Lima Beans vs. Edamame

When exploring the world of legumes, two popular options you might encounter are lima beans and edamame. Comparing the nutritional value, taste, and versatility of these beans can help guide your decision when choosing between them. Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are large, flat, kidney-shaped beans with a creamy, mild taste. Edamame, on the other hand, are young, green soybeans, often enjoyed when still in the pod, and have a slightly sweet taste and a firmer texture.

In terms of nutritional content, both lima beans and edamame offer their own set of advantages. Lima beans are high in fiber, providing essential support for digestive health, while edamame is higher in protein, making it a popular choice for those looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet. Furthermore, both types of beans contain valuable vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.

As for versatility, you can easily incorporate both lima beans and edamame into a variety of dishes. Lima beans can be added to soups, stews, and salads, while edamame can be enjoyed on its own, steamed and sprinkled with salt, or as an ingredient in dishes like stir-fries, sushi, and hummus. Ultimately, the choice between lima beans and edamame will depend on your nutritional needs, taste preferences, and culinary ambitions.

Overview of Lima Beans and Edamame

What Is the Difference Between Lima Beans & Edamame?

Origin and Types

Lima Beans, a type of legume, originate from South America and are named after the city of Lima in Peru. They come in various sizes and colors, generally falling into two categories: large or baby lima beans. Lima beans can be found in both fresh and frozen forms.

Edamame, on the other hand, are immature soybeans, typically found in East Asian cuisine. They are harvested before they mature and harden. Similar to lima beans, edamame is also available fresh or frozen and can be enjoyed boiled or steamed.

Nutritional Profiles

Both lima beans and edamame are highly nutritious legumes. Here’s a brief comparison of their nutritional profiles per 1 cup serving:

NutrientLima BeansEdamame
Vitamin C19.3mg9.5mg

While both legumes offer essential nutrients, edamame has a higher protein content, while lima beans have higher levels of carbohydrates and vitamin C.

Culinary Uses

Lima Beans have a mild, buttery flavor and a creamy texture, making them versatile in various dishes. You can boil or steam them and include them in soups, stews, casseroles, and salads. They can also be mashed for a side dish or a flavorful dip.

Edamame has a distinct, subtly sweet flavor and a slightly firmer texture compared to lima beans. They are commonly boiled or steamed and served with a sprinkle of salt as an appetizer or snack. Additionally, edamame can be added to salads, stir-fries, sushi rolls, and noodle dishes.

In conclusion, both lima beans and edamame offer unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. Each can be used in a variety of culinary applications, making them a delightful and healthy addition to your meal planning.

Nutritional Comparison

Protein Content

When comparing the protein content of lima beans and edamame, both are excellent sources. However, edamame contains a higher amount of protein per serving. A 100g serving of edamame provides around 18g of protein, while the same quantity of lima beans offers about 7g of protein. This makes edamame a more protein-rich option for your diet.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Both lima beans and edamame are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy diet. The table below highlights the key differences in their nutritional value:

NutrientLima Beans (100g)Edamame (100g)
Iron2.4 mg3.3 mg
Potassium508 mg676 mg
Calcium17 mg97 mg
Magnesium43 mg64 mg
Folate54 µg303 µg
Vitamin C10 mg5 mg
Vitamin K0.3 µg24 µg
Manganese0.4 mg1 mg

As you can see, edamame is higher in most minerals, such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and manganese, while lima beans have a slightly higher vitamin C content. Edamame particularly stands out for its significantly greater amounts of folate and vitamin K.

Fiber and Fat Profiles

In terms of fiber content, both lima beans and edamame are an excellent choice for supporting digestive health. Lima beans provide 5g of fiber per 100g, whereas edamame offers 4g. The difference is not significant, so you can consider both as good sources of dietary fiber.

As for fats, both lima beans and edamame are low in overall fat content. Lima beans contain around 0.4g of fat per 100g, while edamame has slightly higher levels at 4g per 100g. However, the fat in edamame is primarily unsaturated fat, which is considered heart-healthy.

Health Benefits

Lima Beans 101 - Nutrition and Health Benefits

Heart Health

Lima beans and edamame both offer heart-healthy benefits. They contain essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to support cardiovascular health. Additionally, both contain high levels of dietary fiber; this helps in reducing cholesterol levels, hence lowering the risk of heart disease.

BeansOmega-3 Fatty AcidsDietary Fiber
Lima Beans12.8%52%

Weight Management

If you’re looking to manage your weight, including lima beans and edamame in your diet can be an excellent choice. They are both rich in protein and relatively low in calories. The dietary fiber content in both beans aids in providing a feeling of fullness, which can help reduce overeating and promote weight management.

Lima Beans14.7 g253
Edamame14.6 g162

Diabetes and Digestive Health

Lima beans and edamame provide benefits for those managing diabetes and maintaining digestive health as well. They have a low to medium glycemic index (GI), which is beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels. The dietary fiber in these beans also supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Both beans are rich in essential vitamins, including vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Vitamin B6 helps improve overall metabolic health, while vitamin E has strong antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage.

BeansGlycemic IndexVitamin B6 (mg)Vitamin E (mg)
Lima Beans320.541.47

Incorporate lima beans and edamame into your diet to reap the various health benefits they offer. By including these nutritious beans in your meals, you’ll be supporting your heart health, weight management, and boosting diabetes and digestive well-being.

Culinary Uses and Preparation

Delicious Lima Bean Recipe You Need to Try

Common Dishes

Lima beans and edamame are highly versatile ingredients that can be included in various dishes. Some popular uses for lima beans include adding them to soups, stews, salads, and casseroles. On the other hand, edamame is often used in stir-fries, as a snack, or incorporated into dips and spreads.

Texture and Flavor in Cooking

When cooked, both lima beans and edamame offer unique textures and flavors that can enhance your recipes. Lima beans have a pleasant nutty flavor that can add depth to your dishes, and their creamy texture pairs well with an array of ingredients. In contrast, edamame has a slightly sweet flavor that complements dishes with bold, savory components, and their slightly firmer texture adds a satisfying crunch.

Substituting in Recipes

While lima beans and edamame each have their unique characteristics, they can be successfully substituted for each other in recipes. Here are some ideas for replacing one with the other:

If a recipe calls forYou can substitute with
Lima beans in a soup or stewEdamame for added sweetness and a subtle crunch
Edamame in a stir-fryLima beans for a creamy, nutty counterpoint to the other ingredients
Roasted edamame as a snackRoasted lima beans with a touch of salt for a different yet satisfyingly crunchy snack

Keep in mind that the beans’ culinary behaviors differ slightly, so you may need to adjust your cooking times or technique to achieve the desired texture and flavor.

Comparing Legumes

Which Should You Be Growing | Lima Beans OR Butter Beans

Similarities with Other Legumes

In the world of legumes, Lima beans and edamame share many similarities with other legumes such as kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans, green peas, butter beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, and broad beans. All of these legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein and contain multiple essential amino acids that contribute to a complete protein profile.

Here’s a quick comparison of these legumes in terms of their protein content:

LegumeProtein (grams per 100g)
Lima Beans7
Kidney Beans9
Pinto Beans9
Black Beans8
Navy Beans8
Fava Beans7
Garbanzo Beans9
Green Peas5
Butter Beans7
Black-eyed Peas8
Green Beans2
Broad Beans6

These legumes also provide an array of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, which makes them an essential part of a balanced and nutritious diet.

Unique Characteristics

Although there are many similarities between Lima beans, edamame, and other legumes, each type also possesses unique characteristics that set them apart:

  • Lima beans: They have a buttery texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste. They can be enjoyed as a side dish, added to soups, or mashed into a spread.
  • Edamame: Known for their bright green color and slightly nutty flavor, edamame are young soybeans picked before they ripen. They can be eaten as a snack, added to stir-fries or salads, and even ground into flour.
  • Fava beans: Large, flat beans with a creamy texture and nutty flavor, fava beans work well as a side dish or added to salads and pastas.
  • Green peas: They have a sweet flavor and a pleasant crunch, making them a versatile addition to various dishes such as salads, soups, and casseroles.
  • Garbanzo beans: Also known as chickpeas, they have a mild, slightly nutty taste and firm texture. They can be roasted as a snack, added to salads, ground into flour, or pureed into hummus.
  • Black-eyed peas: With a mild earthy flavor, black-eyed peas are often used in southern cooking and can be added to salads, soups, or made into a dip.

While each legume varies in taste and texture, they all contribute valuable nutrients when incorporated into your meals. So, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new legumes, as they each offer unique flavors and health benefits to enhance your diet.

Lima Beans vs. Edamame + Recipe

Here's a simple recipe for a delicious lima bean salad:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 188 kcal


  • 2 cups cooked lima beans
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked lima beans, chopped red onion, diced bell pepper, and chopped parsley.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice to make the dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss until well combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve chilled as a refreshing side dish or light meal.


Calories: 188kcal
Keyword lima beans vs edamame
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can individuals with a soy allergy safely consume lima beans?

Yes, individuals with a soy allergy can safely consume lima beans. Soybeans belong to the legume family, but they are distinct from lima beans. Soy allergies are often the result of specific proteins found in soybeans; these proteins are not present in lima beans. However, it is always advised to consult with an allergist before trying new foods.

What distinguishes lima beans from soybeans nutritionally?

Lima beans and soybeans are both nutritious legumes, but they have some nutritional differences. Soybeans are higher in protein and contain a complete set of essential amino acids, making them a valuable source of plant-based protein. Lima beans, on the other hand, have slightly less protein content and a lower amount of certain essential amino acids. However, lima beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber and offer many essential vitamins and minerals.

How does the protein content in lima beans compare to edamame?

Edamame, which are young soybeans, have a higher protein content compared to lima beans. One cup of cooked edamame provides about 18 grams of protein, whereas the same amount of cooked lima beans contains about 12 grams of protein. Although both are good sources of plant-based protein, edamame is considered superior in terms of protein content.

Are there health benefits to choosing edamame over green beans?

Both edamame and green beans have their own unique health benefits. Edamame is an excellent source of plant-based protein and is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, and manganese. Green beans, on the other hand, are lower in calories and high in fiber, making them an ideal choice for weight management. They also provide certain nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Choosing one over the other depends on individual nutritional needs.

What are some suitable substitutes for edamame in recipes?

Several other legumes can be used as substitutes for edamame in recipes. Green peas, green beans, and lima beans are similar in texture and can be used interchangeably. Chickpeas, fava beans, and broad beans can also be used as substitutes, albeit with slightly different flavors and textures.

Has there been a recent change in the terminology for lima beans?

There hasn’t been any significant change in the terminology for lima beans. They are still commonly referred to as lima beans or butter beans, depending on regional preferences. In some regions, the larger, pale-colored variety is known as butter beans, while the smaller, green variety is called lima beans, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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