Learn About Legumes

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Legumes?

Legumes are a type of food grown from a specific family of plants.  Legumes are similar to one another because they grow from a pod.  There are many types of legumes, but popular legumes include peanuts, beans, soybeans, peas, and lentils.  Legume shells and pods differ and range from soft to hard.

What Do Legumes Taste Like?

Because of the wide variety of foods classified as legumes, flavors differ.  Legumes may be sweet, earthy, or nutty.

Learn About Legumes
Assorted legumes, such as beans and lentils, in different bowls.

How Do You Eat Legumes?

Most legumes are eaten raw or cooked.  Many bean legumes require soaking before eating to help rehydrate them.  Beans are mixed into salads, cooked into stews and soups, and consumed as side dishes.  Some legume varieties, like peanuts, require shelling before eating.  Peanuts are frequently eaten on their own, ground into peanut butter, and added to salads, cooked meals, and desserts.  Some legumes may be ground or pureed and mixed into brownie batters or used to top tacos. 

Where Can You Buy Legumes?

Legumes are easily found in various parts of the grocery store, depending on what kind you are looking for.  Legumes may be located in the produce section, the canned foods aisle, the dried fruits and nuts aisle, and the snack food aisle.

How Do You Store Legumes?

Different legumes require different storage methods.  Fresh peas should be stored in an open container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Peanuts and most varieties of beans are safe to store in a cool, dry place.  Canned legumes should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Fun Facts About Legumes

Growing legumes leaves behind natural food for the soil.  Legumes take little water to grow and can withstand both heat and cold.

Did You Know?

While peanuts are called nuts, they’re actually legumes!

Recipes Using Legumes

Peanut Sauce

Use store-bought peanut butter to save time on making homemade peanut sauce. Combine smooth peanut butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic. Serve as a dipping sauce for vegetables or meats.

Trail Mix

Create your own trail mix for a tasty snack. Combine roasted peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries, cashews, and pretzel sticks in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Lentil Soup

Simmer lentils with vegetable broth, carrots, celery, peas, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Serve with fresh parsley, basil, and oregano.

Watch our cooking video on how to make yummy lentil soup (brown or green lentils)

how to make lentil soup
How To Make Savory Lentil Soup Video

Easy Chili

Make a pot of chili as a delicious meal for the whole family. Brown ground beef with salt, pepper, and onions. Drain the mixture and add in canned tomatoes, beef stock, canned red kidney beans, and chili powder. Simmer until mixture thickens. Serve with crackers and cheddar cheese.

Refried Beans

Make your own refried beans to top your tacos. Cook minced garlic with salt, chili powder, and olive oil in a saucepan. Add drained pinto beans and stir. Using a fork, mash pinto beans until they reach the desired consistency. Serve beans with chopped cilantro.

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