Home > Freezing > How to Freeze Pulses

How to Freeze Pulses

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 21 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
How To Freeze Pulses

Pulses – a group that includes chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, split peas and cannellini beans – are easy to freeze in bulk. Cooking dried pulses is far cheaper than buying in tins, and if you cook plenty at once then it’s easy to stash some in the freezer. Try one of our delicious pulse recipes or ideas.

Which Pulses Can You Freeze?

You can freeze all types of pulse – from lentils to kidney beans. They should be soaked and thoroughly cooked first. To ensure that toxins are removed, the Food Standards agency advises boiling pulses hard for 10 minutes, then simmering them until tender. Cooked pulses should be cooled before being put into bags and labelled for the freezer.

What Can You Use Pulses For?

Once you have a stash of cooked pulses in the freezer, you can use them in the same way as tinned pulses. Throw some chickpeas into a spicy lamb stew, use kidney beans in chilli, or thaw some cannellini beans and crush with garlicky olive oil to make a protein-rich ‘mash’ to accompany rib-eye steaks.

Pulses are a valuable form of protein, especially for vegetarians. So don’t restrict yourself to freezing plain cooked pulses. Try them in recipes: five-bean chilli is a rich source of vitamins, and tastes great straight from the freezer. Our delicious Aloo Chole (below) is a nutritious main meal, especially served with rice and a green vegetable. And if you have a bag of frozen chickpeas available, you can make homemade hummus in a jiffy: just add garlic, tahini paste, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Recipe: Authentic Aloo Chole

This lovely chickpea curry makes a good accompaniment to meat or vegetable curries – or a substantial main dish. It will sit in the freezer for a few months, and is easy to reheat from frozen – just put the foil container directly into a hot oven for 30 minutes, and serve with rice or naan.

For cooking the pulses:
  • 250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green cardamom pods, split
  • 8 dried cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp salt
  • Pinch of asafoetida
For the sauce:
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2” fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 350g tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • 75g fresh coriander, chopped

Soak the chickpeas overnight; in the morning, drain them and put into a large pan. Cover with fresh water. Add the chopped onion, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, cumin seeds, salt and asafoetida to the water and bring to the boil. Boil hard for 10 minutes; remove any froth from the top of the water, then turn down the heat and cook for another 50 minutes, or until the chickpeas are just tender. Drain them, removing the larger spices and reserving the cooking water.

To make the sauce, puree ONE onion with the garlic and ginger in a food processor. Warm the oil in a large saucepan and add the remaining chopped onion. Cook over a low heat for about 25 minutes, until it is evenly golden-brown. Add the pureed onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, or until the sauce starts to separate slightly.

Tip in the diced potato with the chickpeas and their cooking water. Bring the mixture to simmering point and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the potato pieces are just tender. Add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve immediately. If freezing, cool the curry thoroughly before ladling it into foil containers, labelling, and putting into the freezer.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Milly
    Re: How to Store and Cook Leftover Vegetables
    Have cooked chopped butternut squash. onions, peppers ,mushrooms and sweet potato. Can I freeze what I dont use?
    24 September 2020
  • Ell_Cee
    Re: Defrosting Food Safely
    I froze chicken before the use by date. Yesterday I defrosted it & left it in the fridge 24hrs, the use by date is past (7th July, it is…
    12 July 2020
  • Suzette
    Re: Dry and Store Tomatoes and Fruit
    Hi, I’m new to growing and saving fruit and vegetables. Thank you for the tips/advice on your site. What’s the best way to…
    1 July 2020
  • Lou
    Re: How to Freeze Cakes and Baked Goods
    Hi I'm really stuck got loads of fresh strawberries x I want to make strawberry sponges x and strawberry muffins can I…
    9 June 2020
  • Kell
    Re: Defrosting Food Safely
    I put chicken breasts in fridge to defrost last night but when I checked this morning I hadn't them fully covered? Can I still use them
    1 April 2020
  • Pat
    Re: How to Freeze Cakes and Baked Goods
    Can home made treacle cakes be frozen. If yes, for how long?
    24 March 2020
  • Di.
    Re: How to Store and Cook Leftover Vegetables
    I juice veggies, How long can you refrigerate or freeze vegetable pulp ??
    4 March 2020
  • Sandwiches71
    Re: How to Pickle Onions
    I’ve dry brined the onions for 16hrs, rinsed well and left to dry. The onions are soft, should I bin and start again? Thanks
    27 November 2019
  • Denise
    Re: Recipes for Cakes to Freeze
    I am interested to know whether I can freeze a strawberry cake with fresh whipped cream in a crystal dish for two weeks
    6 October 2019
  • Marla
    Re: How to Freeze Dairy Products
    I love your ice cream as we just moved to Fountain Hills from Anacortes WA area. I also love the San Juan Friday Harbor ice cream…
    27 September 2019