Kidney beans are a large, kidney-shaped bean with colored skin and a firm, white interior. Dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans, while slightly different in color, are extremely similar in flavor, texture and nutritional value. While the two beans are actually different species, they can be used interchangeably.
Kidney beans are extremely popular due to their strong bean flavor and versatility. When cooked, kidney beans have a creamy flavor. Dark red kidney beans are distinguished by their bright color and slightly thicker skins, while light red kidney beans are slightly lighter and more delicate than dark red kidney beans.
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Both dried and canned kidney beans are used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, chilis, sauces, dips, casseroles, salads and side dishes.
Both dark red and light red kidney beans are popular in the United States, as well as worldwide. Light red kidney beans are especially favored in the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal.
Beans in general are an extremely healthy food, as they are low in fat but high in protein. Kidney beans are a good source of fiber, iron, folic acid, manganese, thiamine, phosphorus and potassium.
Kidney beans are indigenous to Central and South America. New World explorers introduced the beans to Europeans.