What Are Red Beans?

Folks, we’ve heard your calls, read your letters, and listened to the passersby on the street shouting out at us when we’re simply trying to go about our business: You want more bean talk. Well, we’re happy to inform you that beans are back on the menu because today we’re talking red beans. That’s right, beans come in red now, and they have for thousands of years. We’ve spoken about white beans, and now we’re giving red beans their due. Hopefully scientists will come out with a blue bean by Independence Day, but until then, let’s take a look at red bean history and their many uses! 

What are red beans?

The category of red beans encompasses a couple different legume strains. The adzuki bean is a red bean commonly used in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine, particularly in red bean paste, which we’ll discuss a little later. However, there is also the red kidney bean, which is often used in Indian and North American cuisine in dishes such as chili con carne. On top of that, there are small red beans or Mexican beans, which are kind of like mini kidney beans—they’re what you’ll find in red beans and rice.  

Are red beans kidney beans?

Well, yes and no! Not all red beans are kidney beans, but kidney beans are a type of red bean.

What does red bean taste like?

The taste of red bean has been described as earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. This makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in all sorts of recipes around the globe, in addition to just a great taste on its own.

What is red bean paste?

Red bean paste or anko is a sweetened paste made from mashed adzuki beans and sugar (or honey). Sometimes red bean paste is made with a form of fat like oil or lard. It can be chunky or smooth. It is typically used as a filling for many East Asian treats such as red bean buns, mochi, or even ice cream.

So, now you’re familiar with yet another bean in the wide spectrum that the genre has to offer. Perhaps they’re not your cup of tea, or maybe they’re your absolute favorite bean! Either way, we can all agree, they’re not a good option for Easter baskets. Stick with Jelly Bellies.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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