To get your creative juices flowing for our upcoming Vegan PULSE Potluck (or your upcoming pulse potluck) here’s a brief guide to cooking with peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and other legumes, along with recipes from around the world.
Peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes that may be harvested dry and stored for later use are collectively called pulses. Delicious, nutritious, and easy to cook (and grow), pulses are the key to feeding the world without wrecking the planet. Because they are hardy and drought-tolerant plants that enrich rather than deplete the soil while generating low-cost food that can be easily stored for later consumption, pulses also are key components of almost every regional diet.
Here in the United States, both dried and canned pulses are widely available in grocery stores, although we still have far to go in assuring that the people most in need of affordable food have access to bulk pulses, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Dried pulses usually are cheaper but take longer to cook. Canned pulses are convenient but more costly, although still a cheap source of protein.
Many thrifty vegans make it a practice to keep both dried and canned pulses of many varieties on hand at all times. To begin building up your stockpile, just buy an extra can or sack each time you make a trip to the grocery store.
Except for lentils and split peas, dried pulses need to be rehydrated before cooking. This can be done by soaking overnight or via the quick soak method. Another way to cut down on the cooking time while still enjoying the cost-savings of dried beans, peas, and chickpeas is to invest in a pressure cooker. If you choose to use canned chickpeas or other beans, take note: The water from canned pulses, called aquafaba, can be used as an ingredient in many delicious recipes.
We found all of the recipes below in the International Vegetarian Union archive, just to give you an idea of the possibilities beyond the split pea soup and bean burritos to which you are probably already accustomed. Other places to search for pulse-based vegan recipes include VegWeb.com and VegKitchen.com. For more vegan Mexican dishes, visit VeganMexicanFood.com.
- Green Lentil Salad (Azifa)
- Greek Lentil Stew
- Nile River Lentil Soup
- Burmese Lentil Soup
- Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
- Lentil Bake
- Sweet Potato and Lentil Schnitzels
- Curried Pineapple Lentils
- Pakistani Dhal
- Red Lentil Pancakes
- Ají de Lentejas (Bolivian spicy lentil stew)
- Ethiopian Chickpea Wat
- Chickpea Zucchini Curry
- Calypso Pineapple Bean Pot
- Chickpea Casserole
- Chickpeas and Potato Curry
- Cuban Black Bean Soup
- Mung Beans in Coconut Milk
- Trinidadian Black-Eyed Bean Soup
- Chili Lima Beans with Fresh Dill
- Aduki Bean Casserole
- Bajan Beans
- Black Beans in Spicy Tamarind Sauce
- Puerto Rican Stewed Beans (Habichuelas Guisadas)
- Broad Bean and Cauliflower Curry
- Mung Bean Porridge (Payaru Payasam)
- Black Bean and Mango Soup
- Chilean Black-Eyed Peas & Winter Squash
- Tunisian Yam and Red Bean Stew
- Fagioli e Radicchio (Cannellini Beans with Radicchio)
- Ethiopian Split Peas
- Erisseri (yellow split peas with coconut and vegetables)
- Split Pea Dal
- Irio (Kenya, peas with potatoes, watercress, and corn)