Let’s Talk About Legumes

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In BabyStep 6 we cover legumes and recommend that you store 60 pounds per person. Most people think that legumes are just a fancy word for dried beans, but there are quite a few other types of legumes that you may want to consider storing for variety and for different health benefits. Let’s go over a review of dried beans and then go into some detail about some of the other legumes.

Dried Beans Overview

Dried beans are a great source of protein, especially when combined with a whole grain. They have a long 30 year shelf life and can be used for many things. You can grind them into bean flour to use as a thickener or base for cream of chicken soup. You can mash them up and use them as a fat substitute in many recipes. They are also great as side dishes, meat fillers, thrown into soups/stews, and of course used in any mexican dishes. Some types of legumes can be sprouted and made into a healthy fresh vegetable option as well. Here is a list of the most common types of dried beans:

Pinto beans, Black beans, Red beans, Navy beans, Kidney beans, Garbanzo beans, Great northern white beans, Lima beans, Mung beans, and Soybeans


Alfalfa is a member of the pea family and is typically eaten as sprouts.
Uses: Alfalfa sprouts can be used to top sandwiches and burgers similar to lettuce. They are also good thrown into salads or soups. You can even set them on a plate and use as an edible garnish for a main meat dish.
Health Benefits: Alfalfa contains high levels of phytoestrogens, saponins, and antioxidants.


Lentils are small, flat legumes that come in a wide variety of colors such as red, green, brown, yellow, etc.
Uses: Lentils can be flavored many different ways. You can make a sweet salad by combining them with fruits, or a savory soup or casserole. They can also be used as a meat filler or substitute to add bulk to your meals.
Health Benefits: Lentils are high in fiber and magnesium, yet low in calories and fat.

Split peas

Split peas are regular peas that have been dried after harvesting. After they are dried and the skins removed, they split naturally. They can usually be found in both yellow and green varieties.
Uses: The most common use for split peas is the famous split pea soup. You can also make a puree of cooked split peas as a side dish, or make “dahl”, a traditional Indian dish.
Health Benefits: Split peas (like lentils) are high in fiber and low in calories and fat. They also provide a good source of 4 minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and isoflavones.

There are many many varieties of legumes, some more commonly eaten than others. The ones listed above are the most common ones used for food storage and in traditional diets.

To learn more about storing beans and legumes, visit the Step 6 section of our Food Storage Encyclopedia

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