What Is the Difference Between a Pea and a Bean?

Beans and peas are both seeds that grow in pods of a large plant of the family Fabaceae or Leguminisae. Peas are a type of bean.

When the seeds in the pod are oval or kidney-shaped, they are called beans. Dried beans typically come in two main types, red beans and white beans. Examples of red beans are pinto, kidney, black and pink beans. Examples of white beans are navy, great northern, garbanzo and cannellini beans. Dried beans usually have to be soaked and always have to be cooked in a liquid.

When the seeds in the pod are round, they are called peas. Peas may be served fresh, cooked from fresh or cooked from dried forms. Examples of dried peas are split peas and black-eyed peas.

Beans and peas are very different nutritionally. The exact nutrition depends on the type of bean. A 100-gram serving of kidney beans has 127 calories, 405 milligrams of potassium, 6 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein. A 100-gram serving of black beans has 341 calories, 1,483 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein. A 100-gram serving of green peas has 81 calories, 244 milligrams of potassium, 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.