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Beans vs. Lentils: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 11, 2024
Beans are larger, varied legumes eaten in many forms, while lentils are smaller, disk-shaped legumes with a quicker cooking time.
Beans vs. Lentils

Key Differences

Beans are a broad category of legumes that come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from kidney beans to black beans. Lentils, on the other hand, are small, lens-shaped legumes, typically available in colors like green, red, and brown. Both are high in protein and fiber but differ significantly in their physical characteristics.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
When it comes to cooking, beans often require soaking and have longer cooking times, making them less convenient for quick meals. Lentils, in contrast, do not need soaking and cook much faster, offering a more time-efficient option for meals. Both beans and lentils are versatile in their culinary uses, but their preparation methods differ.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
Nutritionally, both beans and lentils are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and various micronutrients. However, beans generally have a higher calorie and fat content, while lentils offer a lower calorie option with slightly higher levels of certain minerals like iron and folate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
Culinary uses of beans are diverse, ranging from being the main ingredient in dishes like chili and baked beans, to being a side dish or a salad topping. Lentils are commonly used in soups, stews, and as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Both beans and lentils adapt well to various flavors and cooking styles.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
In terms of global cuisine, beans are a staple in Latin American, Caribbean, and Southern U.S. cooking, while lentils are more prominent in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Both, however, are utilized worldwide and are integral to many cultural dishes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Size and Shape

Larger, varied shapes (e.g., kidney, pinto)
Smaller, lens-shaped
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Cooking Time

Longer, often require soaking
Quicker, no soaking required
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Nutritional Content

Higher in calories and fat
Higher in iron and folate, lower in calories
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Culinary Uses

Chili, baked beans, side dishes
Soups, stews, vegetarian dishes
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Global Cuisine

Latin American, Caribbean, Southern U.S.
Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024
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Beans and Lentils Definitions

Beans

A term used in children's games representing an imaginary item.
Let's pretend these stones are magic beans.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Lentils

A metaphor for something small but significant.
This may seem like a lentil of a step, but it's important.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

Informal term for minor details or specifics.
Let's not worry about the beans of the plan.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Lentils

Small, lens-shaped legumes, used in various cuisines.
I made a hearty lentil soup for lunch.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

Informal term for money or coins in some contexts.
I don't have enough beans to buy this.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
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Lentils

A term used in nutritional contexts to represent healthy eating.
Incorporating lentils into your diet can boost your health.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

Any of various twining herbs of the genus Phaseolus in the pea family, native to the Americas, having leaves with three leaflets and variously colored flowers, and widely cultivated for their edible pods and seeds.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Lentils

A symbol of wealth and prosperity in some cultures.
Lentils are often eaten on New Year's for good fortune.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

A seed or pod of any of these plants.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Lentils

In literary usage, a representation of simplicity and sustenance.
The meal was plain, just bread and lentils, but satisfying.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

Any of several related plants or their seeds or pods, such as the adzuki bean, broad bean, or soybean.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Lentils

A leguminous plant (Lens culinaris) native to southwest Asia, having flat pods containing lens-shaped, edible seeds.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

Any of various other plants or their seeds or fruits, especially those suggestive of beans such as the coffee bean or vanilla bean.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Lentils

The round, flattened seed of this plant.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

(Slang) A person's head.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Lentils

Plural of lentil
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

Beans(Slang) A small amount
I don't know beans about investing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

Chiefly British A fellow; a chap.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

To hit (another) on the head with a thrown object, especially a pitched baseball.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

Plural of bean
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

S; drugs in pill form.
Popping beans
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

An insignificant value or amount.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

A cut that reaches the hypodermis.
He told me he reached beans, I hope he’ll be okay.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Beans

Edible seeds from various plants in the legume family.
We had rice and beans for dinner.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Beans

Slang for a person's head or brain.
Use your beans to solve this puzzle.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can beans and lentils be used interchangeably?

While they can be substituted for each other in some recipes, their differing textures and cooking times should be considered.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What are beans?

Beans are edible seeds from the legume family, used in various dishes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What's the protein content in beans vs. lentils?

Both are high in protein, but the exact amount varies by type.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

How should I store beans and lentils?

Store in a cool, dry place; cooked beans and lentils should be refrigerated.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Can beans and lentils be eaten raw?

No, they should be cooked to eliminate toxins and improve digestibility.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What are lentils?

Lentils are small, lens-shaped legumes, often used in soups and stews.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Are beans and lentils gluten-free?

Yes, both beans and lentils are naturally gluten-free.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Can beans and lentils cause digestive issues?

Yes, their high fiber content can cause gas and bloating in some people.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What's the best way to reduce gas from beans and lentils?

Soaking beans and thoroughly cooking both can help reduce gas.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Are canned beans and lentils as healthy as dried ones?

Canned versions are convenient but may have added sodium.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Do beans and lentils aid in weight loss?

Their high fiber content can be beneficial for weight loss diets.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Are there any cultural significances of beans or lentils?

Yes, both have various cultural and symbolic meanings in different societies.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What is the shelf life of dried beans and lentils?

When stored properly, they can last up to a year or more.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Are beans and lentils suitable for a vegan diet?

Yes, they are plant-based and suitable for vegans.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Can beans and lentils be grown at home?

Yes, with proper care, they can be grown in gardens.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Are beans and lentils environmentally friendly?

They require less water and resources to grow than many other crops.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Do beans and lentils come in different colors?

Yes, they are available in a variety of colors, each with unique flavors and textures.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

What vitamins are found in beans and lentils?

They are rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Can I freeze cooked beans and lentils?

Yes, they freeze well and can be stored for several months.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

Do beans and lentils contain allergens?

They are generally safe, but some people may have legume allergies.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 11, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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