Difference Between Beans and Lentils

Legumes are a part of the family  Fabaceae (or Leguminosae). They may either be seeds or fruit of the plant.


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The seeds are known as pulses. Beans and lentils both come under pulses.

Key Takeaways

  1. Beans are a type of legume that can be consumed fresh or dried, while lentils are a type of legume that is always consumed dried.
  2. Beans are larger and take longer to cook than lentils, while lentils have a mild, earthy flavor compared to beans.
  3. Beans are a good source of protein and fiber, while lentils are a good source of iron and folate.

Beans vs Lentils

The difference between beans and lentils is that lentils are smaller and lens-shaped, while beans are kidney-shaped and bigger.

Beans vs Lentils

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Beans and lentils are one of the best options to have a balanced diet. They give us protein, carbohydrates and fibre in high content.

They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and other vitamins and minerals.

Beans and lentils also help alleviate constipation and reduce blood cholesterol levels, which helps prevent heart diseases. Beans and lentils can be differentiated by their size and shape.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBeansLentils
Shape and SizeBeans are kidney-shaped or oval and comparatively bigger.Lentils are lens-shaped and small.
TypesThere are various varieties of beans having different shapes and sizes.There are several types of lentils. Red, brown and green are the most popular variety. 
Fibre ContentContains less fibre.Contains more fibre.
CarbohydratesContains more carbohydrates.Contains fewer carbohydrates.
Other nutritional valuesAll beans except soybean contain less fat. They all have more protein and omega 3,6 fatty acid content.Lentils contain less fat, more protein and no cholesterol.
Cooking TimeBeans have to be soaked overnight before cooking and take a long time to cook.Lentils do not have to be pre-soaked and take a lot less time to cook.

What are Beans?

Beans are legumes that are used as food. They usually grow in pods.

They are grown in warm regions as the crop requires a slightly higher temperature to thrive. The crops do not require extra fertilizers as their roots form a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that provide them with nutrition. 

There are around 40,000 varieties of beans around the world, but only a few varieties are mass-produced for consumption. Chickpea, soybean, kidney bean and peanuts are a few examples of beans. Myanmar is the largest producer of beans in the world followed by India.

Beans are also very cheap and easily available in the market. They can be cooked by various methods and are a part of several cuisines around the world.

Consumption of beans helps with weight loss, controlling diabetes and improving heart health. While beans contain protein, folate and iron, they also contain a higher amount of carbohydrates than lentils.

Beans also have lower fat and sodium content.


What are Lentils?

Lentils are also a type of edible legumes. They are small and lens-shaped.

The crops are about 40 cm tall and the seeds grow in pods. Each pod contains two seeds. 

Lentils come in various forms, they can be split or whole and shelled or unshelled. They exhibit a range of colours like green, purple, tan, grey, brown and black.

The largest producer of lentils in the world is Canada, followed by India. In India, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh produce the largest amount of lentils.

Lentils are a staple food in India and are known as dal.

Dal is split and unshelled lentils that are prepared as soupy gravies. It is one of the oldest dishes in the country and every region makes it differently.

The crop is planted in winter and spring, but the crops bloom in spring or summer. If lentils are alternated in a field while growing crops, the soil remains healthy and fertile.

Green Lentils

Main Differences Between Beans and Lentils

  1. While beans can be kidney or oval-shaped and bigger, lentils are lens-shaped and smaller in size.
  2. Beans contain less fibre than lentils.
  3. There are more carbohydrates in beans than lentils.
  4. Beans contain more fats than lentils and are rich in proteins and omega 3,6 fatty acids. Lentils have more protein content and contain no cholesterol.
  5. Beans take a long time to cook and have to be soaked before cooking, while lentils take less time to cook.
Difference Between Beans and Lentils
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814607011144
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1470-6431.1991.tb00675.x 
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096399691400698X 
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