Examples of legumes include beans, peas and lentils. Other examples of legumes are peanuts, soy nuts and carob nuts. Plants such as alfalfa and clover are also legumes.
Legumes are the fruits or seeds of plants in the Fabaceae family. Legumes, like beans, peas or peanuts, are considered grain legumes since they are cultivated for their seeds. Grain legume seeds are called pulses. Beans are the most common type of grain legume, and there are over 40,000 types of beans.
Legumes are high in protein, fiber and iron. They are low in fat and cholesterol. Because of their high fiber and protein content, legumes are often used as a substitute for meat in many dishes. Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and lima beans are common ingredients in legume-based dishes. Other popular legumes include green peas, black-eyed peas, lentils and edamame.
Grocery stores often carry both dried and canned legumes. Canned legumes are already soaked and cooked prior to packaging, whereas dried legumes need to be prepared before consumption. Dried legumes need to soak in cold water for six to eight hours. The longer legumes soak in water, the faster they cook. After soaking, the legumes usually need to cook for one to two hours.