Pulses

Pulses are legumes with seeds that can be dried and stored to be used as food. Like all legumes, pulses come from plants in the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family. Chickpeas, lentils, and all types of beans are some of the most recognizable examples of pulses.

Going by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) classification, the group does not include legumes, with their primary purpose being something other than dried food crops. So, oilseeds from the Fabaceae family, like soybeans and peanuts, are not considered pulses. The same goes for leguminous fruits and seeds eaten as fresh vegetables (green beans) and plants grown as forage (clover and alfalfa).

Types of Pulses

List of Different Types of Pulses

Pulses are famous for being some of the best protein sources, dietary fibers, essential vitamins, and minerals. A single portion of beans counts for one of your ‘5 a Day’ portions of vegetables and fruits in a day.

The average serving size is ¼ cup of raw pulses, which double and becomes ½ a cup when cooked. The exact weight varies depending on the type but usually ranges between 60-110 grams. So, adding a handful of soaked or boiled pulses to dishes like casseroles, salads, and stews adds to the dish’s nutritional value on top of improving its flavor and texture. Find out about the various types and how you could prepare 

NameProtein/ 100g (cooked)Carbohydrate/ 100g (cooked)Fiber/ 100g (cooked)Common Ways to Prepare
Dry BeansVariesVariesVariesSoaked and eaten both raw  and cooked
— Mung Beans7.02g19.15g7.6gSprouted for salads, cooked in soups, curries, or stir-fried
Lima Beans7.8g19.68g6.2gBoiled or steamed, added to casseroles or succotash
— Pinto Beans9g20g9gBoiled or refried, used in burritos, soups, and stews
— Kidney Beans8.67g22.8g6.4gBoiled or canned, used in chili, salads, or rice dishes
— Navy Beans8g19.74g10.5gBaked or boiled, used in soups, stews, and casseroles
Adzuki Beans7.52g17.66g6.7gBoiled, sweetened, and used in desserts or red bean paste
— Scarlet Runner Beans8.3g19.74g9.7gBoiled, used in salads, or added to stews
Black Gram7.31g30.26g12.5gUsed in Indian cuisine, particularly in dosas and idlis
Dry Broad Beans (Fava)7g19g7gBoiled or pureed, used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine
Dry Peas5.42g14.45g5.5gBoiled, used in soups, stews, or mixed with rice
Chickpea (Garbanzo Beans)8.86g27.42g7.6gBoiled or canned, used in salads, hummus, or curries
Black-Eyed Pea6.2g20.39g6.7gBoiled, used in Southern dishes like Hoppin’ John
Pigeon Peas7.91g23.25g7gBoiled, used in Indian, Caribbean, and African cuisines
Lentils9.02g20.13g7.9gBoiled, used in various dishes globally
Lupin Beans36.17g12.75g37.8gSoaked and boiled, used in salads or ground into flour
Horse Gram22.9g57.48g24.5gBoiled, used in soups, stews, or sprouted in salads
Bambara Groundnut6.57g63.88g8.4gBoiled, used in stews, porridge, or ground into flour

The dried seeds from the following plants also fall in the group of pulses. However, they are not widely available, and though their seeds are suitable for human consumption, they need to be soaked and boiled in water multiple times to eliminate certain toxic elements they contain. These include:

  • Winged (Dried seeds)
  • Velvet bean (Dried seeds)
  • Vetch
  • Lablab
  • Jack beans
  • Sword Beans

Some of these, like vetch and lablab, are primarily used as livestock feed.

FAQ

Are there any negative health effects of eating pulses?

As evident above, most pulses are rich in carbohydrates and fibers. So, indulging in large servings might not agree with everyone, leading to indigestion, gas, and bloating. Eating smaller servings less frequently might help if you experience such issues.