Surrender to the benefits of pulses

Their history and traditions stretch back many centuries, but pulses have only recently been rediscovered as a genuine superfood: their unbeatable versatility in the kitchen makes them the perfect choice for nourishing and healthy dishes. Let’s take a look at the benefits of cooking with pulses.

Pulses have been eaten throughout the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Historically, they were seen as a poor man’s food on account of their high protein content and low cost. But can we really say that we know enough about this vital foodstuff?

From a botanical perspective, pulses are defined as edible seeds from plants belonging to the Leguminosae family. There is a wide range of different types, with the most popular in Italy being green beans, broad beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas and lupin beans.

In recent years, soy beans have also experienced a boom following the spike in popularity of vegan diets and products targeted at people with food intolerances. Another unexpected member of the pulse family is the peanut, despite the fact that many of us see the peanut as, well, a nut. In fact, it’s another type of pulse, rich in polyphenols, lipids and oleic acid and containing no LDL cholesterol.

The nutritional benefits of pulses: not just protein

Though often thought of as vegetables, pulses actually belong to their own food group – one with lots of specific nutritional properties.

We’re long been thought of as an important component of vegetarian diets on account of their protein content, but the benefits of pulses don't stop there: they are an excellent source of energy and make you feel full thanks to their high fiber content.

They're also high in folic acid, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Benefits of pulses – Fratelli Carli
Not everybody knows that some of our most beloved Italian dishes, such as rice and peas and pasta with chickpeas, are about more than just a simple combination of flavors. Why? Because cereals – like rice and pasta – are the ideal complement for the nutritional benefits of pulses.
That’s why this combination is found in cuisines all over the world, from North Africa’s couscous with pulses to Mexico's delicious beans and corn tortillas.

Fresh or dried?

As well as there being many different varieties of pulses, they can also be bought in several different ways: fresh, dried or preserved. However, it’s important to remember that each of these different types need to be prepared in different ways.

Pulses benefits – Fratelli Carli

With dried pulses, for example, it’s vital that you first soak them to neutralize the phytic acid they contain, as this substance reduces calcium absorption.

You then need to change the soaking water in order to get rid of any scum before you cook them.

When it comes to fresh pulses, on the other hand, it’s important to adhere to the specified cooking time – first and foremost in order to promote digestibility.

One of the best ways to preserve all the nutrients and benefits contained in pulses is to add aromatic herbs while they're cooking. Wild fennel, bay leaves and rosemary also work well and stop you from feeling bloated, while chili is another good bet as it speeds up the digestion process.

Pulses benefits and properties – Fratelli Carli

It’s advisable to avoid eating pulses with other high-protein foods like meat and eggs. You’re better off pairing them with cereals – it’ll all come together much better and make for a better meal. 

Nature on the table: recipes and inspirations

Lots of varieties, lots of ideas! Get inspired by the creative potential of pulses: with the right additions and a touch of creativity, the possibilities are endless.
Pulses properties and benefits – Fratelli Carli

For instance, pulses can be used to make gluten-free flour. There are more and more types of gluten-free flour on the shelves nowadays, including chickpea flour, bean flour and lentil flour. Alternatively, pulses can be used to make unusual sweet treats such as a creamy dessert made from black beans, sugar and cocoa powder.

When autumn comes, our Soup with pulses and cereals accompanied by polenta mounds offers a great, warming alternative to your standard soup.

Incorporating pulses into your daily diet is simple: all it takes is a little organization and a few delicious recipes, which you can tweak and change each time you make them!