Type of beans (part 4) – Pea group

Pea group

We are very familiar with beans recipe in cuisine. Many people love to use fresh beans and sometimes we do not call exactly their name. These fresh beans are usually arranged in the pea group. Pea group may smaller than bean group if we base on the typical feature of small round shape, withstanding in the cold climate and unchanged green status when they are unripe or ripe.

Beans recipe with pea group is popular in Europe and America more than in the Asian countries where people use mainly dried beans belonging bean group. For cooking, peas are used as an ingredient in stir dried dishes, salad and some soup. They are not stewed deeply for soup as dried beans. There are some typical species of peas in pea group that you may concern as below:


Pisum with pisum sativum (also known as pea) is a popular species. While most of bean species are grown well in warm weather with the varieties shape and colors of seeds, the peas are thrived in cool climate with small and spherical seeds. Some species could be listed are:

  1. Green pea or English pea: is a very popular vegetable around the world with high nutrition content. Its pod and seed are green, and could change to a lighter color when ripe. In some places could be used whole pod when young, when it’s mature, we only take the seeds. This seed is popular as canned, frozen, fresh or dried and mostly used as it is green. There are many beans recipe with English pea that you can find out easily to rich your menu each day.
  2. Snap pea or sugar snap pea: is similar to green pea but less fibrous, sweeter and greener, and edible-pod when young. When ripe, its pod will not open itself, we have to split to take the seeds. The most popular beans recipe with sugar snap pea is sugar snap pea stir-fry. It is the only main ingredient in this dish or you can combine with some other popular ingredients such as chicken breast, beef, mushrooms etc to increase the taste to your dishes.
  3. Snow pea: is pod-edible like snap pea with thinner wall inner the pod compared with snap pea. This species also contains many nutrients and is used as vegetable in many dishes. Snow peas are same with sugar snap peas that there are different beans recipe with snow peas. They can be combined with many different ingredients to fry deliciously.


A genus which includes about 37 species and the most popular one is Cajanus cajan or pigeon pea. It is domesticated in India very early and now is a common food grain in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Pigeon pea is a perennial plant but mostly planted as annual. Its plant is good drought-tolerant and low pest infected. The seed is small and has egg-shaped with green color when young and brown or dark yellow when ripe. This pea is a popular food source in developing countries. Its rich nutrition seed could be used as vegetable when immature, to cook and sprout when ripe. It’s also used as forage to animals.


A genus includes many species in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Some of these species are grown for food and some for their flower fragrance. The popular species of this genus are Lathyrus sativus or Indian pea, and Lathyrus tuberosus or tuberous pea.

  1. Lathyrus sativus or Indian pea: is grown in Asia and East Africa and could stand the drought or flood. The seed is small and is rich in protein.
  2. Lathyrus tuberosus or tuberous pea: is native to Europe and East Asia. This species has edible tuber, its tuber is sweet, starchy and could be eaten as vegetable raw or cooked.

Related to the previous parts of bean types please go to:

Type of beans – bean group (part 1): Vicia and Phaseolus species

Type of beans – bean group (part 2): Vigna, Cicer and Psophocarpus species.

Type of beans – bean group (part 3): Glycine, Arachis, Macuna and Lentil species.