Yes, green beans are legumes, and in fact, all types of beans you will find are legumes.
If you want to know more about legumes, what makes something classify as one, and what the benefits of eating them are, keep reading!
What Are Legumes?
Legumes are a specific class of veggie, and this class includes all types of beans, as well as lentils and peas.
Because of this wide specification, it is seen as one of the most nutritious as well as versatile types of vegetable which is available.
Legumes are well known for being particularly low in fat, as well as containing absolutely no cholesterol either.
Legumes also have a high content of magnesium, iron, potassium, and folate, all of which have their own health benefits which make it worthwhile to include them in your diet.
Legumes are an even better choice as they also have fats which are good for you, as well as both soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
Legumes are seen as a good source of protein as well and are often the basis of many healthy substitutes for meat, but of course they do not contain nearly as much cholesterol or fat as meat does, which is why they are considered the healthier alternatives.
This guide should help you if you want to be able to recognize legumes more naturally, as well as incorporate them into your diet more naturally and efficiently.
Different Types Of Legumes
Other than green beans there are plenty of other types of legumes you will find which all have their own unique properties which make them fun to cook with.
They also tend to be quite affordable and they last for quite a while since they are often found either canned or dry. Some common examples are:
- Adzuki beans are sometimes also called red beans or field peas, and these are commonly used in soups and make up sweet bean paste which is a particularly common ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
- There are Anasazi beans which are quite common in Southwestern food as well as some soups.
- Black eyed peas are sometimes also called cowpeas and you can find these being cooked into different types of Southern food like fritters, salads, or casseroles.
- Edamame beans are a delicious snack, but you can just as often find them being cooked into rice dishes, salads, or casseroles.
- Fava beans are sometimes referred to as broad beans and these are most commonly found in side dishes or stews.
- You will find Garbanzo beans sometimes referred to as chickpeas, and these are widely used being a key ingredient in hummus, but also some casseroles, minestrone soup, or generally in Spanish or Indian cuisine.
- Lentils are also widely used and these are seen in salads, stews, soups, and side dishes.
Most dried beans or legumes will need to be soaked in room temperature water to make sure that they are rehydrated, and this will ensure that they will cook both more quickly, and more evenly.
When you are preparing your legumes, you will want to make sure that you discard any which have become shriveled or have become discolored.
Then you can rinse them and choose how you want to soak them.
You can opt for a slow soak which is in your pot with 10 cups of water for every pound of legumes, you can then cover or refrigerate these overnight if you want.
But, you could also try a quick soak where you put the same amount of beans and water over a boil and then set aside and let sit for between 1 and 4 hours.
You can also not soak your legumes before cooking with them, but this can cause issues.
Tips For Cooking With Legumes
After your legumes have been soaked, drained, and rinsed, you can add them into a stockpot.
You will want the beans to be covered by 3 times their volume in fresh water, and then you can add any spices or herbs you want to improve the flavor.
Once this is done you should bring the pot to a boil and then simmer the pot while it is uncovered and stir it every now and then.
You will want to do this until the bean is tender, but how long this takes will depend greatly on the specific type of legume you are cooking.
Some other things you should keep in mind when cooking legumes is that if you want to cook them with any salt or more acidic ingredients, you will want to add these near the end of your cooking time just when the beans have become tender, because if not, they can toughen up the means and make it so they take even longer to cook.
You will know that your beans are fully cooked when you find them easy to mash with your fingers or a fork showing that they are tender enough.
It is also possible to freeze beans which have been cooked already and this of course makes it easier to use them later on, all you have to do is put them in cool water until the temperature is appropriate and once drained they can be frozen.
For every pound of dried beans you are cooking, you will get about 5 to 6 cups of beans once they are cooked, so keep in mind how much volume they will gain.
Cooking with legumes can often seem like a lot of effort, but while some require lots of time and patience, there are others which are quicker to prepare like green beans or lentils.
These are quick to cook and are still just as healthy. It is easy to fit legumes into your diet once you are confident cooking with them, so get creative in how you fit them into your recipes as they are one of the easiest to work with and most versatile veggies available.