"pulse pairing"

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados

If this blog title has you scratching your head wondering “what are pulses?” You’re not alone. The term ‘pulses’ isn’t exactly a household name but it is becoming one now that the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP). Indeed, the aim of the IYP campaign is to bring awareness about the benefits of pulses, particularly their nutritional contributions. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Here’s a quick primer on pulses.

dry-beans.jpgPhoto courtesy of USA Pulses

Pulses 101

Pulses are part of the legume family harvested for their dry grain, or seed that is contained inside a pod. Pulses consist of beans, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), lentils and peas (green beans and green peas are not pulses but are classified as vegetable crops). In the nutrition world pulses are well-known for their high nutrient content and are recommended for everybody whether they are carnivores or vegetarians. They are excellent sources of plant protein and dietary fiber. Pulses also boast high amounts of the essential nutrients including potassium (a mineral many Americans are under-consuming), folate, iron and magnesium. 

A Perfect Match  

Pairing California Avocados with pulses brings even more to the nutrition table. The good fats from fresh locally grown avocados are complemented by plant proteins and carbohydrates from pulses. Together they provide a bevy of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. From a dietitian’s perspective this is a win-win. My personal pulse-avocado pairing fave is any dish made with garbanzo beans (or, chickpeas) and avocados. Not only do they taste great together, but I know I’m getting protein from the beans (15 grams per cup), good fats from the avocado (3.5 grams per ounce) and fiber from both (13 grams per cup in the beans and 2 grams per ounce from the avocado)! 

Nutrition aside, from a culinary perspective, California Avocados creamy nature marries well with the heartiness of beans and lentils to make for nearly endless tasty combinations. With California Avocados in peak season available now through early fall, it’s the perfect time to try pairing the fruit with your pulse of choice. Try these California Avocado Pulse-Pairing recipes to find out how nicely these two ingredients can play off of each other in a dish.   

The Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado starts with a base of the ancient whole grain freekeh complemented with lentils, chickpeas and avocado, finishing with a tangy mix of Dijon mustard, lemon juice and cool mint. All that deliciousness for 270 calories, and with 9 grams of fiber and 20% of the Daily Value for iron per serving. 

California Avocado Hummus
If you’re a hummus fan, this is the recipe for you. Avocado lends a nice smooth texture to this simple garbanzo bean based dip. Enjoy with crudités or spread on whole grain toast. You can’t go wrong at 140 calories a serving with zero cholesterol —and it’s low in sodium!

If you’re looking for more of a meal try the California Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich. This vegan friendly recipe makes for a satisfying mid-day meal with 9 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. 

We’d love to hear about your favorite and creative ways you’ve paired California Avocado with pulses. Just leave us a comment below! 

To learn more about pulses, visit PulsePledge.com

Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD

Registered Dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition and health advocate, consultant and communicator. She is a past National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and continues to provide nutrition expertise to television, radio, internet and print media outlets across the country. Prior to becoming a registered dietitian, Giancoli was a television news producer for CNN, Extra! and CBS’s Day & Date. She brings her valuable media know-how and nutrition knowledge together to deliver effective and accurate messages that appeal to all audiences. Her television appearances include NBC Today Show, Access Hollywood Live!, The Doctor’s, E! and numerous other programs. Giancoli is also a freelance nutrition and health writer with articles appearing in Food & Nutrition, The Chicago Tribune, Environmental Nutrition, Kids Eat Right, Quick & Simple, WorldLifestyle.com, Healthline.com. Giancoli is a graduate of UCLA, where she also earned her Master of Public Health.

Andrea is a brand advocate. Their content on the California Avocado Commission website and/or blog is part of their partnership with our organization.

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