What are Kidney Beans?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Characterized by a strong flavor and a color that is reddish brown in nature, kidney beans are a versatile kidney-shaped bean that can be used in a variety of hot and cold recipes. They are grown in many different locations, and are usually sold in dry or canned varieties. While a true kidney bean is dark red/brown in color, a light red bean, phaseolus vulgaris, is often referred to as a light red kidney bean, owing to the similar shape and texture.

A bowl of chili with kidney beans and ground beef.
A bowl of chili with kidney beans and ground beef.

Kidney beans are often an excellent dietary selection, as they contain no cholesterol. As a source of potassium, they provide a source of nutrition that is similar to that of a potato, but with only a moderate amount of carbohydrates. They also contain trace amounts of iron and calcium.

Assorted beans, including kidney beans on the top right.
Assorted beans, including kidney beans on the top right.

One of the most popular uses for kidney beans is in the preparation of chili. The deep red color works well with the other ingredients of the dish, and adds excellent texture and taste. Along with chili, these red beans are a welcome addition to many casseroles, both for the flavor and the dash of color that the beans add to the presentation of the dish. A quick side dish involves nothing more than canned kidney beans with a little seasoning, such as garlic and pepper. These beans are also a favorite in preparing refried beans, an excellent accompaniment to any Mexican-style dinner.

Garlic is sometimes added as seasoning to kidney beans.
Garlic is sometimes added as seasoning to kidney beans.

Serving kidney beans cold is also a popular option: they're often included in marinated bean salads. A popular and nutritious cold salad involves the use of dark red kidney beans, chickpeas, chopped onion, and slivers of green and yellow bell pepper. The vegetables are tossed in a dressing made with olive oil, vinegar, and various spices. This mixture can be served over cold pasta or on a bed of salad greens.

Dried kidney beans are sometimes preferred over the canned variety. Generally, the dried beans should be allowed to soak overnight, which will cut the cooking time considerably. Nutritious, versatile, and relatively inexpensive, the kidney bean is a welcome addition to just about any kitchen pantry.

Three bean salad usually features green and yellow beans alongside kidney beans.
Three bean salad usually features green and yellow beans alongside kidney beans.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon222715

I am using kidney beans or a science experiment. I don't like kidney beans, so what are recipes you guys like?

anon153054

@anon59315- cholesterol is produced by the liver in animals. Therefore, only foods which are animal products contain cholesterol, and beans have none. However, since you are an animal your liver produces cholesterol. In order to keep this under control, eat a diet lower in fat and look for foods with omega-3 in them.

anon119167

Do red kidney produce estrogen in women?

anon59315

I have a cholesterol problem and note that kidney beans are free of cholesterol. Are there any other beans that are also cholesterol free? I have never been a lover of beans but have found an excellent way in terms of preparation hence my interest in other beans. anon

anon32733

Kidney beans, do they have any sugar content?

Medically, I am on a sugar free diet.

mdt

Yes, from the perspective that the beans are grown in a pod. However, they are not generally thought of as "pod beans" since they are shelled from the pod for consumption, just like lima beans, black-eyed peas, etc. String beans would be an example of a pod bean.

anon15258

Are Kidney beans a pod bean?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: