Most people eat legumes and have no idea what they are. Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes all beans, although not all legumes are beans. Legumes are the fruit part or pods of the leguminous plant family that includes, beans, peas, lentils, and even many nuts. There are many different types of nuts that are also a part of the legume family. They are the tree nuts where the seed is surrounded by a dry fruit and a hard shell. Many of our favorite nuts are included in the leguminous family like Macademias, Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts, just to name a few. In general, they are all very healthy and loaded with protein, B vitamins, potassium, fiber and other necessary minerals. Specifically, each type has their own special nutrients and characteristics as well. Legumes are considered to be among the best source of proteins from plant sources.
Split peas and lentils are close cousins to each other, but they are technically different varieties of legumes. Split peas are a type of field pea grown specifically for drying, where lentils are harvested as the seed and then dried after. It is but a slight and subtle difference, but they are different enough to be considered different categories. There are two types of split peas, green and yellow. Green split peas are sweeter and less starchy than the milder yellow split peas, and yellow split peas tend to be a little earthier. They are processed slightly differently too, but the results are the same. Both can be cooked the same ways and can be used interchangeably.
It is good soup weather again, and one of my favorite soups is split pea soup, especially when I have a lot of left over ham. Moroccan Spiced Ham I always make split pea soup with the green split peas, but for a change of pace, I decided to use the yellow ones this time. Split Pea Soup There was very subtle taste difference, but not much. Both yellow or green versions are delicious to me, which is a good thing, considering I have quite a bit.