Difference Between Beans And Legumes!

Written by Patricia Jones

Beans and legumes can be used for preparing spectacular recipes. By adding any of these items, you can cook a wide range of dishes.

With its consumption, you are definitely adding more protein to your diet. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body.

Interestingly, my sister loves to eat legumes in her diet. She often prefers it for preparing homemade dishes and treats her family in style.

Last evening she called me and asked, “Can you tell me the difference between beans and legumes? I’m totally confused and everything is messed up.”

It seemed like she needed my quick help in this matter. Being a chef, I was able to sort out her problems. Thereafter, I decided to write a post on this topic.

In this article, I’ve shared the exact details what you are looking for beans and legumes. Just read on and find them out below!

Difference Between Beans And Legumes – You Must Know This

Many individuals think that both beans and legumes are the same items for consumption, but this is not true. In reality, there is a big difference.

To settle down this confusion, I’ve presented this post with compact information on bean and legume separately. Let’s start with the legumes in the next section-

  • What Is Legume?

Legumes are the fruit seeds that come from the family Fabaceae. It includes beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, tamarind and the list goes on.

In other words, the legume is the common name given to edible fruit seeds of family Fabaceae.

  • What Is Bean?

Beans, peas and lentils all belong to a single group of family referred to as legumes. It is the seed of leguminous plants that are composed of soft shells.

These seeds grow in pods, rich in nutrients and have many health benefits. Some people prefer it in main dishes otherwise you can also enjoy its taste in side dishes.

It is consumed by both human and animal.


Beans are readily available on the market. Depending on your requirement, you can buy it by paying a nominal price. Some individuals also grow their own beans in the backyard.

In case, you want to preserve the season’s beans (store-bought or homegrown). It is better to freeze them until the next use in the kitchen.

If desired, you can check the article on how to freeze beans here.

Legume Vs Bean – Some Interesting Facts

Here we are going to discuss the difference between beans and legumes in a broader category and make you aware of these edible seeds.

Starting with the former, you can find several kinds of beans on the market. Each of these beans is highly nutritious in fiber and protein content.

Some of these beans include green beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, kidney beans and soybeans. In general, these are oval in shape and considered as vegetables.

If you consider the group- legume, it contains a list of edible seeds of different shapes. All of these items grow in pods and considered as a superfood.

The main reason is that- legumes are low in fat with no cholesterol. It is high in iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber and protein.

Check the list of most common legumes that include-

  • Beans

As you have already read, it comes under the legume umbrella.

  • Peas

Similar to beans, peas contain several seeds in the pod. It looks spherical in shape and comes in varieties with different taste.

Some of the most common peas include snow peas, field peas, split peas and more. If you have a query on ‘difference between peas and beans’, this has been solved by now.

  • Lentils

Belong to the leguminous family, it is an edible pulse. It has a disk or lens-shaped seeds. It usually has fewer seeds than peas in each pod.


Leguminous plants are a great asset for the fertility of soil.

The root nodules help in increasing the quality of soil with its nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Even after the plant died, it plays a significant role and ensures that farmers can grow a good crop.

Are All Beans Considered Legumes? – An Expert’s POV

If you have ever thought all beans are legumes, you have taken it in a wrong way. Though we can broadly tell that beans belong to the legume family, each and every bean is not a legume.

Let’s understand it in depth-

The term ‘bean’ (without ‘s’) is commonly used for the seed of a plant. It refers to a broad category of species that belong to edible and non-edible groups. It covers all species including legumes. It holds plants that produce pods even with large-size seeds.

Considering the term ‘beans’ in any sentence, it includes crops that are cultivated and come under the legume umbrella. It has small-size seed into the pods.

Some of the common beans in the legume family include runner bean, green bean, soybean, haricot bean and more.

What Beans Are Not Legumes? – A Valuable Information

As you already get to know all beans are not legumes, I am pretty sure you are curious about finding the other beans on the market.

A deep research and years of chef’s service have made it possible for me to make a comprehend list of beans that do not belong to the legume family.

These beans may or may not resemble legume family. It includes-

  • Coffee Beans

It is the seed of coffee plant. Its fruit is similar to cherry and also called as stone fruit.

  • Castor Beans

It is widely found in tropical regions that include Eastern Africa, southeastern Mediterranean Basin and India. It belongs to the species of flowing plant in the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family).

  • Vanilla Beans

Vanilla plant is cultivated almost all over the world. But the cost of its seeds is high because of the laborious task of its nurturing. It is often used for flavoring food items.

  • Cocoa Beans

Cocoa beans are the dried seeds, popularly used for making chocolates. If you take its plant into account, there are three varieties that include Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero.

Health Benefits Of Eating Legumes – A Rich Source Of Nutrients

Legumes contain a variety of nutrients that are essential for a balanced diet.

They say- vegetarians mostly prefer it over other food items. However, it isn’t just for the vegans but anyone can enjoy this food in their meal.

Some of the major benefits of consuming legumes include-

  • The presence of dietary fiber helps you in keeping the bowel healthy
  • The soluble fiber also helps in reducing the blood cholesterol level
  • It is a good source of carbohydrate with low GI (Glycemic Index)
  • It can prevent and manage diabetes to some extent
  • It is also a good source of antioxidants

Apart from these benefits, you also get benefited from other nutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamins.


Some individuals substitute their wheat flour with lupin flour (a legume). It helps in consuming higher protein, higher fiber and lower GI food.

Bottom Line

I hope this information has solved your query on ‘difference between beans and legumes’ and also provide you with many interesting facts.

When you want a healthy meal without paying a huge amount, beans and legumes are the best alternatives. It provides you with quality nutrients for the body growth and development.

Considering to meat, it is low in fat and a nutritious food. Some of the bean and legume recipes include Lentil And Sausage Soup, Salmon And Lentil Salad, Smoky Fired Chickpeas and more.

If you found this post useful, share it with family and friends. Do you have any suggestions for legume recipes? That’s Great! You are free to comment below!

About the author

Patricia Jones

Patricia is a fine dining chef at Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is also a caring mom and a lovely sister. Her heart and passion lies in the art of cooking great dishes for her family and customers.

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