The Difference Between Red Beans and Kidney Beans

cooked kidney beans

What Is The Difference Between Kidney Beans And Red Beans

Beans vary in sizes, shapes, colors, and tastes. Though most people consider them as the same thing, they are actually not. Both red and kidney beans have distinctions, especially in taste and appearance however, both are often used in the same style of cooking - stewed, baked, or the famous refried beans. It is worth noting also that the color of both legumes is similar - red and dark red kidney bean.

Each has similarities and differences. So, in this article, let us look at the details about the red bean and kidney beans' similarities and differences.

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What is the difference between a red bean and a kidney bean?

Are Red Beans and Kidney Beans the Same Thing?

Cooked Red Beans

Contrary to what most people think, red beans and kidney beans are actually two different legumes. Firstly, there are many varieties of kidney beans when compared to red beans. Also, they have different uses as well as textures.

Kidney beans are normally harder hence, take a longer time to cook while red beans are quite the opposite.

Let's get into details.

What are kidney beans?

Kidney beans are named from the kidney organ because of their similar shape. As mentioned above, kidney beans come in different types. You will see below that there are four main types of kidney beans - red, light speckled, white speckled, and red speckled kidney beans.

These beans are everyone's favorite because they do not have hardly any cholesterol and are very good sources of fiber and protein for the body. Also, they have a good aroma that can bring a nice extra to your dish and they easily absorb the flavors from other ingredients they are cooked with.

Take note: raw kidney beans can be dangerous to your health if not cooked properly, contrarily, they are very nutritional and tasty when added to your dish.

Canned beans - are normally cooked - like cooked kidney beans and hence ready to go. Be careful with dried kidney beans - read the packaging to ensure they are safe. A clue can be - light red kidney beans that have lost a little bit of their color are usually cooked and ok to eat - but if in doubt - check the label.

Red Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans

This type of kidney bean can be the most toxic if not prepared carefully. Red kidney beans are large in size with deep, glossy red skin. To make this edible and safe, you have to cook this for 90 to 180 minutes to get rid of the toxin through a high temperature. Several reports from people have shown that symptoms of food poising from red kidney beans that were not properly cooked can vary from vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or stomach pain.

Red kidney beans contain a toxic plant protein called, phytohemagglutinin, which is commonly used for medical purposes to enhance immunity. But, you have to remember that this is ought to be administered by a specialist to exactly get the right dosage and proper administering. You wouldn't want to harm yourself, do you?

Red Kidney Bean Recipe: Before you cook this with other ingredients, make sure to soak this in water since this is naturally hard. Through soaking, it absorbs a good amount of water and will eventually become softer. Start by putting them in an oven-safe pot after rinsing the beans quickly. Pour two to four cups of water and a pinch of salt, just enough to cover the beans. To cook it, set it at 375° for two hours and cover it with a lid. Regularly check its softness with a 30-minute interval and wait until it gets to your preferred texture.

The best practice is usually soaking the beans in the water first if you are going to cook them in the oven.

Light Speckled Kidney Beans

Lightly speckled kidney beans originated from Argentina and Mexico but it is now widely cultivated in the Northeast of China, where it is commonly traded. Long or round-shaped beans are the common ones that you can find in this type. It is abundant in nutrition, specifically in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B. Light speckled beans are also cooked to enhance kidney health and metabolism.

You can usually find this in pink, red, or beige color and usually labeled as rose cocoa bean, sugar bean, or cranberry bean.

White Speckled Kidney Beans

White speckled kidney beans are grown by Native Americans and have a similar size to pinto beans. It is also known as cannellini beans and commonly used as an ingredient in Italian and Mexican dishes. This type of kidney beans has a sweet taste and is much easier to digest than the other beans.

Red Speckled Kidney Beans

Whether canned or stored dry, these beans are popular because of their nutrients. Red speckled kidney beans are said to be good in treating anemia in pregnant women since it is high in iron and zinc. It is also a good source of high soluble fiber, which absorbs water in the stomach that eventually slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates from the bean. This legume is also called a sugar bean.

Red Beans

Red beans originated from the Caribbean region, which is unmistakably different from kidney beans. These beans have a different appearance; they are way smaller and consistent in growing to an oblong shape (like pinto beans), while the kidney beans are the largest ones. Red beans have different colors, too. They are way pinkish, almost brighter, and grow into reddish beans.

Moreover, red beans have a softer texture and taste more beany - if that is a word. Though they are quite different, red beans and kidney beans go together as a good ingredient for stew and rice recipes. According to experts, one cup of red beans is equivalent to more than the protein content of two eggs. More than just being a good source of protein, these beans are also a great source of iron for the body.

What are the uses of kidney beans?

When we talk about kidney beans as used in mixing with several dishes, it sure has a lot of ways to be used. Commonly, it is being used in Indian foods, pasta salads, and taco soups. It has been used historically because it is believed to be beneficial in everyone's body.

In an article published by WebMD, it stated that kidney beans are rich in a variety of essential nutrients, including:

  • Manganese
  • Folate
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus

The said article also emphasized that a half-cup serving of canned kidney beans comprised:

  • 2 grams of sugar
  • 105 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 19 grams of carbohydrates
  • 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of fat

But know that the types of kidney beans can slightly vary in the nutritional profile that may depend if it is canned or dried.

Having said all those nutrients that we can get from kidney beans, here are some health benefits when using kidney beans:

Red Beans

Control blood sugar levels

Kidney beans cannot worsen your blood sugar when consumed since it has a very low in glycemic index hence, it would be perfect to mix it with your favorite dish to balance or moderate the effects of food that can escalate your blood sugar.

Weight loss

The high fiber content of kidney beans can help people avoid overeating since it has the ability to make you feel fuller for a long period. This can be an alternative way to lose weight because it is also low in carbohydrate content.

Improve heart health

Kidney beans are the healthiest type of beans because of their high protein content, hence a perfect substitute for meat, which is high in cholesterol. Unlike meat, kidney beans are lesser in fat and saturated fat.

Prevent colon cancer

The non-digestible fiber in kidney beans brings a good impact in preventing colon cancer by regulating the cell growth in the colon, which may reduce the risk of cancer. According to research, people who regularly eat kidney beans are less likely to develop colon cancer.

What are the uses of red beans?

Red beans are common in various dishes. More than its nutritional value, it is also used for its combination of flavors. It is often cooked with rice or the Louisiana Red Beans.

According to health professionals, red beans also are high in nutrients, like:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Soluble fiber
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

A half-cup of red beans contains:

  • 115 to 140 micrograms of folate
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 32 milligrams of calcium
  • 60 milligrams of magnesium
  • 600 milligrams of potassium

And just like Kidney Beans, it also has several health benefits to our body, including:

Diabetes prevention

The high dietary fiber and starch-resistant content are beneficial in breaking down the food and absorbs nutrients quickly. Also, it slows down the rate of releasing glucose in the bloodstream, which helps in decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, people who consume a high-fiber diet are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who consume less fiber.

Digestive benefits

Red beans are high in insoluble fiber that promotes digestive health and bowel regularity. It is also high in soluble fiber that is essential for the gut bacteria in converting short-chain fatty acids. Red beans are also high in resistant starch, which feeds the good bacteria in the colon hence, it maintains colon health.

Cancer prevention

Researchers concluded that women who consume a fiber-rich diet, like red beans, during adolescence and early adulthood have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Moreover, red beans are also high in antioxidants that prevent the development of free-radical damage. The USDA has stated that red beans are five times higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity than other beans.

What is the best type of beans to use for chili?

Kidney beans are the best beans for chili when it comes to a traditional chili recipe for the reason that they absorb spices and flavors easily. Kidney beans also have the capability of maintaining their firmness and shape when cooked. They also go really well with cayenne pepper. They are often used in red bean paste - with cayenne pepper also.

Can I substitute kidney beans for red beans?

Since the two beans do vary in flavor and texture, you cannot substitute automatically. However, the dried or canned version of these beans are much more similar and swapping can be done - especially the mexican red bean.

Do red beans and kidney beans taste the same?

No. Kidney beans usually adapt or absorb the flavors of the ingredients while red beans have a "beany" flavor that affects the taste of the dish. Also, red beans are better when served cold while kidney beans are better when served hot or warm.

Are red beans dangerous?

If cooked improperly, raw red beans can trigger toxification. You may experience severe diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or abdominal pain within one to three hours from consumption.

What bean is similar to kidney beans?

Cannellini, pinto bean, navy, or red beans are similar to kidney beans. Meaning, either of the mentioned beans can be substituted in your recipe since kidney beans are very versatile.

What is the difference between light red and dark red kidney beans?

The light red - or pink beans are processed more - with a difference of less flavor.

Can you substitute white kidney beans for red kidney beans?

Cannellini beans are referred to also called white kidney beans and can be substituted with a similar texture - also similar to the navy bean. They have a smooth texture and nutty flavor. Or another way of putting it a cannellini beans substitute is a red kidney bean!

Can kidney beans be used to make chili beans? Yes you can use kidney beans to make chili beans - Packaged Chili bean paste will use many different types of beans but mostly cooked kidney beans - but some brands used cooked small red bean, pinto beans, garbanzo bean or black bean.

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