20 Ways to Transform Beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils into Light Vegetarian Dinners
Have you heard? It’s the year of the pulse
! For the uninitiated, pulses are in the legume family and include dry beans, chickpeas, and lentils. A great substitute for meat, they're packed with protein, sustainable, affordable, easy to cook, and most importantly, delicious. And while pulses might seem more suited to cold-weather dishes like soups and stews, they're also perfect for light summer suppers. We're talking salads, burgers, pasta, and more.
Herbed Spaghetti with Tomatoes and White Beans
Top parsley-flecked spaghetti with creamy cannellini beans and fresh cherry-tomato sauce for a summer-ready dinner.
Polenta with White-Bean and Roasted-Pepper Ragout
Silky polenta and smoky piquillo peppers are the perfect partners for white beans in this easy pantry supper.
Stuffed Collard Greens
White beans, spelt, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and fresh sage form the hearty filling for collard greens in this recipe. Homemade tomato sauce ties all the flavors together.
Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, and Celery Salad
Butter beans add creamy heft to this cool, crunchy mixture of celery, fennel, zucchini, and toasted almonds.
Roasted Cauliflower with Flageolets, Turnips, and Pistachios
Flageolet beans are cooked in chicken broth and can be made up to a week in advance. Toss with purple cauliflower, turnips, and pistachios for a colorful dish that’s as balanced as it is beautiful.
Wrap sauteed zucchini and aromatic-spiked black beans in charred corn tortillas for a scrumptious south-of-the-border meal.
Black Bean-Brown Rice Patties
Serve these satisfying, good-for-you patties with romaine lettuce dressed in olive oil and lime juice, sliced avocado and red onions, and sprigs of fresh cilantro.
Black Beans with Rice and Avocado
Spice up beans and rice with smoky cumin and fiery jalapeno and poblano chiles. Temper the heat with cooling avocado and creamy queso fresco, then finish with plenty of fresh cilantro.
One-Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives
All you need is 30 minutes and one pan to get this weeknight wonder on the table. Just boil together orecchiette, chickpeas, olives, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, red-pepper flakes, and water. Finish with nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano and peppery arugula.
Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Dandelion Greens
Chickpeas are super flavorful when marinated in lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and fresh parsley. Toasted almonds, quinoa, scallions, cherry tomatoes, and dandelion greens complete the dish.
Herbed Chickpea Sandwich
Make bruschetta substantial enough for dinner by adding mashed chickpeas, crumbled feta, and fresh dill.
Freekeh with Caramelized Shallots, Chickpeas, and Yogurt
Freekeh is a type of grain made by roasting young green wheat. Its earthy flavor pairs well with the caramelized shallots, chickpeas, fresh cilantro, and pomegranate in this recipe. Serve with a dollop of cooling Greek yogurt.
Our take on the classic parsley salad packs a serious flavor punch, thanks to the addition of blistered tomatoes and toasted bulgur. Bulk it up by stirring in chickpeas.
Curry-Spiced Veggie Burgers
We’re flipping for these Indian-inspired veggie patties that combine pureed chickpeas with scallions, basmati rice, carrots, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and curry-lime yogurt.
Kale and Lentil Bowl with Avocado Dressing
We love the combination of kale, lentils, Cheddar, roasted almonds, and sprouts in this protein bowl. Take it to the next level by tossing in creamy avocado dressing.
French green lentils, brown rice, and cremini mushrooms are the secret ingredients behind these flavor-packed meatless balls. They’re delicious tossed with your favorite pasta and sauce or tucked into a sub.
Lentil Patties with Lettuce and Yogurt
Lentil burgers make tasty lettuce wraps, especially when served alongside cayenne-spiked yogurt, caper berries, red onions, and fresh parsley.
Lentil Salad with Grapes and Feta
Looking for the perfect lunch salad that won’t wilt in the fridge? We’ve got you covered. Pair lentils with toasted walnuts, red grapes, celery, fresh thyme, and feta, then dress with red-wine vinaigrette.
Lentil Cakes with Feta-Yogurt Sauce and Cucumber-Cress Salad
If you like falafel, you’re sure to love these lentil cakes flavored with scallions, harissa, and turmeric. Serve alongside feta-yogurt sauce and mint-flecked cucumber-cress salad, and you’ve got dinner!