It’s easy to confuse edamame and fava beans based on appearance, but there are some significant differences between the 2 beans.
I’ll break down those differences in this short head-to-head comparison.
Are Fava Beans the Same as Edamame?
Fava beans are not the same as edamame, even though they share some similarities. Edamame is simply immature soybeans, while fava beans will eventually turn a dark brown color once fully matured.
Taste of Fava Beans vs Edamame
Both beans are on the firm side and are of a similar size:
- Fava beans – Have a silky but firm texture and a bit of a nutty and earthy flavor. They are relatively mild in flavor, but great for salads and soups.
- Edamame – Has more flavor than a mature soybean. Edamame tastes similar to peas, except with a firmer texture and small hint of sweetness. It’s typically included in salad recipes.
Can I Use Fava Beans Instead of Edamame?
Since fava beans and edamame taste fairly similar and are used in similar recipes, it’s usually fine to substitute one for the other in most meals.
Nutritional Value Comparison
While the taste and appearance of fava beans and edamame aren’t terribly different, there are some big differences when it comes to nutrition.
In the next sections, we’ll look at the nutrition facts for each legume, side-by-side, per 100 grams of cooked bean (which is just over 1/2 cup).
Let’s start with the main macronutrients:
|Total Lipid (g)||0.4||5.2|
Soybeans are fairly unique when it comes to their nutritional profile, so it’s not a surprise that edamame differs quite a bit from other beans.
The biggest things to note are:
- Edamame has slightly more calories
- Edamame has quite a bit more protein and fat content
- Fava beans are much higher in net carbohydrates
You might not think 4 grams of protein is a huge deal, but remember that an actual serving could be hundreds of grams, which adds up quickly.
Vitamins and Minerals
I’ve compiled detailed nutrient data from the USDA for both beans and created the table below for comparison.
The RDA is a general one for adults that I included just for reference. The vitamins and minerals are ordered from highest proportion of RDA to lowest.
|Vitamin K (µg)||75||2.9||26.7|
|Vitamin B-6 (mg)||1.3||0.1||0.1|
|Vitamin C (mg)||90||0.3||6.1|
|Vitamin E (mg)||15||0.0||0.7|
Both are very healthy foods, but it’s clear that edamame is more nutritious overall:
- Edamame has significantly more folate, manganese, vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium, and iron
- Fava beans have more selenium, but not a ton of it overall, and it’s not that hard to get selenium from other sources.
What Are the Differences Between Fava Beans and Edamame?
The biggest differences between fava beans and edamame aren’t related to taste, but to nutrition.
Edamame has much more protein and fats, along with several vitamins and minerals.
Both are healthy foods, but it makes sense to prioritize edamame if you’re looking for one of those ingredients.
While there are many myths around consuming soy, there’s no evidence that soy actually raises estrogen levels or has any other negative health effects.