2016: Year of the Pulse

March 2016

According to the United Nations, 2016 is officially the year of the pulse. If you’re wondering what this means for you and your menu, you’ve come to the right place.

Pulses are “grain legumes” such as beans, lentils and peas, harvested for dry grain. They’re generally high in fiber, iron and antioxidants, and they work well with today’s gluten-free, high-protein diet trends. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations chose to highlight pulses for 2016 because of their positive impact on health as well as the environment. They’re considered to be a critical part of a healthy diet, and they can also help to increase soil fertility.

Keeping a pulse on pulses can be beneficial for your patrons’ health as well as your bottom line. The United nations deemed 2013 the year of quinoa, and since then sales of this tiny grain have grown by 160%. Plus, pulses are typically extremely cost-effective menu solutions. If pulses aren’t already a part of your menu, stay ahead of the trend and add them now. Use these recipes for inspiration:

  • Mediterranean Power Salad: Play up the pulses in this refreshing salad featuring roasted garbanzo beans, turkey medallions, kale, baby spinach, pistachios and quinoa pasta shells layered together and drizzled with a zesty blood orange vinaigrette.
  • Easy White Chili: Use dried beans instead of canned to pulse-ify this tasty chili recipe featuring turkey medallions, green chilies, jalapeños and more.
  • Peas with Turkey Bacon and Onions: Substitute dried peas for frozen to costs and include more pulses on your menu with this flavorful side dish.

Find more innovative recipes in Butterball’s Culinary Center, and be sure to browse the Resource Center to keep a pulse on up-and-coming foodservice trends.


Taylor, Kate. Chefs and the UN believe this grain almost no one has heard of is going to be the biggest food trend of 2016, Business Insider. November 19, 2015.

Krummert, Bob. Trendinista: Chickpeas, lentils and beans could be the next quinoa, Restaurant Hospitality. December 14, 2015.

Get diners’ pulses racing in 2016, Sustainable Restaurant Association.

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