Types of Legumes

Source of Protein and Fiber

Different types of legumes offer vegetarians culinary versatility that lead the way to a number of cuisines. These little beans offer more than just variety, though. Legumes provide protein and fiber to a balanced diet, making them a favorite among vegetarians.

Black Beans

Black beans are a popular choice for Mexican dishes, soups, stews, and black beans and rice. The beans offer approximately 15 grams of protein in just one cup. However, these tasty beans offer more than protein and fiber when it comes to nutrition. They also contain antioxidants and more omega-3 fatty acids than any other bean. Black beans are a perfect menu choice for families because they taste good and are good for you!

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas have long been a Southern culinary favorite, and many vegetarians have learned that they make a great addition to salads and are also ideal for main dishes such as bean cakes. They taste good in curry dishes and casseroles, too. Black-eyed peas are also known by the names:

  • Cowpeas
  • Cherry beans
  • China peas
  • Frijoles
  • Indian peas

Lentils

Lentils are a small, oval-shaped legume commonly found in hearty soups, stews, and other side dishes. They are an ideal choice for a quick meal because they take less cooking time than other legumes. Brown or green lentils are the most popular choices because they retain their shape in recipes.

Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are famous for their distinct firm texture and "nutty" taste. They are used for vegetarian favorites such as hummus and falafel, and they also make a nutritious addition to soups and salads. Not only do they supply protein and fiber to the diet; every five grams of beans serves up six milligrams of iron.

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a common ingredient in Mexican fare and are often served with rice, in soups, and in chili. They are another source of dietary fiber and fat-free protein. The beans also offer:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Manganese
  • Tryptophan
  • Folate

Edamame

Edamame is a newcomer to the diets of many vegetarians. These green soybeans are a versatile legume and go well in everything from soups to casseroles to pasta dishes. They even make a nutritious, protein-packed snack. Edamame provides 11 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup of shelled beans.

Preparing Types of Legumes

Learning to incorporate different types of legumes into your diet for meatless protein isn't hard, but it does take a little bit of planning. Most legumes can be purchased prepackaged, in bulk bins at your local health-food store, or in the canned-foods section at the grocery store. Canned legumes take the least amount of time to prepare because they are already cooked, but dried legumes should be rinsed thoroughly and soaked overnight for best results and shorter cooking times.

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Types of Legumes