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Fava Beans vs Lima Beans: What’s the Difference?

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

Fava beans and lima beans are both legumes that are often used in culinary dishes. Both are considered healthy food options and are good sources of protein and fiber.

However, many have different preferences when it comes down to these two beans.

So, which one is better?

When comparing fava beans and lima beans, it’s essential to consider their nutritional value. It’s also important to consider how they taste and can be used in different recipes.

There are some significant differences between the two types of beans. Though they are both similar in some respects, there are a few key differences between them.

Difference Between Fava and Lima Beans

The main difference between fava beans and lima beans is that fava beans are more firm in texture. Lima beans tend to be softer and creamier. Fava beans are a better source of protein than Lima beans as well.

Appearance: When it comes down to appearance, fava beans are typically larger and have a more green color to them. On the other hand, Lima beans are small and have a yellowish color.

Taste: Lima beans have a mild, sweet flavor. Fava beans, on the other hand, have a more earthy flavor.

Texture: As mentioned earlier, fava beans have a firmer texture. Lima beans have a softer, creamier texture.

Nutrition: When it comes to nutritional value, both beans are a good source of protein and fiber. However, fava beans have more protein than Lima beans.

Uses: Both fava beans and Lima beans can be used in a variety of dishes. Fava beans are often used in soups and salads, while Lima beans are often used in stews and casseroles.

Shelf Life: Lima beans and fava beans have a similar shelf life of 2 to 3 years.

Fava Beans vs Lima Beans Comparison Table

Like fava beans, lima beans are a versatile legume that can be used in many different dishes. They are a great source of protein and fiber and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Lima beans are low in calories and are a vegan-friendly food. Let’s look at some of the major differences between these two.

Fava BeansLima Beans
Originated in North AfricaOriginated in South America
Dated back to 6000 years BCDated back to 2000 years BC
Seed located in the corner or top of the beanSeed located in the center of the bean
Texture remains consistent when cookedTexture loses consistency when cooked
Winter cropSummer crop

Can You Substitute Fava for Lima Beans?

Yes, you can substitute fava beans for lima beans in most cases. However, keep in mind that the texture and taste of the dish may be different.

Fava beans are a better source of protein than Lima beans. If you are looking for a bean full of protein, fava beans would be a better choice.

If you are looking for a bean with a mild, sweet flavor, Lima beans would be a better choice. Then, if you are looking for a bean with a firmer texture, fava beans would be a better choice.

Fava beans and lima beans can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, there may be some slight differences in taste and texture. It is best to experiment with different recipes to see which bean works best.

Related Article: Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans

What Are Fava Beans?

Fava Beans
Fava Beans

Fava beans are a legume that is often used in culinary dishes. They originated in North Africa and are dated back to 6000 years BC. They are a good source of protein and fiber and have a firm texture.

The fava bean has a strong history as it was eaten by Romans, Greeks, and other settlers of the eastern Mediterranean. As of today, fava beans are a huge part of many cultures.

They are often used in soups, salads, and main dishes. Fava beans can also be used as flour or as a thickener for soups and sauces. They can be eaten dried or raw but are most commonly cooked.

When fava beans are picked, they are inside of their bean pods. While some eat the pods, most people prefer to remove the beans from the pod before cooking. They can easily be removed from their pods by snapping the end off of each bean and shelling out the beans inside.

Preparation

Fava beans are usually cooked in water or broth and can be boiled, steamed, or baked. They can also be sauteed or stir-fried. Fava beans have a nutty flavor and a firm texture.

Health Benefits

Fava beans have a number of health benefits. They are a great source of fiber, which can help with digestion. They are also a good source of protein and can help with muscle development.

Fava beans are low in calories and are a vegan-friendly food. Believe it or not, fava beans can even aid in weight loss, which lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Fava beans are a versatile legume that is also a great resource of iron, manganese, and dietary fiber. They help improve circulation, lower cholesterol levels, and act as a natural diuretic.

One of the best benefits of fava beans is that they have lots of pro-anthocyanidins which are plant-based compounds that can help prevent certain types of cancer. Not to mention, this anti-oxidant also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in chronic disease management.

Fava beans are a great addition to most diets!

Who Should Avoid

However, individuals who have a G6PD deficiency should avoid eating fava beans because fava beans contain high levels of an enzyme that can cause serious health complications.

G6PD is a genetic deficiency that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. This enzyme is essential because it helps the body process red blood cells.

If someone with G6PD deficiency eats fava beans, the high enzyme levels in the fava beans can cause the breakdown of red blood cells. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, jaundice, and shortness of breath.

What Are Lima Beans?

Lima Beans
Lima Beans

Lima beans are a legume that is often used in culinary dishes. They originated in South America and have been dated back to 2000 BC. They are a good source of protein and fiber and have a soft and creamy texture when cooked.

Lima beans have a strong history as the Incas, and other region settlers ate them. They are used in many well-known dishes such as skillet beans with salt pork or ham, succotash, and Boston baked beans. Lima beans can also be used in stews, casseroles, and salads.

Preparation

Lima beans are also cooked in water or broth and can be boiled, steamed, or baked.

Health Benefits

Lima beans have a number of health benefits. Mainly they are known to be a great source of iron. Lima beans also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in chronic disease management.

They are also known to help women who are menstruating to help with cramps and bloating.

Women and Lima Beans

Women typically experience drops in their iron levels during menstruation. The high levels of iron in the lima bean can help combat this. Lima beans are also a good source of fiber which can help with digestion.

Lima beans are a versatile legume that is also a great resource of iron, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber. They, like fava beans, help with circulation. The significant difference is the impact of iron that comes from lima beans.

Flatulence

The main symptom to watch out for with lima beans is gas. Many people find that the bean causes them to bloat and have gas. This is because they contain high levels of oligosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t break down.

However, if consuming lima beans does not give you these symptoms, feel free to enjoy them. Lima beans are a great addition to most diets!

Which Bean Is Better?

Lima beans and fava beans are both legumes with many health benefits. They are both a good source of fiber and protein and are low in calories. Both legumes are also vegan-friendly. Lima beans are a great source of iron, while fava beans are a good source of pro-anthocyanidins.

Both legumes can be used in many different dishes. Lima beans are typically used in savory dishes, while fava beans can be used in sweet or savory dishes. Fava beans should be avoided by people with G6PD deficiency, while lima beans are safe for most people to eat.

Wrapping Up

So, which legume should you choose? It really depends on what you are looking for in a legume and what type of dish you want to make. If you are looking for a great source of iron, then lima beans are the way to go.

If you are looking for a versatile legume that can be used in many different dishes, then both beans are a good choice. However, if you are looking for a high-antioxidant legume, fava beans are the way to go!

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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