Naturally Good Food


Wholefoods Pulses

2016 UN Year of Pulses

UN 2016: the year of pulses

In its review of pulses, the UN states: 'Pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical part of the general food basket.  Pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet to address obesity, as well as to prevent and help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer; they are also an important source of plant-based protein for animals.'

Here you can find a great range of organic pulses. For the traditional vegetarian, pulses are a mainstay, while for non-vegetarians,they offer a great way to a more healthy and a cheaper diet.

Search the full range of organic pulses, most of which are to Soil Association organic standard, and have them deliverd to your door. There are smaller 500g packs, as well as 5kg and often 25kg sacks, suitable for catering or for very large stews.

Included in our range of organic pulses are:

Aduki beans Haricot beans  
Black-eyed beans Mung beans  
Butter beans Red kidney beans  
Chickpeas Soya beans  
Flagolet beans    

For organic lentils see the Lentil and split pea section, while the full list of other organic pulses can be viewed below. Why not save time with some tinned beans in your cupboard too?


What are pulses?

Pulses are nutritious, tasty and an important part of your diet! They include peas, beans and lentils, all plants belonging to the 'Leguminosae' plant group, which gets its name from the pod, or legume, that protects the seed. There are some 13,000 species in this plant group. Pulses or legumes generally prefer warmer climates, but there are varieties that are grown in temperate regions.


As organic farming was the norm until relatively recently, man has been eating organic pulses for many thousands of years. Indeed, lentils were one of the first plants ever to be domesticated by man.


Why organic pulses?

There are a number of good reasons to choose organic pulses. These include the following:

  • With soya beans and other legumes now such an important crop, and with much of the world's production now based on GM technology, it is vital to keep a non-GM pool of plants in production.
  • Chemicals that are 'sprayed' during the farming process will end up concentrated in the skins of beans and legumes. For those beans and legumes that are designed to be eaten with their shells on, it is especially important to eat organic.

Why are organic pulses good for you?

Organic pulses are a valuable part of your diet, as they have a higher protein content than most other plants. Additionally they may well be the way forward for the environment as they provide much more food value per field than cattle. For the full benefits, see the guide below to individual pulses.

Sprouting organic pulses

Many whole pulses, such as aduki beans, chickpeas, whole lentils, mung and soya beans, can be sprouted, increasing their nutritional value.

Guide and Recipes

Organic pulses guide

We sell a wide range of organic pulses, including:


Aduki beans (Adzuki beans): a great little bean, renowned for its health properties. Aduki beans are small, reddish-brown beans, rounded in shape, with a point at one end. Our organic aduki beans have a strong, nutty, sweet flavour. Aduki beans are a good addition to your store-cupboard, as they are smaller than many beans and so have a shorter cooking time.

These beans are similar to most beans in that they are high in soluble fibre, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper and B vitamins. Aduki beans are packed with protein and have been seen as a 'weight loss' bean by some nutritionists, being low in calories and fat, but high in nutrition. Our Crazy Jack organic aduki beans come from the USA.


Black-eyed beans: black-eyed beans (or black-eyed peas) have a smooth texture and a pea-like flavour. They are good mixed with other vegetables. Our organic black-eyed beans are a great source of soluble fibre, and contain many essential minerals, including potassium, copper, phosphorous and manganese.

Black-eyed beans are not only low in fat, but, when combined with grains, supply high-quality protein that provides a healthy alternative to meat or other animal protein.

Butter beans: a flat white bean, our organic butter beans are a good store-cupboard line, working well in numerous dishes. Butter beans have a high soluble fibre content, which is associated with lower cholesterol levels. 

Butter beans are also known as Lima beans.

Butter beans are a very good source of the trace mineral manganese, and boost the enzymes important for energy production and antioxidant defense. Butter beans also contain the trace mineral molybdenum. As with all beans, you should not eat them raw.


Chickpeas: chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans, Indian peas, ceci beans and Bengal gram) are among the earliest cultivated vegetable; man has eaten organic chickpeas for some 7,500 years. Organic chickpeas are a very versatile vegetable: not only are they the basis for hummus, but they can be eaten as a simple accompaniment or as the basis of a high-protein curry.

Chickpeas are a rich source of iron and, as with other pulses, of soluble fibre. They are also low in fat, and a fine source of tryptophan, which converts to the 'feel good' neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

Flageolet beans: flageolet beans are rightly popular in France. A small, kidney-shaped bean with an attractive light green colour and a creamy texture, these are a great source of fibre, protein and carbohydrate. Flageolet beans are a very versatile bean, going well with lamb, fish and chicken.

Haricot beans: our organic haricot beans are oval shaped and flattened, with a pure white skin. Haricot beans are relatively mild in flavour, but can add to and enrich many dishes. As with all beans, they make an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Haricot beans have many other names, including Boston beans, navy beans and pearl beans. In common with other beans, they are not only good for you, but good for the soil, as they fix nitrogen into the earth and enrich it.




Mung beans: our organic mung beans are small, cylindrical beans with a bright green skin. Mung beans are often sprouted, tasting like young peas, and are great in stir fries - just take care not to over-cook these delicate beans! Mung beans are very low in calories, so are ideal if you want to lose weight.

Pinto beans: pinto beans are part of the red kidney family and make an excellent replacement for kidney beans in a chilli. Our organic pinto beans are beige with light brown streaks, but when cooked, will turn a uniform brown. Pinto beans are often used to make refried beans.

Red kidney beans: as you would expect from their name, these are kidney-shaped beans and are perhaps best known as an ingredient in chilli. They are also great in numerous simmering dishes, where their ability to absorb flavours and keep their shape is valued. Our organic red kidney beans provide an good source of folate, dietary fibre, manganese, protein, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K. As Crazy Jack point out on their site, dried red kidney beans MUST be cooked properly before eating. It is simple to do, but takes a little time – soak the beans in cold water for five to eight hours, then discard the water and rinse the beans in fresh water. Cover again in water and bring to the boil. Boil for ten minutes then continue to simmer for 45-60 minutes. The beans will then be cooked and ready to eat! Our organic red kidney beans come from Crazy Jack.


Soya beans: we sell Crazy Jack organic soya beans from the USA. Soya beans are small and white, and are very popular and versatile. They absorb flavours well and can be added to any dishes with strong sauces or flavour to provide texture and added protein. Soya beans must be cooked thoroughly before eating. Soak the beans in cold water for 12 hours, then discard the water and rinse the beans in fresh water. Cover again in water and bring to the boil. Boil for one hour, then continue to simmer for two to three hours.

Dried or canned pulses

We offer both dried organic pulses and organic pulses in tins. Each have their place and each have their advantages and disadvantages:

  • Canning does not affect the protein content of the pulses.
  • Fresh pulses contain vitamin C; this falls after harvesting, and is almost all lost in dried pulses. Canned pulses can retain about half of their vitamin C.
  • Tinned pulses are ready to eat - you just need to open the tin.
  • Dried pulses are much cheaper, but they need soaking, often overnight, and can take a much longer time to cook.
  • Dried pulses can have a lower environmental footprint, as there are no cans to recycle and less weight to transport.
  • Some pulses are canned in salt water; if you want to avoid this, use your own dried pulses.
  • Dried pulses will last very well if stored properly.


Our full range of tinned organic pulses can be seen in our tinned bean range.


Don't forget that pulses are gluten-free, so if you are gluten-intolerant, eating pulses is not a problem.

Benefits of eating pulses

There are many reasons for including beans as part of your regular diet:

  • They taste great – food that has no taste is a waste! Beans have texture, colour and flavour, all of which can be exploited to make your food more interesting. With the great variety of beans available, you can always find the colour and texture you want.
  • Beans are a good source of protein – this is particularly important for vegetarians. If you are on a tight budget and want to eat organic, then organic beans make a sensible choice.
  • Beans are a high-fibre food. We all know that eating a high-fibre diet is good for you - in addition, a high-fibre diet makes you feel full, so maintaining a healthy body weight is easier.
  • Beans use more calories to be digested. You can eat more calories if they are in bean form than in a more readily absorbed form such as refined sugar. So you can enjoy lots of organic beans and not worry about your weight!
  • Beans are good for your blood sugar level, as the sugars in the food are released slowly and you don’t get that 'sugar high'.
  • Beans are packed full of nutrients that your body needs, including B vitamins, calcium and potassium.
  • Beans are cheap – even the most expensive beans are relatively cheap!
  • Beans store really well; buy in bulk and you never need to run out.

For an all-round store-cupboard item, beans and pulses make the ideal choice. They can be used in soups, stews, casseroles and, of course, salads.

In a study of almost 10,000 men and women in the USA, those who ate pulses four or more times a week had a 22% lower risk of coronary heart disease and an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular events than those who ate pulses less than once a week. It appears that this health benefit was independent of other health habits, as adjustments of other important elements of cardiovascular disease resulted in minimal change in the risk estimates. (Source: Bazzano L. A., He J., Ogden L. G., Loria C., Vupputuri S., Myers L., Whelton P. K., 2001; Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women; Arch Intern Med. 161: 2573-2578.)

Organic pulses: hints and tips

Here is a list of tips and hints on pulses that we have picked up over the years. With the help of some of these tips, you can use organic pulses without paying a great price premium over conventional pulses.

  • Reducing flatulence: changing the cooking water during the cooking of dried pulses is said to reduce the effects of flatulence. (This may not be the sort of hint to be passed on, as surely one of the joys of pulses is the wind impact?!)
  • Pulses tend to have a very similar nutritional value, so try experimenting with inter-changing them in recipes.
  • When using different beans requiring different cooking times in a recipe, try pre-cooking those that need a longer process.
  • Add a handful of aduki beans to your rice: they will turn the rice a light pink, and provide added texture and sweetness.
  • Haricot beans are very good at absorbing flavours, so are great added to any savoury dish with a rich sauce.
  • Haricot beans make a delicious addition to a stew, and help bulk it out so that you don’t need to serve rice or potatoes.
  • Check your beans for even size: for example, our chickpeas are especially graded to ensure that they are a uniform size, meaning that they will cook evenly. Some suppliers allow a large degree of variation in size, which can result in an uneven 'grainy' finish to the chickpeas, making them unpalatable.
  • When cooking lentils, replace the water with a stock of your choice. You can also add bay leaves, thyme, garlic or chopped onion to the pan while cooking, for extra flavour. Or fry the lentils with a dollop of butter or good olive oil. Delicious!
  • Combine cooked kidney beans with black beans and white beans to make a colourful three bean salad. Mix with tomatoes and spring onions and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine cooked kidney beans with garlic, cumin and chilli peppers for a delicious spread that can be used as a crudité dip or sandwich filling. 
  • Make tacos with a vegetarian twist by using organic kidney beans in place of minced meat.
  • To increase the protein content of home-made vegetable soup, add a handful of lentils. Our organic red lentils will cook the quickest and break down more, while the brown lentils will keep their shape and provide more body. In combination, they can add great variety to a dish.
  • Next time you have a barbecue, make a bean or chickpea salad and just watch it disappear.
  • Red lentils are a fast food: there is no need to pre-soak them, just use!
  • Try buying a pressure cooker: if you eat lots of beans, it does cut down the cooking time and saves fuel.
  • Try using bean-based flours in cooking.
  • If you are using our organic beans and pulses in a stew, mash a couple of the beans to thicken the sauce and add body and flavour.

See our Hints and Tips PDF on Pulses.

Organic pulses: recipe ideas

There are a huge number of recipes that use organic pulses:



Showing 1 to 4 of 4
Blackeye Beans - 500g

Item price: £1.40

5 for £6.30 £1.26 ea

Butter Beans - 500g

Butter Beans - 500g



Item price: £2.59

5 for £11.65 £2.33 ea

Chick Peas - 500g

Chick Peas - 500g


organic dairy free

Item price: £2.64

5 for £11.90 £2.38 ea

Haricot Beans - 500g

Haricot Beans - 500g


organic dairy free

Item price: £1.47

5 for £6.60 £1.32 ea

At Naturally Good Food we look to offer the best wholefoods
and free-from foods to match your larder and your purse.

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