Have you checked your pulse lately?

As 2016 has been declared the year of the pulse, we thought it would be handy to give you an easy guide on how to prepare and cook a variety of grains and legumes.

TWO MAIN TYPES of commercial grain crops are cereals such as wheat and rye, and legumes such as beans and soybeans. Legumes are collectively known- or becoming more commonly known- as pulses. Well-known pulses include peas, beans, lentils, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind. These beans, peas, lentils and all are so versatile as they are becoming more available in a variety of formats-dried, roasted, flours, etc. People are experimenting with them more and more- from brownies and cakes, to wraps and breads to croutons- the options are truly endless.

HEALTH BENEFITS from pulses include a variety of things like B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium as well as an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Most legumes contain significant amounts of insoluble and soluble fiber. Opting for legumes instead of meat two or three times a week promotes healthy cholesterol levels, regulates bowel movements, keeps blood sugar levels in check and helps protect against heart disease. Legumes and whole grains are considered complementary proteins, meaning that while neither contains all nine essential amino acids, they form a complete protein when consumed together, or at least in the same day. So mix some together in your next soup or salad and top it of with some nuts and seeds to keep the protein: carb: fat ratio balanced. Here is a quick guide on a few pulses and what to do…


GRAINS: Soak for at least 8 hrs up to 24 hrs. Per 1 cup;

Quinoa: cook in 1 ¾ cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Approximately yields 3 cups.

Millet: cook in 2 ½ cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Approximately yields 3 ½ cups.

Rye: cook in 4 cups of water for 45-60 minutes. Approximately yields 3 cups.

Bulgur: cook in 2 cups of water for 10-12 minutes. Approximately yields 3 cups.

Spelt (berries): cook in 3 ½ cups of water for 25 to 35 minutes. Approximately yields 2 ½ cups.

Buckwheat: cook in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Approximately yields 4 cups.

LEGUMES Some can be cooked with out soaking and some can not. The cooking water levels should be at least 2 inches above the legumes. Per 1 cup;

Non-soak/ Soak overnight-

Lentils (black/green/du puy):  Cook for 10 to 20 minutes. Approximately yields: 2- 2 ½ cups.

Aduzki: Cook for 45-60 minutes. Approximately yields 2 cups.

Split peas: Cook for 10 to 25 minutes. Approximately yields 2 cups.

Mung Beans: Cook for 45-60 minutes. Approximately yields 2 cups.

Must soak overnight-

Chickpeas: Cook for 1 ½ hrs. Approximately yields 3 cups

Great Northern Beans: Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hrs. Approximately yields 3 cups.

Black beans: cook for 45 to 60 minutes. Approximately yields 3 cups.

Tip: When soaking pulses, add 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar per cup of grains and 2 tbsp per cup of legumes. The acid medium will help remove some of the natural occurring phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption, and will help break down some of the hard-to-digest proteins. Drain & rinse before adding fresh water when you are ready to cook them.

Do you have a favourite pulse? Share one of your recipes with us!