It might be a surprise to learn that the world of soul food has a deep appreciation for legumes that dates back hundreds of years. Legumes are simply defined as being the fruits or seeds within certain types of plants and include beans, lentils, peas, and many others. Follow along below as we discuss some of the most famous legumes eaten in the American South.

Black Eyed Peas

Black eyed peas are distinct in appearance and come in a variety of sizes. These legumes as well as many others prepared in the south are traditionally flavored with pork and onion and served as a dish alongside a main course.

Lima Beans

The lima bean, also known as the butter bean, is flat, protein packed, and can either be green or white in color. This is another type of legume that in the south is traditionally prepared and flavored with ham or bacon.

Pinto Beans

The pinto bean is famous in traditional southern cooking for being delicious, versatile, and one of the most protein dense type of legume. Traditional southern pinto beans are cooked long and slow and alongside a ham hock (pork knuckle), resulting in a flavor that’s divine.

Green Beans

Green beans are packed with many essential vitamins and nutrients, vitamin C and fiber especially. Southern green beans are boiled and then seasoned and tossed with either bacon, ham, or sausage. A perfect green bean will be crunchy, tender, and bright green in color.

Final Thoughts

Those with experience preparing great tasting legumes at home know that they are typically a labor of love. As long as you have some pork and one of the legumes above, you could be well on your way to creating a classic southern side dish. Head to Mamma Sheila’s House of Soul when you want authentic and delicious southern soul food in the Minneapolis, MN community.