The Plant-Based Ingredients Consumers Crave
If you’re looking to upgrade your offerings with plant-based, sustainable ingredients that help meet the consumer demand for flexitarian, eco-friendly meals, pulses are a fantastic go-to. These ingredients are affordable, nutritious, and fit into various types of cuisines, perfect for a well-balanced menu option.
Pulses have been protein staples around the world for generations, and yet they’ve never been more on trend. Being sustainable, vegetarian and gluten-free, and free from the top 9 allergens, pulses are a go-to for swapping less nutrient-dense ingredients for a well-balanced menu. Here are a few ingredient replacement ideas for common food allergies:

Dairy Allergy

Replace milk, cheese, or ice cream with plant-based alternatives made from peas or chickpeas for dairy-free menu items

Egg Allergy

Use the liquid from canned chickpeas (aquafaba) in place of eggs in dressings or desserts, including cakes, meringue, ice creams, or mousse

Peanut Allergy

Roasted chickpeas or lentils are a crunchy, savory substitute for nuts on salads or charcuterie boards


Replace meat with pulse ingredients for a plant-based protein source in vegetarian and vegan meals

Wheat Allergy

Substitute pulse flours for baking, use as a thickener, or use chickpea flour as your base in a frying batter

Soy Intolerance

Use whole pulses or meat alternatives made from pulse ingredients in place of tofu or instead of soy milk

Gluten Sensitivities

Utilize pulse flours, pastas and more as a gluten-free ingredient option
Pulses are also vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and can easily be swapped with less nutrient-dense ingredients for a well-balanced meal on menus. Just one ½ cup serving of pulses is equivalent to one serving of vegetables or a two-ounce serving of meat.

See how pulses and the plant-based category are trending:

Blending with Pulses

More than one-third of consumers consider themselves flexitarians and are actively looking to add plants into their diet. Look beyond vegetarian and add pulse blends to your menus. From beef to sausage to white fish, the swaptions are endless. Try these pairings:
Swap Pork for Kidney, Red, Pinto or Black Beans
Swap Poultry for White Navy, White Kidney, Cannellini or Pinto Beans
Swap Red Fish for White or Pinto beans
Swap Beef for Kidney, Red, Pinto or Black Beans
Swap white fish, shrimp, crab or lobster from White Kidneys Beans
Swap pork for brown or french green lentils
Swap poultry for brown or red lentils
Swap red rish for red lentils
Swap lamb for brown, french, green or beluga lentils
Swap pork for yellow or green dry peas
Swap poultry for yellow or green dry peas
Swap red fish for yellow lentils
Swap poultry for chickpeas
Swap white fish, shrimp, crab or lobster for chickpeas

Buy U.S.-Grown Pulses

U.S. quality, processing and grading standards set us apart from the rest. Buy U.S.-grown pulses for superior service and the quality you and your patrons demand. 
Find a U.S. Pulse Supplier

Head to our U.S. Suppliers Guide. Buying pulses domestically is a more environmentally friendly option and supports local U.S. growers and processors.

Free Foodservice Resources

Our goal is to continuously provide current resources and tips for foodservice operators to effectively add pulse ingredients to their menus and operations. The following resources are free for your use.
Foodservice Guide
Pulses of Change Manual
Culinary Institute of America & USA Pulses Blending Guide

In need of more information? Contact Dr. Ewa Pietrysiak at