Are Beans A Vegetable? What Are They Classified As

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 06, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Oct 11, 2021
Green beans handful on a cutting board.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Beans are mostly served and eaten as a vegetable across the globe.

Legally being a vegetable, beans are also often termed as a legume. Since pollination or dispersal of seeds is the major cause of its production, beans are scientifically termed as a fruit as well.

Fresh green beans are considered as an important member of the food group as vegetables. They are a great source of protein and have several health benefits and are a substitute for animal meat.

The plant is considered to be a fruit as well as a legume. According to the research of USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), beans generally belong to Northern and Central America but are now scattered all across the world.

The important nutrient content of the bean is fiber and it is mostly served with potatoes. This nutrient helps in lowering cholesterol levels.

According to several articles, the minerals and the vitamins content help improve various health syndromes along and problems. Different bean types are available in the market like canned kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lima beans, and soybeans.

One should not confuse these beans with green beans as they differ from each other in terms of health benefits and maturity. These beans belong to the same category as legumes but are separated under the category of matured and less matured beans.

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Green Beans Are Considered As A Vegetable

In the food industry or the culinary industry, the bean, especially the green bean, is served as a vegetable on the menu as a dish. Beans are an important part of the food group as a protein and are eaten as an alternative for meat or any animal extracted product in a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Beans have several qualities of vegetables. They are similar to carrots and have phytonutrients.

These nutrients help to cure chronic based disease and provide a healthy life. Beans and similar pulses when eaten provide a healthy protein intake in the diet. We might want to dissect the argument culturally, legally, and horticulturally.

According to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), we can decode that in grocery shops, beans are found in the vegetable category and are never kept in the fruit section. So culturally we can state that beans are vegetables in nature.

If we consider legally, tomatoes were considered vegetables by the Supreme Court. Like tomatoes, beans are referred to as vegetables in markets and in food groups, hence legally beans are considered to be vegetables.

Further, fruit trees have the tendency to be perennials and bear fruits every year.

For example, cauliflower has the characteristics of fruit both in terms of appearance and growing in a seasonal form. Despite this, cauliflower is considered a vegetable like beans which are grown and are available throughout the year and hence can be considered as vegetables horticulturally as well.

Different Kinds Of Beans That Are Edible

Fresh green beans in bowl on wooden table.

There are various forms and kinds of beans available which are either served as dishes or are eaten as a substitute for meat or as a source of nutrients in your diet. The content of the beans mostly differs and the way of eating them differs as well.

Cooked green beans are preferred over raw beans. This is due to the raw beans being slightly poisonous in nature and the raw seeds contain toxins.

In this case, cooked beans might be a healthy option. Along with fresh green beans, beans like lima beans are mostly cooked with vegetables like potatoes, corn, or lentils.

Apart from this, there is a different form of beans like chickpeas, pinto, and soybeans which are mainly pulses and have similar dietary fiber but are different botanically. Even though they are edible, they do not belong to the same food group.

Another kind would be canned beans, such as kidney beans which are already cooked. All these beans contain potassium, iron, and are starchy in nature which indicates a sign of healthy food when included in your diet.

Ways To Identify Beans As A Vegetable Or As A Fruit

Even though it has been concluded that beans are considered to be vegetables culturally, legally, and horticulturally but they are not less of a fruit when dissected botanically.

Beans have a seed-bearing structure where the beans bear the seed inside the plant for reproduction. This structure is mostly seen in the fruits where the structure helps in the process of producing the seeds and reproducing.

Like other fruit plants, the seed of beans is known to travel with the help of agents like the wind or along with the digestive excreta of some animals.

This process is similar to the process of pollination where the spreading of the seed is required only at the first time and then the process is continued by the local agents like insects or winds leading to the process of self-pollination.

In self-pollination, the male parts of the plant fertilize themselves with the female part without the help of an external agent.

The bean plant can self pollinate as well. Hence, beans can be termed as a fruit only botanically.

Relation Between Legumes And Beans

Legumes are the scientific name for a group of plants or fruits and seeds thereof, of the family Fabaceae. It includes peas, lentils, and beans which provide fiber, vitamins, and protein. Beans are nothing but the legume which provides vitamins and protein either as a vegetable or as a pulse.

To decode the relation between legumes and beans we can say that beans are a collection of seeds and plants whereas legumes are an accumulative term for a bean and a lentil. Legumes include the bean and the lentil in a single food group.

So it will be safe to state that all beans are considered to be a legume but all legumes cannot be beans. It can either be a bean or a pulse or a lentil.

Legumes include mature beans like peas, pinto beans, and black beans. However, green beans are not included in this group.

Green beans are known to look slightly different from the matured beans and are considered to be less matured beans. Although both matured and the less matured beans have almost the same health benefits when cooked and served.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are beans a vegetable then why not take a look at are birds warm-blooded, or are black diamonds real.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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