No doubt you’ve been looking through recipes or watching some kind of food programming and someone has mentioned legumes. But, when they show what the legumes are you think “those are just beans.”
There is often a lot of confusion with the difference between beans and legumes. Some people think they are two entirely different things. Others believe “beans” and “legumes” are entirely interchangeable.
We wanted to help settle the confusion between these two similar terms so you can learn to eat and cook with both for healthy diet.
Legumes are plants that bear fruit that grows in pods.
Beans are the seed from different varieties of plants, although typically the whole plant is referred to as beans.
Still a little confused? Let’s look at it a different way. Legumes can be broken down into different subsections including: beans, lentils, peas and peanuts. To use an analogy, think of beans as a “peacock” and legumes as “birds”. A peacock is a bird, but other birds aren’t necessarily peacocks. They could be a penguin (lentils), a sparrow (peas) or a heron (peanuts).
In other words: all beans are legumes, but legumes aren’t necessarily beans.
That should explain why green beans aren’t actually beans. Because the fruit of the green bean plant is in a pod, green beans are actually just legumes, not beans.
Some other common legumes that you may have never considered include: asparagus beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas and sugar snap peas.
Is one better than the other?
So, should those looking for a healthy diet try and eat more than the other? Heck no! Since they are from the same family, beans and other legumes have many of the same proven healthy qualities. In fact, beans and legumes are a great pairing! Protein-rich and full of other healthy nutrients and minerals, combining beans and other legumes are a terrific way to eat healthy. Just look at this recipe from our food blogger Ashleigh Evans for a bean and lentil soup.
So, what did we learn? Beans are legumes, but legumes may not be beans. Now that the confusion has been lifted and you are armed with the knowledge of the difference between the two, you can start finding ways to use both in your regular eating habits and diet.
Need some beans to use in your recipes? Why not use the best beans? Randall Beans has a wide selection of traditionally and organically grown beans. Our beans come fully cooked and in a glass jar, keeping them fresher and delicious for longer. Check your local grocery store, or if you can’t find them you can always buy online. Visit our online store and have our beans delivered straight to you.
Try some of our favorite bean recipes like Cinco De Mayo Roasted Corn and Black-eyed Pea Beans Pico, Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes with Chorizo or Southwest Black Bean & Quinoa Salad for dinner tonight!