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What Is the Difference Between Lima Beans & Edamame?

By Daniel Holzer ; Updated July 21, 2017
Lima beans are typically white and sold dry.
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When planning out a healthy diet, experts recommend lots of fruits and vegetables, including legumes. Legumes are rich sources of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates, making them ideal for a balanced diet. While lima beans and edamame are both legumes, they are very different in presentation, taste and nutrition.


The beginning of the differences between lima beans and edamame starts with their origins. Lima beans are native to South America and are common in Peruvian, Argentinian and even Mexican cuisine. Edamame, on the other hand, originated in Asia with great popularity in Japan, Korea and China.


Edamames are immature soybeans that are commonly eaten raw.
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The lima bean, sometimes called a butter bean in the Southern region of the United States, is a small kidney-shaped legume typically light or spotted in color. They can be widely purchased dried to be boiled before consuming. Edamame is small and bright green, found on market shelves still in the pods, which look similar to large pea pods.


Lima beans, when cooked properly, have a thin skin and medium-soft interiors. There is a reason they are called butter beans: They have a slight flavor with a smooth texture much like butter. Edamames must be chewed more because they are harder and have a slightly sweet taste.


Edamame has twice the protein of lima beans and almost half the carbohydrates, which makes it a dieter's dream snack. However, the lima bean has 18 percent fewer calories than edamame and is fat free. Lima beans also pack more vitamin A, vitamin C and iron than edamame.


About the Author


Based in Southern California, Daniel Holzer has been a freelance writer specializing in labor issues, personal finance and green living since 2004. His recent work has appeared online at Green Your Apartment and other websites. Holzer studied English literature at California State University, Fullerton.