is a non issue or maybe slightly embarrassing. For others, it can be extremely uncomfortable or even painful. Every person is different. If you find it unbearable, consider chatting with a Registered Dietitian about other sources of the nutrients offered by pulses or talk to your Doctor if you suspect there may be more going on.

If you want to reduce some of the effects, here are few tips:

  1. Add pulses in small amounts to let your body adjust to the additional fibre.
  2. Drink plenty of liquids when adding pulses to your diet, it will help with digestion.
  3. When using dried beans, soak them in water first to remove some of the oligosaccharides.
  4. When using canned beans, rinse them well to remove some of the oligosaccharides. Bonus – rinsing them will also remove excess sodium.
  5. Cook pulses with ingredients like cumin, fennel, ginger, turmeric, caraway, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, rosemary to help break them down.
  6. Drink herbal teas made with carminative herbs like anise, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm. These will help soothe and relieve gas.
  7. Break down the oligosaccharides before they reach your GI with digestive aids like Beano or Gas-X.

Does gas or bloating prevent you from enjoying pulses? How do you manage any bloating or gas?

I’d love to hear about your favorite pulse dishes and how you manage bloating or gas. Leave a comment or tag me on social media with your recipes. I’m on Instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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