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Lesson Note

Subject: Food And Nutrition

Topic: Food Study
Sub Topic: Legumes

Lesson Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

  1. Define the term legumes;
  2. State the nutritive value of legumes;
  3. State the factors to be considered when choosing legumes;
  4. Mention the dishes that can be prepared from legumes;
  5. List the methods of cooking legumes;
  6. Mention some pest of legumes.
Lesson Summary Aids: See Reference Materials below contents

Lesson Summary


Legumes are the edible seeds of leguminous plants belonging to the leguminosae family. Legumes used as food can be divided into two groups namely pulses and oilseeds. Pulses are the dried edible seeds of cultivated legumes such as peas, beans and lentils.
The term pulse, as used by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is reserved for legume crops harvested solely for the dry seed. This excludes green beans and green peas, which are considered vegetable crops. Also excluded are seeds that are mainly grown for oil extraction (oilseeds like soybeans and peanuts), and seeds which are used exclusively for sowing forage (clovers, alfalfa). However, in common usage, these distinctions are not always clearly made, and many of the varieties used for dried pulses are also used for green vegetables, with their beans in pods while young.
Oil seeds on the other hand are those legumes used primarily for their oil content. The oil may be extracted by pressing or by solvent extraction. The residue after the oil extraction is called cake and is a good source of protein. Examples of oil seeds are groundnuts and soya beans. The last group of the legumes are those that are used as folder, green manure and cover crops. These are not consumed by human beings.

Structure of a typical legume (bean seed)

Nutritive Value Of Legumes

Legumes  are next to animals and fishes as sources of protein. In fact the strict vegetarians depend on pulses for their protein supply. The protein of legumes usually lack one or more essential amino acids, hence they are often regarded as second class proteins. Legumes luck acids, methionine and cysteine. Horses are also rich in b complex vitamins. Sprouted pulses and the fresh greens ones are fairly good sources of vitamin C. However, the drug pulses are poor sources of this vitamin. Buses also supply and appreciable amount of carbohydrates. Causes of poor sources of oil. They are rich in some mineral elements especially calcium, phosphorus and iron. Courses are noted for not being easily digestible, therefore they should be cooked thoroughly to soften the cotyledons. Because of the high protein content of legumes, they should be incorporated into our diet so as to improve the nutritional quality of our meals. However, legumes contain some anti-nutritional factors that reduce their utilisation in the body. Some of these are given in the table below. Legumes to be well cooked to remove this anti-nutritional factors present in them before consumption.

Examples of Legumes

Factors to consider when purchasing legumes

  • They should be fresh.
  • They should be free from insects especially weevils.
  • They should be free from moulds which can arise due to incomplete drying.

Dishes from the Grains

Legumes are very popular within the Nigerian diet because of the numerous dishes that can be obtained from them. Some of these dishes are discussed below:
1. Bean Cake: This is commonly known in Nigeria as Akara Balls. In this case, the legumes notably beans are soaked in water and the skin removed. They are wet when mailed into a very smooth paste. Spices may be added if desired. the paste is then scooped into hot oil and allowed to fry until a brownish colour is obtained. Usually deep frying method is used for this dish.
2. Bean Pudding: Moin-moin: in this type of dish, the legumes usually beans are soaked in water and skinned. They are then wet milled into a homogeneous paste. palm oil organic oil and a little pepper and onions are added. the mixture is wrapped in leaves or put into empty cans and steamed. This dish is  commonly called moin-moin in Nigeria.
3. Boiled bean: as the name implies, the beans are washed several times, placed in the pot with water, with addition of salt pepper and oil. It is left to cook until it softens. It can then be eaten with fried ripe plantain (dodo), boiled or fried yam, bread, cassava flakes, etc.
4. Legumes stew: In this case, the legumes may be dehulled and cooked in excess water until they are very soft. the cotyledons are then matched until a homogeneous solution is obtained. Pepper oil and salt and then added and they are properly cooked. Fish or meat can be added as well. This type of legume steel is called gbegiri (Yoruba language). It is very popular among the inhabitants of oyo State in Nigeria.
5. Steamed copy paste with melon: This is prepared in same manner as moin-moin. However a little quantity of ground melon is added. It is important to note that no additional oil is needed in its preparation. In Yoruba language this this is called Igbalo or Jogi.

6. Vegetable: some legumes are used as vegetables in the preparation of stew. Examples are beans and peas.

Methods of Cooking Legume

They are many methods of cooking legumes. Some of these have been mentioned above. The method includes frying, steaming and boiling. Other methods are roasting for groundnut and baking which is applicable to groundnut and beans.

Pest That Affects Legumes

A common pest of grain legumes that is noticed in the tropical and subtropical Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania are minuscule flies that belong to the family Agromyzidae, dubbed “bean flies”. They are considered to be the most destructive. The host range of these flies is very wide amongst cultivated legumes. Infestation of plants starts from germination through to harvest, and they can destroy an entire crop in early stage. Black bean aphids are a serious pest to broad beans and other beans. Common hosts for this pest are fathen, thistle and dock. Pea weevil and bean weevil damage leaf margins leaving characteristics semi-circular notches. Stem nematodes are very widespread but will be found more frequently in areas where host plants are grown.

Lesson Evaluation / Test

  1. What are legumes?
  2. state the factors to be considered when choosing the different groups of legumes.
  3. Mention the different dishes that can be prepared from legumes.
  4. What are the nutritive value of legumes in food?
  5. What pests destroy legumes?
Teachers/Learners Discussion: What are other dishes you know that can be prepared from legumes? Share your knowledge in the comment section.

Questions answered correctly? Bravo!Do stay connected to itsmyschoollibrary.com for more educational contents!



Goot, P.van der (1984). Agromyzid flies of some native legume crops in Java. Shanhua, Taiwan : Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center. 

Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (2019-10-28).“Legumes and Pulses”. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved 2022-04-10

Pest and disease control on legumes, onions, leeks, outdoor salad crops and minor vegetables. Great Britain: Alnwick : Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food ADAS. 1984. pp. 11–13.

 “What is a Pulse?”. Pulse Canada. Retrieved 10 April 2022

“Oilseed Crops – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics”.http://www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2022-04-10.

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