How to Cook Dry Pulses, A Source of Vegan Protein, In 3 EASY Steps

The food we eat contains various kinds of nutrients that work together to give us energy and keep our bodies functioning well:

  • The macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) are known as “energy nutrients” because they provide us with calories.
  • The micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) promote normal growth and development, help release energy from food and keep us healthy by fighting infection and protecting against cell damage.
Pulse Canada, the national association of growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulses, reports that there are 11 types of pulses grown worldwide, recognized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Pulses are the dried edible seeds of certain plants in the legume family, and they play an important role in the transformation of food systems to provide consumers with healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary choices. The four main types of pulses grown in Canada are dry peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas.

Pulses are consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground into flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch.

Including: adzuki, black, kidney, navy, pinto, fava, mung, lima, cranberry, great northern

¼ cup dry = ½ cup cooked
Traditional Soak: Pour enough cool water over beans to cover completely. Soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain soaking water and rinse beans with cool water.
Quick Soak: Place 1 cup of beans in a large pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes then remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain soaking water and rinse beans in cool water.
Simmer on low for 45 minutes–2 hours.

Black Beans ½ cup 8 grams
Kidney Beans ½ cup 8 grams
Lima Beans ½ cup 5 grams
Mung Beans ½ cup 7 grams
Pinto Beans ½ cup 8 grams

Protein Tip: Studies show that a 130 pound woman needs 65 grams of protein in a day to maintain a balanced diet. If trying to build muscle, then aim for 130 grams per day. A man’s protein intake should be 0.8 grams per pound that he weighs. Vegan bodybuilders and professional athletes often add protein supplements on top of protein-rich diets.


 Garbanzo beans

¼ cup dry = ½ cup cooked
Soak your chickpeas!
Overnight Soak: Use three cups of cold water for each cup of chickpeas, let stand for 8–24 hours and drain.
Quick Soak: Use three cups of cold water for each cup of chickpeas, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour, drain.
Simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours.

Chickpeas ½ cup 7 grams

Protein Tip: As well as providing calories, protein supplies the building blocks (amino acids) we need to grow and to maintain and repair body tissues. It is important to consume protein every day, as our skin and organs are constantly making new cells.


 Including: green, red, small brown, black

¼ cup dry = ½ cup cooked
Rinse lentils with water; no need to soak.
Combine lentils and water, bring to a boil. For every cup of lentils, use 2.5 cups of water.
Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until tender.

Lentils, cooked ½ cup 9 grams

Protein Tip: Protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrate, so including a source of protein at meals keep you feeling full longer and can help with appetite control.

 Including: split green, split yellow, whole green, whole yellow

¼ cup dry = ½ cup cooked
Rinse split peas with water; no need to soak.
Combine split peas and water, bring to a boil. For every cup of split peas, use 2 cups of water.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Peas 1 cup 8 grams

Protein Tip: Protein-rich foods are important sources of iron and zinc and also supply magnesium and B vitamins.

You may also like reading ‘The Vegan Pantry: What Does An Everyday Vegan Eat? Tap HERE for this article.

The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is in no way intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical or other health condition. Your use of the content is at your sole discretion. The content does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a licensed practitioner or health care provider.

Resources: Pulse Canada, Dietitians of Canada
Photo Credit: Eartha Lowe