noun le·gume ˈle-ˌgyüm, li-ˈgyüm
1 a: the fruit or seed of plants of the legume family (as peas or beans) used for food
b: a vegetable used for food
2: any of a large family (Leguminosae syn. Fabaceae, the legume family) of dicotyledonous herbs, shrubs, and trees having fruits that are legumes (sense 3) or loments, bearing nodules on the roots that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and including important food and forage plants (as peas, beans, or clovers)
3: a dry dehiscent one-celled fruit developed from a simple superior ovary and usually dehiscing into two valves with the seeds attached to the ventral suture.
A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for their food grain seed (e.g., beans and lentils, or generally pulse), for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind.
A legume fruit is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces (opens along a seam) on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a pod, although the term “pod” is also applied to a few other fruit types, such as that of vanilla (a capsule) and of radish (a silique).
Legumes are a significant source of protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and micronutrients, including folate, thiamin, manganese, magnesium and iron, such as for cooked black beans.
Common examples of protein combining using legumes are Indian dal and rice, Mexican beans with corn tortillas, Middle Eastern hummus commonly served with pita bread, and mujaddara, a dish consisting mainly of rice and lentils.
|Type of Legume||Common Uses|
|Adzuki beans, also known as field peas or red beans||Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes|
|Anasazi beans||Soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans|
|Black beans, also known as turtle beans||Soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines|
|Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas||Salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes|
|Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo or ceci beans||Casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes|
|Edamame, also known as green soybeans||Snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes|
|Fava beans, also known as broad beans||Stews and side dishes|
|Lentils||Soups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes|
|Lima beans, also known as butter or Madagascar beans||Succotash, casseroles, soups and salads|
|Red kidney beans||Stews, salads, chili and rice dishes|
|Soy nuts, also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans||Snack or garnish for salads|