Legumes have become a staple for chefs, healthy eaters, and foodies around the world and are an underrated plant in the diets of many people. After all - they’re good for you, taste great, and are super versatile! While they might not always be the focus, many soups, salads, and vegetarian dishes feature legumes in some form. Given their many uses, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most popular legumes.
Here are four of the most popular legumes. See how many you can identify from the hints!
Hint: These protein-packed beans often found in chilis and soups are named after vital organs in the human body.
As one of the most commonly used beans in cooking, these legumes are some of the best for beginner bean enthusiasts. Thanks to their high fiber and protein content, this legume is popular among healthy eaters due to their ability to keep you full and satisfied. Try out this Pasta e Fagioli recipe for a great example of a classic dish that includes kidney beans. They’re relatively easy to prepare so start adding them to your salads, pasta, and more.
Hint: Also called the navy bean or Boston bean, these versatile legumes are super popular in Italian and Mediterranean food!
Whether added whole to recipes, pureed into a dip, or mashed for a side dish, white beans are common lunch and dinner staples. A cup of boiled white beans contains about 15g of protein, making this the perfect ingredient for a post-gym meal or filling mid-day snack. There are many varieties of white beans, but they all benefit from being healthy and delicious members of the legume family.
Hint: These little things pack a nutritious punch! Dating all the way back to before the Roman empire, these legumes were used to helped lay the foundation for modern genetics
Whether as a side dish or part of the main course, peas are a great way to get vitamins, protein, and fiber. Most of the time, peas won’t overpower a dish so you can sprinkle them on as you’d like. These sweet legumes are an easy way to add some veggies to your diet if you’re looking to eat healthier. Check out this list of recipes that can be made with frozen peas. Home gardeners can even try their hand at growing peas themselves.
Did you know peas can either be categorized as a legume or a vegetable? Mature green peas—like dried or split—are usually considered beans, while fresh or frozen green peas are considered vegetables.
The versatility of chickpeas is reflected in their history. Whether they’re found in healthy Biena snacks or are starring in a dish like hummus or chickpea curry, these protein-packed legumes are perfect for any time of the day. Roasted chickpeas provide a crunchy alternative to less healthy snacking options, while puffs are light and airy with delicious flavors including ranch and aged white cheddar. There are now even keto chickpea puffs.