Pulses and Legumes in Restaurants: Their Role and Uses

Nick Mirev
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    As pulses are one the most important sources of protein, they play an important role in food manufacturing and the restaurant industry. Business owners find suppliers of wholesale legumes as they aim to answer the increasing demand for vegan options in restaurants. Furthermore, many legumes are used in the food manufacturing industry as well. For example, chocolate producers often buy carob wholesale as it can be a healthier and gluten-free substitute for cocoa in sweets. In this blog post, we’ll dive a little deeper into the role of legumes in restaurants. If you’re interested in the various types of pulses, make sure to check our articles on wholesale chickpeas or lupins wholesale. They are part of our series on legumes.

    The Most Popular Legumes in Restaurants

    Although there are nearly 20,000 species known in the legume family, only a handful of them play a role in the economy. Let’s dive a little deeper into the main types of legumes in restaurants.

    • Lentils. They are among the most nutritious plant-based proteins known. It’s no wonder that they are sometimes referred to as ‘poor man's meat’. The lentil is an important ingredient in many cultures. It’s used extensively in Indian and South Asian cuisines. Lentils come in various colors and flavors. They are used primarily in soups and stews. As lentils are among the most used legumes in restaurants, businesses often buy them in bulk in order to benefit from wholesale prices.
    • Beans. There are multiple varieties of beans. Black and kidney beans are among the most popular in the US. Other well-known types include Cannellini, cranberry, and navy beans. Businesses in food manufacturing and food service industries purchase wholesale beans as that helps them reduce the cost of goods sold.
    • Chickpeas. Hummus, one of the most popular dishes in Middle Eastern countries, is made of chickpeas. You’ll often see this legume in restaurants that focus on ethnic food and cuisine. These include Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Indian restaurants. Besides hummus and other dips, chickpeas can also be used in stews and curries. Chana dal is a type of black chickpea that has been peeled and split.
    • Soybeans. They are the most popular legume in the US. Soybeans have multiple applications. As soybeans can be used not only for food but also to make plant-based milk, they play an important role in the food and beverage industries and multiple businesses purchase wholesale soy.
    • Peas. From black-eyed peas to regular green ones, they are used extensively in the food industry. Both restaurants and manufacturers purchase wholesale peas.
    Key takeaway: Pulses play a vital role in the food service industry. They are nutritious and rich in protein. Since more people go vegan and legumes can be a great meat alternative, their consumption is likely to increase in the near future.
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    The Role of Legumes in Restaurants

    The increased focus on vegetarian dishes and sustainability has increased the popularity of legumes in restaurant menus. There are multiple ways restaurants can benefit from the increased consumption of pulses. Here are a few.

    1. Menu diversification. Offering a wide variety of dishes is important for food service establishments. As there are many types of legumes, they can be great ingredients for various dishes.
    2. Plant-based protein. Pulses are very rich in protein. This makes them an excellent ingredient for vegan food. As more people aim to reduce meat consumption, the role of legumes in restaurants will become even more important.
    3. Texture and flavor. The variety of textures of different types of grains and legumes can be utilized by restaurants. For example, they can use crunchy chickpeas for salads or purchase lentils wholesale and use them for hearty stews.
    4. Versatility. Pulses can serve multiple purposes in a restaurant. They can be a side dish or an ingredient in many of the menu items.
    5. Locally sourced ingredients. A lot of consumers aim to purchase locally. That lowers the ecological footprint and helps the local community. Restaurants can easily find the most popular pulses from local producers.
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    7 Popular Dishes with Legumes

    As they are an important source of protein, legumes are part of many dishes. Allow us to briefly share some of the most popular ones.

    1. Hummus. This dip is made of blended chickpeas combined with lemon juice, olive oil, and other ingredients.
    2. Dal. It’s also referred to as lentil curry. This is one of the most well-known dishes in Indian cuisine. It’s a spiced lentil curry that is often combined with rice.
    3. Black bean soup. This hearty dish combines the texture of black beans with other ingredients such as meat and vegetables.
    4. Falafel. These fried balls are usually made of chickpeas. They are among the popular vegetarian options not only in the Mediterranean region but also in the West.
    5. Lentil soup. Lentils are the main ingredient in this dish. Besides them, different cultures add different components like carrots, potatoes, and meat to the lentil soup.
    6. Chana masala. Also known as chole, this dish is among the most popular ones in Indian cuisine. It’s a chickpea curry that includes onion, tomatoes, and other ingredients. 
    7. Edamame salad. It’s a traditional Japanese dish. It’s made of immature soybeans still in their pods.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Legumes in Restaurants

    Although pulses have been known for millennia, there is still a lot that people don’t know about their properties and the role of legumes in the restaurant business. Below we’ve shared the answers to some of the popular questions on the topic.

    What Are the Benefits of Legumes?

    The main reason for their popularity is that pulses combine affordability with high nutritional value. That’s why, along with wholesale grains, they are one of the most consumed food groups worldwide. Pulses also play a role in many diets. For example, carob sweets are considered to be healthier alternatives to regular chocolate. In addition, legume crops are rich in dietary fiber and proteins. Some of them are even considered to be superfoods.

    What Are the Other Uses of Legumes?

    Besides human consumption, legume crops have multiple other applications. They are used as forage crops and for manufacturing animal feed products. Some legume species can be used to produce dye or thickening agents. Even though lupin beans play a role in culinary and animal feed, the blooms of lupins are also traded within the flower industry. They come in various colors and can be seen in gardens all over the world. Popular legumes like beans and lentils play an important role in the transition to a sustainable economy. That’s because they are a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to meat. As more and more people strive to lower their impact on nature, lentils and other legumes are likely to be even more consumed in the future.

    What Is the Role of Legumes in the Economy?

    According to researchers, the global market size of the legume industry was around eleven billion US dollars. That makes it one of the major subcategories in the field of food and consumer staples. What makes them important is they are a rich source of vital nutrients. In fact, legumes are a main source of protein used for both animal and human food. Legumes are also important in the agriculture industry. They are used in crop rotation as they have significant nitrogen-fixing properties. Stems and leaves of legume plants can also be used as green manure.

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