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What are Legumes?

Legumes are a type of vegetable which belong to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. They can be eaten in several ways, such as in soup, like cooked vegetables, in salads, roasted, ground into flour or powders, canned, frozen, and any other way if you're looking to get creative. Some examples of legumes vegetables are beans, peas and lentils.  They are also incredibly beneficial for our health in several ways, such as preventing and reversing many physical problems and generally keeping our bodies healthier. We will talk a bit more about legumes benefits on our health and happiness later. Before we do that, however, let us take a look at the different types of legumes and some legumes examples.

Legumes Examples

Here's a legumes list of examples to be slightly more explicit about the different types of legumes.


Peanuts are also called groundnuts, and they belong to the legume family, unlike tree nuts that grow above the ground. While the make-up of peanuts is more similar to tree nuts, they are still part of the legumes family because of their growth pattern and nutritional benefits.

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Chickpeas can be of two types, both of which can be distinguished by the size of the seed, the shape and the colour. Desi chickpeas are small, wrinkled and are brown, yellow, orange, black or green. Kabuli chickpeas are nuttier in flavour, round and white-ish in colour. In India, you would know chickpeas as 'chole'.


Everywhere around the world, people eat beans in different styles and forms. There are various types of beans across the globe; let's get into them.

  • Adzuki beans - round, red beans whose paste is used in Asian pastries and cakes. It is an example of sprouted legumes too. 

  • Black beans - black, oval beans traditionally used in Mexican and Brazilian cuisine.

  • Borlotti beans - nutty cream coloured beans with red specks that turn brown when cooked.

  • Cannellini beans - white beans shaped like kidneys and taste nutty.

  • Edamame beans - young soybeans that are soft to touch.

  • Faba/Fava beans - also called broad beans and are cream coloured, oval, flat beans.

  • Great Northern beans - grainy and nutty beans.

  • Lima beans - also called butter beans because of their texture of white and flattened.

  • Mung beans - green, egg-shaped beans native to India and Myanmar.

  • Navy beans - haricot beans that are small, oval and white.

  • Pinto beans - cream coloured and speckled with brown.

  • Red kidney beans - deep red kidney shaped beans. In India, we call this 'rajma'.


Peas come in several shapes, colours and forms. Pods are the legumes fruits of the pea family. There are five main types of peas that are:

  • Blackeyes peas - cream coloured with a black spot.

  • Blue peas - round, green peas.

  • Dun peas - dimpled, greenish-brown.

  • Maple peas - round with a brown speckled coat and a yellow inside.

  • White peas - round white coat and yellow inside, usually used for pea flour.


Lentils and lentil flour can be used to make a variety of food. In India, lentils are primarily used to make 'dal', but they also have other uses. Lentils that are yellow and red are commonly used in dals in India. Green lentils and French lentils are more widely used to make a variety of other dishes.


Lupins are incredibly versatile legumes that can be used in tonnes of different dishes. This includes flakes, kibble, semolina, porridge, smoothies, soups, salads, snack bars, granola, and when made into flour, even bread and other baked goods.

Difference between Legumes and Pulses

Although the names "legumes," "pulses," and "beans" are pretty commonly and frequently interchanged, legumes refer to the complete plant, whereas the pulse relates only to the edible seed of that plant. For example, the legume includes the leaves, stems and pods of the entire plant. On the other hand, the vibrations consist of just the seeds, and these could be those such as beans, peas, and lentils. Some examples of pulses are dal, chickpeas and baked beans. 

Legumes Benefits on Health

One of the most significant legumes benefits on health is that they are incredibly high in amino acids. This is why they are essential to our daily diets because they are the building blocks of protein. A good amount of legumes in the diet leads to a better and more well-balanced diet that will help us build and maintain protein in our bodies.

Aside from containing loads of amino acids, legumes' benefits also include being rich in vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals that our bodies need for daily functioning. Some of the essential nutrients include the following:

  • Zinc: A necessary nutrient for immune function, the healing and scabbing of wounds, blood clotting, thyroid, maintenance of vision, and it also helps empower the body against viruses.

  • Iron: The body uses iron primarily to make haemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen through the bloodstream. Iron is vital for the growth and development of one’s body..

  • Magnesium: Magnesium has several positive effects on the body as well as the mind. It makes the body less immune to several diseases, including blood pressure, heart and mental health problems, among others.

  • Antioxidants: These delay damage to the cells, including when the body is sick or has suffered an injury. Not only do they protect the body from severe damage, but antioxidants also help repair the same.

  • Others: In general, legumes have significant health benefits. They help reduce general fatigue and weakness and help in muscle growth and development, among others.

Your body uses the iron you get from eating healthy to make haemoglobin, an important protein required in the production of red blood cells, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. 

Many legumes are high in amino acids and proteins. They're full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Beans contain vital nutrients such as zinc, iron, magnesium, fibre and folate which protect various organs of your body. They're rich in antioxidants.

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FAQs on Legumes

1. What are some examples of legumes?

There are many different types of legumes: chickpeas, lentils, lupins, peas, peanuts, and beans. Under all of these types of legumes, there are myriad varieties of each. For example, there are over ten different types of beans. There are five types of peas and three types of lentils. Some peas include blackeyes peas and blue peas. Some beans include adzuki beans, lima beans, pinto beans, edamame beans, soybean, black beans and others. These beans can be used in a variety of ways. In India, they are usually made into dals that can be eaten with rice or chapatis, but they can be made in several other ways.

2. What's the difference between pulses and legumes?

When we use the word 'legumes', we are talking about the entire plant, which includes seeds, stems, leaves, and other components. When we talk about pulses, we're only talking about the edible seeds we can take from these legumes. In this manner, we can say that pulses are essentially part of legumes, and they help make up the whole of legumes. It is easy to confuse both legumes and pulses with one another, mostly so because they are pretty commonly used very interchangeably in daily conversations. However, keep in mind that pulses are a part of legumes, but legumes are not a whole part of pulses.