Dried Peas

Black-eyed pea Originally from China, these chewy peas were common fare on slave plantations.

Chickpea This nutty-flavored pea is a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, where it’s used to make everything from hummus to minestrone soup.

Pigeon pea These are usually sold dried, but fresh, frozen, and canned peas also are available.  They have a strong flavor, and they’re popular in the South and in the Caribbean.

Yellow pea (yellow matar dal)   These have an earthier flavor than green peas. Scandinavians like to use them in soups, while the British use them in their pease pudding.   It’s best to buy them split, since split peas don’t need to be soaked and cook fairly quickly.


Beluga lentil (black beluga lentil, beluga black lentil) These glisten when they’re cooked, which makes them look like beluga caviar.  They’re great in soups or salads.

Black chickpeas (kala channa, Bengal gram) These are more rust-colored than black, and have a nutty flavor.  Look for them in Indian markets.

Brown lentil, Indian brown lentil These are the standard khaki-colored lentils you see on grocery shelves everywhere.  They tend to get mushy if overcooked.  If you want them to be firm, add oil to the cooking water and cook the lentils just a short while, say 15 minutes.

Channa dal  ( chana dal, gram dal)   With their sweet and nutty flavor, these are the most popular dal in India.  They’re made from splitting a small relative of the chickpea in half.  They’re a dull yellow and are renown for causing flatulence, which Indians try to counter by adding asafoetida to the dish.

French green lentils (Puy lentils, lentilles du Puy, lentilles vertes du Puy)  These choice lentils were originally grown in the volcanic soils of Puy in France, but now they’re also grown in North America and Italy.  They’re especially good in salads since they remain firm after cooking and have a rich flavor.

Masoor dal (masar dal, mussoor dal, masur dal,pink lentil)   These are skinned and split masoor lentils.  They’re salmon-colored, cook quickly, and turn golden and mushy when cooked.

Moong dal: These are mung beans that have been skinned and split, so that they’re flat,  yellow, and quick-cooking.  They’re relatively easy to digest.

Toor dal (tuvar dal, arhar dal, yellow lentils, tur dal)   Whole toor lentils are yellow with tan jackets, but they’re usually sold skinned and split.  They have a mild, nutty flavor, and they’re often cooked as a side dish or ground into flour.  They’re sometimes sold with an oily coating, which you should rinse off.  Look for them at Indian markets.

Urad dal (black lentil, black gram, kali dal)   These lentil-like beans have black skins covering creamy white interiors.  Whole urad dal derive their strong, earthy flavor from the black skins and are often used in curries.  Split urad dal retain the skins and also have a strong flavor.  Skinned and split urad dal are creamy white and somewhat bland.

Urad dal, Skinned and Split (white lentils, skinned and split black lentils) These are black lentils (or urad dal) that have been split and skinned.   They’re much milder than unskinned.

Urad dal, split (split black lentils, chilke urad) These are black lentils (or urad dal) that have been split but not skinned.   They’re not as mild as white lentils, which have been split and skinned.

Val dal (split lablab beans)  These are skinned and split lablab beans.   They’re available in Indian markets.   Substitutions:  black-eyed peas OR  split peas

Dry Beans

Anasazi beans These heirloom beans are sweet, fast-cooking, and reputed to cause less flatulence than other  bean varieties.  They’re great for making refried beans.

Appaloosa bean (purple appaloosa bean)  These heirloom beans have markings like Appaloosa ponies.  They’re often used to make chili and soups.

Azuki bean The Japanese use these small red beans to make sweet red bean paste, but they’re also good in rice dishes or salads.

Bayo bean

Black azuki bean (black adzuki bean, black aduki bean, asuki bean) This is a black version of the more common red azuki bean.  Like their red relatives, black azuki beans are sweet and relatively easy to digest, so they won’t make you as gassy as other beans.  They also don’t take as long to cook.

Black bean (turtle bean, black turtle bean) These beans are a staple of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, where they’re used to make side dishes, soups, bean dips, and salads.  They have a strong, earthy flavor, so they’re often combined with assertive flavorings.  Don’t confuse black beans with fermented black beans.

Bolita bean

Brown speckled cow bean

Cannellini bean You’ve probably already encountered this Italian bean in minestrone soup or a bean salad.  It’s prized for its smooth texture and nutty flavor.

Calypso bean Cooking these beautiful beans in lots of water helps keep them from losing their distinctive coloring.

Chili bean(pink bean)  These are very similar to pinto beans, only they’re smaller and rounder.   They’re often used to make chili and refried beans.

Christmas lima bean (chestnut lima bean)  These taste a bit like chestnuts when cooked.    

Cranberry bean   These have an excellent, nutty flavor, and are commonly used in Italian soups and stews.

European soldier bean

Eye of the goat bean This heirloom bean stays firm and richly colored after cooking, so it’s great as a side dish or in salads.

Fava bean  These meaty, strongly flavored beans have been around for ages, and they work well in sides dishes, soups, or salads.  The larger ones are the best.

Flageolet The French make good use of this small, creamy bean, often serving it with lamb.

Great Northern bean  These mild white beans are often used in cassoulets and stews.

Jackson wonder bean  This is a good choice for soups.

Fuji mame, Indian bean, val   These beans can be brown, reddish-brown, or cream colored, and they’re easily identified by a white seed scar which runs along one edge.  They have a pleasant nutty flavor, but they need to soaked and peeled before cooking.

Lima bean With their buttery flavor, lima beans are great in soups or stews, or on their own as a side dish.  The most popular varieties are the small baby lima bean sieva bean and the larger Fordhooks.  You can get limas fresh in their pods in the summer, but many people prefer to use dried lima beans.

Lupini bean These large Italian beans resemble fava beans, only they’re slightly bitter.  They’re often marinated and served in salads.

Maicoba bean

Mortgage runner bean These beans have a rich, creamy consistency that works well in soups and casseroles.

Mung bean Whole mung beans are small and green, and they’re often sprouted to make bean sprouts.  When skinned and split, the beans are flat and yellow, and called moong dal.

Navy bean These small white beans are commonly used to make baked beans, but they’re also good in soups, salads, and chili.   They’re relatively difficult to digest.

Pinto bean   The dried beans are beige with brown streaks, but they turn a uniform pinkish-brown when cooked.  They’re often used to make refried beans and chili.

Rattlesnake bean   A pinto bean hybrid, the rattlesnake bean gets its name from the way its bean pods twist and snake around the vines and poles.  These beans are great for making chili, refried beans, soups, or casseroles

Red ball bean, Frijo bola roja

Red bean These are similar to red kidney beans, only smaller, rounder, and darker.  In the Southwest, they’re often used to make refried beans and chili.  In Louisiana, they’re used to make the classic red beans and rice.

Red kidney bean, rajma    These gorgeous and versatile beans are often used in chili, refried beans, soups, and salads.

Rice bean  These tiny beans don’t require soaking and cook in just 15 minutes.  Some cooks use them instead of rice to make risotto.

Scarlet runner bean, runner bean These large beans are very flavorful, and they work well in salads or as a side dish.   Young pods can be cooked and served like green beans.

soybean, soy bean, soya bean This nutritional powerhouse is extremely versatile–it’s used to make salad oil, tofu, soy sauce, meat analogs, soy milk and cheese, and many other ingredients.   The actual beans need to be soaked a long time and are somewhat hard to digest, but they’re extremely nutritious.

Steuben yellow bean, Maine yellow eye   This heirloom bean is sometimes used to make Boston baked beans.

Reference: foodsubs.com


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