We all know beans are one of the most versatile and nutritious foods available, but did you realize there are so many different types?
This article will explore the various kinds of beans available and their unique flavors and textures.
Whether you want to expand your culinary horizons or add more plant-based protein, beans should be part of the mix.
So read on to discover black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, soybeans, and many other surprising varieties you may not have tried – each with distinctive taste, shape, and cooking characteristics to inspire your next meal.
What Are Beans?
Beans are a type of legume revered for their nutritional richness and culinary versatility.
As seeds found inside pods, beans exhibit various shapes and sizes, each offering unique flavors and textures.
Nutritionally, beans are powerhouses.
They boast substantial protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
For those seeking plant-based protein sources, beans are an excellent option, catering to vegans and vegetarians alike.
Additionally, the high fiber content in beans supports digestive health and can contribute to managing cholesterol levels.
Beans have gained fame for their diverse tastes and applications.
From the robust and dark-colored black beans prominent in Latin American cuisine to the kidney beans, renowned for their contribution to hearty chili recipes, each variety adds its distinct character to dishes.
Beyond their gustatory appeal, beans play a significant role in sustainable agriculture.
As nitrogen-fixing plants, they enrich the soil naturally, reducing the need for extensive synthetic fertilizers and promoting environmentally friendly cultivation practices.
Different Types of Beans
Beans are one of the most versatile and nutritious foods available, found in a wide variety of types.
Different bean varieties differ in taste, texture, and the cooking time they require. Some common bean varieties are:
Type #1: Black Beans
Black beans are small, oval-shaped beans with dark black skin.
They are loaded with nutrients like protein, fiber, folate, and minerals and are traditionally used in Latin American dishes like burritos, tacos, and Cuban black bean soup.
Type #2: Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are dark brown or reddish brown and larger than most other types of beans.
They get their name from their resemblance to kidneys.
They are perfect for thick, hearty chili and stews due to their meaty texture after cooking.
Type #3: Navy Beans
Navy beans are small, cream-colored, oval-shaped beans.
They are a good source of fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and folate and are commonly used in baked bean dishes, soups, and stews.
Type #4: Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are mottled beige beans with brown speckles.
They are an excellent source of folate, plant-based protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals.
Type #5: Lima Beans
When cooked, Lima beans are large, flat green or white beans with a buttery flavor and creamy texture.
They have a higher starch content, which helps thicken soups and stews.
Lima beans pair well with other beans, potatoes, vegetables, and grains.
Type #6: Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans are large white kidney beans high in protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and other nutrients.
Their creamy texture and mild flavor work well in casseroles, stews, and salads and pair with Mediterranean herbs and spices.
Type #7: Adzuki Beans
Adzuki beans are small red beans commonly used in Asian cuisine.
They are high in protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, have a slightly sweet flavor, and turn creamy when cooked.
They pair well with flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
Type #8: Mung Beans
Mung beans are small green beans commonly used in Asian cooking.
They are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and lots of minerals.
Mung beans have a mild flavor that becomes nuttier after cooking.
Mung beans are the second fastest-growing plant in the world, germinating and sprouting within a week.
Type #9: Red Lentils
Red lentils are tiny red seeds that are pulses, not true beans.
They are high in plant-based protein, fiber, iron, and other minerals.
In Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, red lentils are commonly used in stews, soups, and dals because they break down and thicken liquids after cooking.
Type #10: Fava Beans
Fava beans, or broad beans, are large, flat green legumes.
They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fava beans are used in Mediterranean cuisines like ful medames and fava bean stew.
Type #11: Soybeans
Soybeans are yellow legumes that provide protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Soybeans are high in soluble and insoluble fiber and vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals.
Soy protein is a complete protein and helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Beans provide a budget-friendly, plant-based protein option with various flavors and uses.
With some preparation, beans can be incorporated into countless satisfying and nutritious meals.
So, explore the diverse possibilities different types of beans offer.
You’ll soon come to enjoy how they enrich your health and meals for years.