Has anyone ever heard of the word pulse and food used in the same sentence, instead of heartbeat or heart rate?? When it comes to food “pulse” refers to the edible seed of plants in the legume group. Read on to learn more about pulse foods, why they are a great option when it comes to eating, and how to cook them.
Examples of pulses recognized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- dry beans
- dry broad beans
- dry peas
- cow peas
- pigeon peas
- Bambara beans
Why are they are healthy food choice?
- low in fat
- great source of protein and fiber
- contain important vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium)
How to fix or cook them?
- Canned is a good option as they are precooked and very convenient.
- Canned pulses are great for tossing on salads and mixing with other proteins or grains for a complete meal.
- Search MyPlate for other ways to cook pulse foods.
- Dried pulses are also an option, but they are not pre-cooked. If you’re buying dried pulses, look for batches that are uniform in color, size, and shape, and that have smooth and unblemished seed coats.
- Dried pulses need to be soaked for 8-10 hours prior to cooking. Package instructions often include “quick” soak methods as well. When you are cooking with dried pulses, add salt and acids, such as tomatoes and vinegar, after the pulses have already softened. Acid and salt both cause the seed coat to harden and slow down the cooking process.
Pulses are an inexpensive protein source, but they are an incomplete protein, meaning they lack at least one essential amino acid. It is recommended to eat pulses in combination with grains and other protein sources to make sure the body receives all of the essential amino acids necessary for good health.