3. Black-eyed Peas
This tan-coloured bean has a distinct black 'spot' located on one side. Black-eyed peas have a mild flavour that makes them ideal for stews, fritters, and salads.
The origin of black-eyed peas can be traced back to Asia and later Africa. They are popular in the American South but are also widely enjoyed in Cuba and as far away as India.
Learn how to make Texas caviar, a flavourful dip made with black-eyed peas.
4. Pink Beans
Pink beans are oval shaped and small. They are the preferred beans of the American Old West and Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In these countries, pink beans are stewed with garlic, peppers, oregano and diced pumpkin for a tasty dish called habichuelas guisadas.
5. Red Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans come in a variety of sizes and shades ranging from light pink to crimson. They have a meaty texture which makes them ideal for chilli, soups, and stews. They are particularly popular across Central and South America, and the Caribbean, but used around the world.
6. Garbanzos (Chickpeas)
If you’ve had hummus then you will be well acquainted with garbanzos. Also called chickpeas, this humble legume has a nutty texture that stands up well in salads, soups and even special preparations like veggie burgers. They can also be roasted and enjoyed as a snack.
7. Black Chickpeas
This dark-skinned chickpea is popular in India where it is called kale chole. Black chickpeas are heartier than the lighter variety and are primary used in stews. They are valued for their protein content.
8. Adzuki Beans
Small, shiny and red, Adzuki beans are especially popular in East Asia. They are also known as azuki beans and are valued for their antioxidant content and have been linked to heart health and weight loss.
Adzuki beans possess a nutty flavour that lends itself to sweet preparations and confections. They are the base of a Japanese jellied dessert known as yokan, a blend of red bean paste, sugar and agar agar.
9. Mung Beans
This tiny green-coloured bean is staple of Indian and Asian cuisine. In India, mung beans are stewed and paired with turmeric, cumin, chilies and a host of other spices. Mung beans can also be sprouted and added to salads. In China, they are dried and used to make noodles.
10. Broad Beans (Fava Beans)
Broad beans, also known as fava beans, have been cultivated for well over 5,000 years. Popular with ancient Romans and Greeks, these beans are still widely enjoyed across the Mediterranean region and much of the world.
Fresh fava beans are available in the spring and should be shelled and blanched to remove their tough skin. Dried fava beans should be soaked overnight and cooked like other beans.
11. Lupini Beans
This type of fava bean is popular in Italy, especially during Christmas time. Lupini beans are sold dried and are prized for their texture. However, there is a catch to making Lupini beans: they need to be soaked for a week before they are consumed. Simply cover them with water and let them sit overnight. Then change the water out at least twice a day for the next five days.
12. Green Beans
There are two main types of green beans: pole and bush beans. These two categories refer to the way the beans are grown. Pole beans grow vertically, thus requiring the use of a trellis or stakes. As you might guess from their name, bush beans grow in compact bushes.
Green beans are also known as string beans or snap beans. This type of bean is available in a variety of colours, ranging from deep green to yellow and even purple.
13. Runner Beans
When harvested young, runner beans can be enjoyed just like green beans. Their tender stalks are an ideal match for butter sauces laced with garlic. Mature runner beans are often sold shelled and dried so they should be soaked overnight in plenty of water before being cooked.
14. Cannellini Beans
These creamy white beans are known to many as Italian white beans. They are large and kidney shaped, and especially delicious in salads, soups and purees.
15. Navy Beans
Navy beans are smaller in size than cannellini beans. Their creamy texture gets to shine when pureed and served atop bruschetta or added to soups.
16. Great Northern Beans
These are medium-sized white kidney beans. Great Northern beans are a main ingredient in the French cassoulet (a white bean and pork casserole) and essential in the preparation of Boston baked beans.
17. Cranberry Beans
These beige-coloured beans are dotted with pretty pink spots. They are also known as shell beans or borlotti beans, and are popular across Spain, Portugal and Northern Italy. Cooking cranberry beans darkens their colour but does not affect their delicious flavour. Enjoy them in salads doused with plenty of extra virgin olive oil.