Dry Beans, Split Peas, Lentils and Soya

These foods, also called pulses, have a unique combination of nutrients and have many health benefits.

They are easy to find and the canned products are equally as good. They are economical and can be used in many ways. Try to include them in your eating plans.

There are lots of different pulses: baked beans, sugar beans, butter beans lentils and soya, all of these can be bought as a dry bean or product. They are economical, easy to keep for long periods in a dry cupboard and easy to cook. Most beans can also be bought relatively inexpensive in a can, of which the most common product is baked beans. Other beans which can be bought in cans are sugar beans, butter beans and cannellini beans, all of these are available in most grocery stores.

Lentils is an interesting pulse and lend a different flavour to a dish. The most common lentils available in the shop are the common orange lentils but brown lentils are also available at most stores. Lentils can be successfully added to meat dishes to increase the volume, especially stews and can also be used to thicken the sauce.

Split peas or dried peas again are inexpensive, easy to keep, cook and prepare. Split peas make a lovely thick soup or can be eaten as a vegetable dish.

Traditionally all pulses had to be soaked overnight before cooking. Some of these products can now be bought as ready-soaked and takes no longer than rice to cook.

Guidelines for including dry beans, split peas, lentils and soya in your diet

  • Can be eaten instead of meat as it is cost-effective and a successful protein-replacement
  • Eat in mixed dishes, such as a beef-and-bean stew, samp and beans, or vegetable-and-bean soup, or dishes such as curried beans or bean salad
  • Beans can be used to ‘stretch’ a meat dish, use half mince and half beans in a dish. This means that the volume will increase and more portions can be served for a larger family

Examples of uses

  • A lentil dish with north-african flavouring is a great money-saver for a family
  • Baked beans can be included as a salad to be eaten at lunch time
  • Baked beans on toast makes an excellent snack, breakfast
  • Beans could be used as an ingredient in a mixed dish in the evening
  • Pea and bacon soup on a cold winter’s night, soak peas overnight to enable a fast preparation of the dish on the following night