Nutritional value of pulses
Pulses are a source of LOW BIOLOGICAL PROTEIN and are a useful source of protein for vegetarians because about 20% of the weight of dried pulses is protein.
The exception to this is the soya bean, which is of a HIGH BIOLOGICAL VALUE and contains about 36% of its weight as protein.
Pulses are a useful source of carbohydrate, which accounts for 50% of the weight of dried pulses.
Pulses are considered very healthy because they only contain small amounts of fat and are a good source of fibre.
Different pulses contain different amounts of minerals:
- Soya beans and chick peas are a rich source of calcium
- Green lentils, soya beans and red kidney beans are a rich source of iron
- Aduki beans, soya beans and green lentils are a rich source of zinc.
Pulses also contain a number of vitamins, namely vitamin E, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin
Choice of pulses
A wide variety of pulses are available in fresh, frozen, canned or dried form.
- Aduki beans - small round deep red shiny beans.
- Black eyed beans - white beans which have a black mark on them
- Borlotti beans - pink beans with a mottled colour
-Broad beans - strongly flavoured green beans
-Chick peas - these look like hazelnuts
-Lentils - available as red or green lentils. Puy lentils do not need soaking and hold their shape when cooking
- Red kidney beans - kidney-shaped beans
-Soya beans - small and round and can be black or yellow in colour. Used in the production of textured vegetable protein
-Split peas - yellow in colour and similar to lentils in appearance
Uses of pulses
Pulses have different uses in food preparation.
- Aduki beans, black eyed beans and borlotti beans can be used in stews and casseroles.
- Broad beans are used as a vegetable accompaniment to a main meal.
- Chick peas are the main ingredient in hummus.
-Lentils are used in soups, bakes, cutlets and loaves.
-Red kidney beans are used in chilli con carne.
-Soya beans are used in the production of TVP (textured vegetable protein)
-Split peas are often added to soups to provide extra protein.