The International Year of Pulses

Ashley St. Amand, Volunteer, Nutrition Services at BIDMC, and Julie Robarts, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Exciting news! The United Nations has deemed 2016 the International Year of Pulses. I know what you’re thinking: There’s an entire year dedicated to heartbeats?? Nope. Pulses are actually another name for dried seeds in the legume family like lentils, chickpeas and black beans — and boy do they deserve the spotlight. These healthy little morsels are packed with not only protein, but also fiber, vitamins and minerals. Including pulses in your diet can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and help control weight.

If all that isn’t enough to get you excited about pulses, how about the fact that they’re also hearty crops that require much less water than soybeans or peanuts — five times less than soybeans, and eight times less than peanuts! That’s why the UN is shining a light on them — in hopes of creating a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle and diet throughout the world.

So, how can you add more pulses to your diet? If you think about it, you may already be somewhat pulse-centric. Do you love hummus? What about minestrone soup? Or how about vegetarian chili? They all feature pulses. Check out these other delicious ideas for making pulses the star of your diet:

Pack your pantry . Grab canned pulses like kidney beans, pinto beans, and lentils to add to soup and salads. And check out these recipes for Charred Corn and Lentil Salsa, and Green Split Pea Salad with Rice and Cranberries from

Snack on them . Roasted Chickpeas is a popular new way of enjoying one of the world’s most widely known pulses. See how easy they are to make (and delicious to eat!) via this recipe.

Bake with them. Ever heard of Black Bean Brownies? They’re a surprisingly delicious take on a time-honored desert. Check out this recipe here.

Go meatless once in a while . Even beef deserves a day off. Try something new with these Chickpea Burgers and Tahini Sauce.

Go to for a whole lot more great pulse recipes from around the world, and have a delicious time incorporating pulses into your healthy diet!

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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