What Are Legumes?

Welcome to A Legume a Day! Thanks for stopping by.

What exactly are legumes? These plants belong to the Fabaceae family and are incredibly diverse. For instance, many people know that dry beans are legumes, but so are soybeans, peanuts, and alfalfa. Check out this post for more details and a cool diagram showing the legume “family tree”. You can also see a video explanation here.

Legumes fulfill important roles in agriculture (e.g., cover crops, forage for livestock, nitrogen fixation, etc.) while also supplying us with a wide variety of tasty dishes enjoyed by cultures all across the globe. I hope to highlight some of the versatile uses of these powerful plants in the kitchen and incorporate a bit of what science currently has to say about legumes, from health benefits to cooking methods that maximize nutrition.

More to come soon, but for now, here are some legumes you may already have in your kitchen!

  • Dry beans: Black beans, pinto beans, Mayocoba beans, kidney beans, navy beans, great northern beans, orca beans, and many others
  • Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans
  • Green peas
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Black-eyed peas, which are a type of cowpea
  • Snap peas
  • Split peas
  • Peanuts
  • Other pulses (My PhD project focuses on pulses so definitely more to come! Basically, ‘pulses’ is a term for the dried, edible seeds of leguminous plants, with some of the most common pulses including chickpeas, common beans, dry peas, and lentils. Check out this quick video where I explain the difference between legumes, pulses, and beans.)
  • Soybeans – also think soy products like soymilk, tofu, etc.
  • And many more!!

If you have any particular questions about legumes, please let me know in the comment section and I will do my best to provide a response founded in the science!

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