Difference Between Lentils vs. Beans

Main Difference

The main difference between lentils and the beans is that lentils are flat disc-like and smaller in size and beans are oval or kidney-shaped and larger.

Lentils vs. Beans

Lentils are the members of the legume family (the fruit or seed of plants found in a pod or shed). They are small types of vegetables with their lens-like shape. Beans are also the part of the legume family, and they grow in pods. They are larger than lentils with a kidney shape. Lentils are available in a wide variety of types. However, only three of them are the most popular. These types include green, brown and red lentils. There are many types of beans which differ in cooking time and nutritional values. Lentils contain more fiber and less carbohydrate. Beans contain more carbohydrates and less fiber. Lentils cook quickly and need no pre-soaking. Their cook time differs from type to type. Beans are notorious for taking a long time to cook. But this time is cut down when soaked overnight before cooking. This method of soaking the beans is also helpful to remove some of the indigestible sugars that have potential to cause flatulence. Their cooking time also depends on their type; the large the type of bean the longer the time it takes to cook. Lentils contain protein and essential vitamins. These vegetables can be substitutes of meat and other protein-containing foods. Beans can be the best addition to the dietary plan of diabetic patients as they do not cause a rise in the level of blood sugar and have sufficient proteins and vitamins. Lentils do not usually keep their shape when cooked. Beans tend to maintain their shape when cooked.

Comparison Chart

LentilsBeans
Lentils are small is small size pulse with a lens like a shape that belongs to the legume familyBeans are large size pulse with a kidney shape that is the part of the legume family.
Size
SmallerLarger
Carbohydrates
LessMore
Fibers
MoreLess
Cooking time
ShorterLonger
Soaked before cooking
NoYes
Shape
lens shapekidney or oval shape
Other Nutritional Values
Contain less fat, more protein, and no cholesterolContains less fat except for soya beans and more proteins

What are Lentils?

Its Latin name, ‘’Lens Culinaris’’, clearly reflects the shape of lentils. The direct meaning of the Latin name is “cooking lens.” Lentils are the members of the legume family (the fruit or seed of plants found in a pod or shed). Lentils are available in a wide variety of types. The three most popular types are green, brown, and red lentils. Brown lentils are cheap and blend well in soups. Green lentils are referred to French lentils, and they are mostly used for salads. Their texture is same as Beluga lentils, and they become firm when cooked. The red lentils are faster to cook and often turn gold and lose shape after being cooked. Lentils contain a large amount of fiber. Usually, half a cup of boiled lentils contains 7.8 grams of fiber. Lentils contain lower amounts of carbohydrate. Their cooking time differs from type to type. Red lentils cook for about 20 minutes, green lentils for 30 to 45 minutes and brown lentils for 45 to an hour. Lentils are easy to store after cooking. They can be found dry or prepared in cans in stores. Although they may tend to lose color after a prolonged time, they do not lose their nutritional value and their taste. The main features of lentils pulse are:

  • have reduced fat content and high content of protein and essential vitamins
  • substitutes of meat and other protein-containing foods
  • contains more fibers and less carbohydrate

What are Beans?

The beans are the part of the legume family as they grow in pods. They are larger than lentils with a kidney shape. Beans are the best addition to a dietary plan of diabetic patients as they do not cause a rise in blood sugar levels. A cup of cooked beans gives 15 grams of fiber which is helpful to the body. Beans are versatile and can be added in many dishes like to curries, soups or salads. They can be used as a standard diet or as an alternate of meat products as they have sufficient proteins. Beans tend to hold their shape better when they are cooked. A half cup of beans contains about 27 grams of carbohydrate and 5.2 grams of fats. But this content of carbohydrate and fats differ from one type of beans to the other. Also, beans take longer time to cook than lentils. But, properly-soaked beans can take up to 45 minutes to get fully cooked. This time depends on the type of beans. Beans have the following features:

  • provide reduced sodium and calories
  • benefit the body with essential fatty acids
  • have low fat, contain a rich content of omega-3 fatty acids

Key Differences

  1. Lentils contain more fiber and less carbohydrate whereas beans contain more carbohydrates and less fiber.
  2. The fourth cup of dry lentils contains a whopping 13 grams of fiber while the fourth cup of kidney beans contains about half that with 7 grams of fiber and garbanzo beans only have 6 grams of fiber.
  3. Lentils take less time to cook on the other hand beans take more time. The cooking time for beans can be reduced by soaking them in water.
  4. Lentils do not usually keep their shape when cooked conversely beans tend to maintain their shape when cooked.
  5. Lentils are small size pulse with lens-like shape, on the flip side beans are larger than lentils with a kidney shape.

Conclusion

Lentils and beans, belonging to the same legume family, both lentils and beans have many health benefits.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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