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A Guide to Types of Legumes

Legumes are grown primarily for human consumption and for livestock feed. A distinctive feature of these plants is that they have a dry fruit with seeds that open on 2 sides, and they are called pods. These fruits are mostly long and narrow, and bear their seeds in a single line.

5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about popular types of legumes which are used in cooking.


The chickpea is an annual legume. It grows up to 8-20 inches high. One seedpod contains 2-3 peas. There are dozens of varieties of chickpeas in the world. They’re used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisine. Chickpeas are also the main ingredient of hummus.


Lentils are a popular legume. It’s an annual plant known for its seeds that grow in pods. Lentils come in a variety of colors, from green and black to orange and yellow. It’s used in a wide variety of dishes around the world, like lentil soup and curry sauce.


Peas are eaten both raw and dried. Dried peas can be sold whole and split. They can be green or yellow and they are used to make pea soup and many other dishes. They are also used in Iranian, Iraqi, Beijing, and Indian cuisine.


Peanuts are classified by botanists as a variety of legume. Peanut pods develop, not above ground but underground, unlike other legumes. Peanuts are usually roasted to be used as food. Peanuts are used to make peanut butter and dishes of Peruvian, Mexican, and Asian, among other world cuisines.

Red kidney beans

Kidney beans come in a variety of colors ranging from black to red. Red kidney beans are the most common variety.

This type of beans contains a large amount of phytohemagglutinin, a plant-based protein. Because of this, it’s more toxic than other varieties of this legume. Therefore, before cooking, it must be soaked first, and then boiled for at least 10 minutes. Just 5 raw beans or one undercooked bean can cause severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Navy beans

The navy bean comes in several varieties, including those with larger and smaller fruits. The seeds are oval and slightly flattened. These beans are used in various soups and pies.

Mung beans

Mung beans are small green seeds. Mung beans resemble green peas but they are much smaller. These beans grow on an annual vine in fuzzy brown pods. Mung beans are used in various dishes from Asian cuisine: they make roasts with it and use them in soups and desserts.

Pinto beans

Pinto beans are small, beige-colored seeds with brown spots. Side dishes, stews, and sauces are made from these beans, and they are also used as the main ingredient in soups.

Fava beans

Fava beans are a species of vetch, a flowering plant in the bean family. These beans can be eaten raw and have a mild, creamy flavor. Dried beans can be used in a wide variety of dishes: they are often mashed, stewed, and used in soups.

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