24 recipes for the Year of the Pulse

This new year I’m keeping my food resolutions relevant and attainable. In fact, I only have one: eat more pulses in 2016.

I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Toronto to celebrate Pulse Feast, the kick-off to the International Year of the Pulse (#IYP2016). United Nations has declared 2016 the year we sit up and take notice of this incredible crop, a harvest that is mainly grown here in Canada.

What is a “pulse”? That’s a good question and one that I am getting asked frequently. Chances are you already are familiar with beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas – yep those are all pulses. They are good for your health, good for the environment, and mighty good to eat. The following list demonstrates the sheer variety of pulses available.


Available canned or dried, in many varieties such as black, kidney, navy, pinto, fava, lima, black-eyed peas and more.


Also known as garbanzo beans.  Available canned or dried. Kabuli (larger) and Desi (smaller). Chickpea flour. Hummus.


Green, Red, Brown, French Green/du Puy and Black/Beluga. May be dried or canned. Pre-cooked lentils can be found in the frozen of refrigerated section of most healthy grocers. Lentil flour.


Split Green and Yellow, Whole Green and Yellow. Pea protein powders. Pea flours. Soup mixes.

At Pulse Feast last week, chefs, farmers, food writers and local media and I sampled over 20 dishes featuring the very versatile pulse. It was an inspiring evening, hosted by Chef Michael Smith, the Lentil Hunter himself.

That night I signed the Pulse Pledge, a commitment to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks. Easy? Easy. In fact, I’m vowing to eat pulses once a week for all of 2016. And if you think that is wild, consider that I met a lady at Pulse Feast who has resolved to eat pulses every day this year. Now that is impressive.

Won’t you join me and sign the Pulse Pledge? Once a week, grab a handful of cumin roasted chickpeas or dip into a bowl of hummus. It’s that simple. It can also be a pot of chili or bowl of soup, a plate of salad or maybe a lentil dinner. In other words, eating pulses once a week is totally doable.

To me, it’s an obvious choice. Eating more pulses means eating local, eating for our heath, supporting farmers, and helping the planet out, too. Tell that to your kids when you serve up lentil tacos.


Stocking the Pulse Pantry || Simple Bites || Pulses are the pantry’s best friend because of their long shelf life.

Stocking the Pulse Pantry

Before we get to the recipes, let’s talk quickly about stocking the pantry, because if we’re all going to eat more pulses this year, they need to be present on our kitchen shelves, reminding us of our pledge.

Fortunately, pulses are the pantry’s best friend because of their long shelf life. Whether you are stocking canned chickpeas, dried split peas, jars of lentils or canned beans, you never have to worry about them spoiling for all of 2016. (Experts recommend a shelf life of around one year for dried pulses. After that, cooking time increases and the quality decreases.)

Be sure to review a favourite post from the archives: How to Store Pantry Food for Maximum Shelf Life. You’ll see I choose to store my dried pulses in glass jars, so I can easily see what I have on hand and how much of each.

24 recipes for the Year of the Pulse: a Simple Bites round-up

how to cook dried beans


A simple guide to cooking dried beans

Frijoles Rancheros (Mexican ranch-style beans)

Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups | Simple Bites

Tangy Quinoa & Black Bean Salad Cups with Mango, Avocado & Radish

Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Beans (layered mason jar salad)

Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili | Simple Bites #dinner #vegan

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili (vegan)

Chocolate Chip Chili

Black Bean Burgers

20 Recipes for Pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas) || Simple Bites #IYP2016

Black Bean Burritos (vegetarian)

Southwest Black Bean Salad

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Creamy Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Layered Taco Bake

Black Bean Hummus with Lime and Cumin


Roasted Rutabaga Hummus Recipe

Cumin Roasted Chickpeas

Middle Eastern Taco Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Rutabaga Hummus Recipe | Simple Bites #vegan #dip #snack #healthy

Roasted Rutabaga Hummus

Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew with Apricots & Turnip

Rustic Chickpea Stew with Apricots & Turnip {slow-cooker recipe}

Chickpea & Parsley Patties

20 Recipes for Pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas) || Simple Bites #IYP2016


Egg-Topped Bacon, Lentil & Tomato (BLT) Salad

Simple French Lentil Soup

20 Recipes for Pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas) || Simple Bites #IYP2016

Garden Vegetable & Lentil Sloppy Joes (vegan)

Coconut Curried Green Lentil Soup

Beet Braised Lentils with Thyme and Apple | Simple Bites #recipe #dinner #vegetarian #meatlessmonday

Beet Braised Lentils with Thyme and Apples

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

5-Ingredient Baked Eggs in Tomatoes on Roasted Corn and Lentils

20 Recipes for Pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas) || Simple Bites #IYP2016


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

More on the Year of the Pulse

For many more recipes, visit Pulses.org for a wide range using their recipe search. Also be sure to check out my Love Lentils board on Pinterest for dozens more ideas for cooking with my favourite pulse.

This post was sponsored by USAPulses and PulseCanada.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée’s preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars – Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Well, now I know how to describe that category of food whose texture it somewhere between “meh” and “blech”. All of these are okay to me pureed, but their texture when whole and cooked really turns me off.

  2. I’ve never heard of that term before, pulse. I just lumped them all together as legumes. Thank you for teaching me something new! “The edible seeds of plants in the legume family….” Thank you for the delicious recipes and knowledge!

  3. I don’t do New Year resolutions, but I love yours! I may even try and it too! Thanks for the collection of recipes.

  4. I’ve always called these legumes…is that a different thing? I do love these foods!! We gobbled lentil fritters last week and tonight I’m making a kielbasa and cannelini stew. So many delicious options!

    • They are all legumes, yes, but pulses is more specific. Legumes is very broad and includes peanuts, tamarind, soybeans, etc..

      Your stew sounds delicious!!

  5. This a great article….and there are some many wonderful ways to enjoy healthy, flavourful pulses. Lots of creative opportunities in the kitchen to make wonderful dishes for your family.

  6. Yay everything pulses! I’m gone to stock my pantry. Thanks for tjhe inspiration!

  7. hey girl love the post!!

  8. The one HUGE difference between the way I ate growing up and the way our family eats now is pulses. I’ve never heard that term before, but we easily eat out of this category at least once/week. My kids LOVE garbanzo beans, but use the Italian name of ceci beans (pronounced “Cheechee”). I think my kids might like them simply because the name is fun to say!

    We put ceci beans in any Mediterranean inspired dish – easily replaces chicken for a meatless meal.

    • My kids really love them too, although Clara is the only hummus enthusiast. 🙂

      We ate a ton of pules as kids, but then my mother was always about 30 years ahead of the whole food movement. Lol.

  9. I’m thankful you brought this topic up.
    It seems some are dropping these out of their diets these days.
    I do think they are still healthy and filling for you.

    • It’s true, and perhaps some people can’t digest them properly, but I believe beans, lentils and the like have a place in a well-balance diet.

  10. Wonderful, thank you!

  11. A great roundup of recipes and definitely some new ones to try!
    I love the variety in this food group. Last week we had lentils and rice but it was the leftovers which produced the outstanding dish. I combined the two, added carmelized onion, shaped into oval patties, dipped in egg, and then seasoned panko, and fried in avocado oil. The resulting croquettes were crispy and irresistible.

  12. I think I’d be hard pressed to find meals that I eat that DON’T contain pulses, and many of them come from this website! Thanks for the compilation 🙂

  13. Ohh I’m not aware of what pulse is but when I read the whole article I was like, oh, beans! haha! Anyways, your list is huge! This will be a great alternative to our usual rice meals. Thank you so much for sharing Aimee!

  14. Michelle Stern says:

    I am so excited to broaden our pulse horizons! I always love your posts – they make everything sound doable and enjoyable! Xoxo

  15. Today I just happened to find your website, and this post which are great! Through a website called ‘Eat your books’ I found this British book called ‘Out of the pod delicious recipes that bring the best out of beans, lentils and other pulses’ by Vicky Jones which could assist you in fulfilling your pulse resolution. Both of these finds spark my culinary curiousity about pulses ; )

  16. Where do you purchase your dried beans? I am looking for something other than traditional grocery store pintos etc…

  17. What an awesome list! Thanks for clearing up what ”pulse” is, I had no idea.
    It’s great to see you back to blogging dear 🙂
    I’m a tad late, but happy 2016 🙂

  18. We live in Pakistan where pulses are a huge staple. We eat them almost every single day for lunch in the form of ‘curry’ (which is actually a completely different dish 🙂 ). I also throw chickpeas into just about every dish that has chicken in order to stretch the meat and kidney beans into just about every dish that has beef for the same reason. I love the fact that they’re both a vegetable and a protein. Plus the kids love their ‘scoop-up-ability’.
    Thanks for all these recipes. I’m bookmarking to increase my non pakistani food pulses repertoire.

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