What Is the Difference Between a Legume and a Bean?

The difference between a legume and a bean is that a legume is a class of vegetables that includes beans. Although beans are always legumes, not all legumes are beans. Other types of legumes include chickpeas, edamame, alfalfa and lentils.

Legumes are highly regarded as being nutritious and high in potassium and fiber. Legumes are characterized by the way that the seeds split when they are growing. This type of vegetable also leaves excess nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial to farmers. Specific types of legumes that are considered beans include green beans, bean sprouts, black beans, kidney beans and soy beans.