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3 Recipes with Unusual Pulses

Mar/26/2023 / by Pratika Yashaswi

They are tasty, healthy, and admirably meet your daily dietary requirements


Pulses are dried legumes that come from different plants — mostly lentils or beans — and include chickpeas, soybeans, peas, peanuts, broad beans, and kidney beans. If you’re South Asian, chances are you may have been eating pulses for years, but you’re probably not aware of all the health benefits that come with them.

Pulses are nutrient rich, high in fiber and are protein-dense. Adzuki beans, for instance, contain up to 52g per cup. That almost entirely fulfills the average woman’s daily protein requirement.

Pulses have been shown to have a positive effect on blood glucose levels when eaten as part of a balanced diet. They help keep blood sugars stable by providing slow-release energy that doesn’t spike as quickly as carbohydrates do, keeping diabetes at bay.

The best thing is that they’re easily stored and prepared, which makes them an easy addition to any meal plan. You can add them to soups, risottos and salads (some of them can create a meaty texture) or eat them as snacks by themselves (roast chickpeas are a great option).

If you’re South Asian, chances are you’re an avid user of pulses. But there are many ways of using them that go beyond the typical stews and soups. Here are a few easy-to-make, unique recipes you might want to try:

Spicy Lentil Bowls

An easy, yet flavorful dish that packs lots of protein, these lentil bowls are sure to satisfy any hungry vegetarian’s appetite.

Start by cooking a cup of lentils in salted water until they are tender. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a deep skillet and add 1 diced onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons of grated ginger. Once the vegetables have softened, stir in 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Add ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder and black pepper along with a pinch of salt. When the spices become fragrant, add your cooked lentils to the skillet. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and ½ cup tomato puree. Simmer for about 20 minutes until all the flavors meld together before serving over cooked quinoa or brown rice. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley or cilantro on top for a bit of herbaceous flavor!

Creamy Spinach-Lentil Curry

This is a creamy vegan dish that will please even meat-eaters

Begin by heating a tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 chopped shallots, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon each coriander and cumin powder. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Then add 3 cups cooked lentils (green or brown), followed by 1 can coconut milk and 3 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low so it simmers uncovered for 10 minutes before stirring in 2 cups baby spinach leaves. Season with salt to taste. Serve over steamed basmati rice or couscous. Keep a few lime wedges on the side for an extra squeeze of citrusy brightness!

Lentil-Walnut Burgers

These vegan burgers have an earthy nuttiness that pairs perfectly with crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

Combine ⅓ cup uncooked green lentils with ½ cup walnuts in a food processor until everything is finely chopped. Make sure it’s not pureed (you want texture here). Transfer this mixture into a bowl then stir in ¼ cup rolled oats as well as ¼ cup bread crumbs. Season everything with salt and pepper, according to taste preference. Next, form the mixture into 4 patties (or more if desired). Pan-fry them for about 5 minutes per side until they are golden brown on both sides. Serve on buns or lettuce wraps with desired condiments, such as vegan mayo or Sriracha sauce!