The bean family contains many species and varieties of legumes: Adzuki, Anasazi, black, kidney, fava, cowpeas, Madagascar, lentil and soybeans are but a few. Beans serve significant value as sources of nutrition and they appear in cuisines and dishes around the world, providing protein, folate, magnesium and more essential vitamins. Beans prove equally versatile, adding flavor and texture to soups, stews and more.
Beans come in two primary forms: canned and dried. Chefs use both varieties when preparing dishes. Some beans, like Adzuki, black beans and lentils, appear in ethnic cuisines around the world. Adzuki beans add flavor to soups and stews in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Black beans appear in soups and rice dishes across Latin America. Lentils make hearty additions to American salads and soups, and form a primary ingredient in traditional Indian dishes.
Beans vary in size, shape, flavor and texture, making them popular for various uses. They retain flavor and texture when served with cold or hot dishes, making them equally palatable for both uses. Some people enjoy beans plain; edamame, or green soybeans, and soy nuts make popular healthy snacks. People consume beans whole, in dishessuch as stews and rice dishes, and in processed form, such as hummus. Although equally flavorful, dried beans typically require soaking in water, at room temperature, prior to cooking.