Here's Your Guide to Every Type of Bean and the Best Recipes for Them
Beans care a nearly perfect, plant-based protein, and they are chock full of healthy fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Another positive is beans aren’t restricted by season. Dried beans are just as nutritious as fresh or canned (canned can have additional salt to preserve them, so always rinse canned beans).
From velvety black beans that you often find alongside corn in salads or served on top of rice as a side dish to cannellini beans that can be stewed with tomato sauce and dill, bean varieties are as diverse as they are nutritious. You can serve beans in salads, soups, or as a side dish for a filling and nutritious boost to any meal.
Beans add texture to a classic bowl of chili or provide the hearty protein for veggie burgers. Beans and lentils have been an essential part of diets around the world for centuries. In ancient Egypt, as far back as 6750 B.C. there are traces of beans being consumed for their heartiness and nutrients.
In many parts of the world, especially in most Latin cultures, beans are a staple in the daily diet, as they provide a cheap source of protein. For vegetarians, the pairing of beans with grains produces a complete protein, essential for a healthy diet that meat-eaters consume from animals.
If you are consuming fresh beans, which are typically planted in late spring and harvested mid-summer in North America, you need only to remove them from their pods and give them a rinse; however, if you plan on using dried beans (which have a shelf-life of at least a year) you will need to soak them for several hours to revive them, and activate the proteins in the beans.
We have rounded up some of the most common types of beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, lima beans, and more to showcase the unique qualities of these beans, and some of our favorite ways to prepare them.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.