Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are a brilliant part of a healthy and balanced diet. They are a good source of protein and contain many vitamins and minerals that are important for our health and wellbeing.

Additionally, being a good source of fibre makes pulses great for our gut health and for keeping our digestive system happy and healthy. It is said that1 in 5 Australians don’t incorporate enough fibre into their diet but by eating pulses such as beans, lentils and peas, we can bring this number up and meet our recommended fibre intake. Getting enough fibre in our diet can also reduce our risk of health complications, heart disease and type two diabetes.

The benefits to having dried pulses over those in cans is that you can avoid the increased sodium content and ensure there are no preservatives being used. Often, canned beans and lentils are soaked in water and salt, but with a high sodium content they can contribute to excess sodium consumption, which over time can lead to high blood pressure among other problems.

Preparing dried pulses is easier than you might think, with a little bit of forethought you can have them ready to be incorporated into your healthy meals. Beans are better when they have been soaked before cooking. The benefit of soaking beans is that it makes them easier to digest, while making the nutrients easier to absorb and allowing us to get the full benefits of these nutritious foods. When it comes to lentils and split peas, there is no soaking necessary, removing one step from the preparation process.

Note: We also find that you have more control with texture with dried pulses- i.e. pulses have more bite and are less mushy.

It’s always great to support Aussie owned and operated businesses, so our go-to brand for pulses is McKenzie’s. They’ve been trading in grains for over 165 years and with some of their pulse products they’ve been using the same Australian growers for generations.

In the following, you’ll find a simple guide on how to cook some of our favourite dried pulses:

Green Split Peas

Before you start, rinse the green split peas and put them in a pot. The green split pea to water ratio is 1:2, which means if you’re cooking 1 cup of green split peas, you use 2 cups of water. Once you have your green split peas and water in your pot, turn the heat on and bring them to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave for approximately 35 minutes until the split peas are soft and cooked through.

Check out this Green Split Pea Dahl with Cauliflower Rice for an example of how to use them.

Red Split Lentils

When cooking red split lentils, we rinse them before transferring them to a pot with water. If you’re cooking 1 cup of red split lentils, we recommend you add 1 to 3 cups of water to the pot. Like other pulses, we bring them to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing them to simmer. These lentils are among the fastest to cook and take about 10 minutes to become tender.

One idea of how to incorporate red lentils into a meal is our Red Lentil Minestrone.

Whole Green Lentils

To cook green lentils, we start by rinsing them under the tap. Add them to a pot with 3 times the amount of water. For example, if you’re cooking 1 cup of lentils, you will need 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil and then leave them to simmer for 25 minutes until they’re tender.

Make sure you don’t add salt to your lentils until after they’re cooked. If you add salt during the cooking process they become tough and take longer to cook.

Give our Lentil & Beef Stew a try for a hearty lentil filled meal.

Black Beans

Before cooking black beans, we need to rinse them and then soak them for at least 6 hours. Here at 28, we like to leave them to soak overnight for maximum convenience. When soaking black beans, leave them in a bowl with enough water to cover them generously.

After soaking your beans, add them to a pot with three times the amount of water. This means 1 cup of black beans will need 3 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and leave them to cook for around 35 minutes.

Try our Smoky Black Bean Soup for a warming and nutritious meal using black beans.

Red Kidney Beans

First up, we need to soak the kidney beans in a bowl with a generous amount of water, for at least 4 hours. Once they have been soaked, place them in a pot with three times the amount of water (1 cup of red kidney beans to 3 cups of water). Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook the kidney beans for 35 minutes, until tender.

A 28er favourite, our popular BBQ Corn & Haloumi Salad is a great way to incorporate kidney beans.

BBQ Corn & Haloumi Salad

Chickpeas

Like the beans above, chickpeas are something we need to soak before cooking. Chickpeas should be covered with a generous amount of water and left to soak for 8 hours before they’re ready to cook.

After soaking, add the chickpeas to a large pot with 3 times the amount of water. Bring them to a boil and then reduce them to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

You’ll love our Express Veggie Noodle Bowl, which features chickpeas.

So now you know how simple it can be to cook dried pulses from scratch. We love cooking up a batch of pulses on the weekend and using them in various recipes across the week. You know you’re getting a great hit of fibre and all of the nutritional benefits of these amazing beans, lentils and legumes.

Posted by Shahna Sarpi

Shahna is a qualified nutritionist passionate about helping people live a nourished life through healthy eating and lifestyle practices. Utilising a whole foods approach to nutrition, Shahna aims to educate and inspire people to become their healthiest selves. With a love of food and being in the kitchen, she enjoys cooking up a storm and creating healthy recipes that everyone will enjoy.