There are many reasons you might want to compare lentils to black beans.
So I did them all.
Somewhere on this page you should be able to find the difference between the 2 legumes that you’re looking for.
Whether it’s protein content, amino acid distribution, or nutritional value.
Macro Comparison: Lentils vs Black Beans
Let’s look at a high level breakdown for each legume.
The nutritional information for both is in 1 cup of cooked beans or lentils.
Clearly they’re very similar.
The biggest difference is that lentils have 2.7 extra grams of protein per serving. If you’re eating 2 or 3 cups of either, this difference adds up fast.
Other than that, they have about the same number of calories and fat, and black beans have a tiny bit more carbohydrates.
Essential Amino Acid Comparison
What about protein quality?
Here’s a breakdown of the essential amino acid content for both black beans and lentils.
|mg per kg||for 70 kg person||1 cup||1 cup|
As expected, they’re similar, but there’s one amino acid in particular I would like to highlight.
The typical essential amino acid profile of a bean is low in methionine.
Black beans have about 51% more methionine than lentils.
This isn’t a huge deal as long as your other protein sources have methionine. However, methionine is the most difficult essential amino acid to get from plants, so this is a little win for black beans.
Nutritional Value: Lentils vs Black Beans
I created a table below of just the vitamins or minerals that either legume were relatively high in.
All values are in % of the recommended daily value for each nutrient:
|Lentils (% DV)||Black Beans (% DV)|
Pretty similar as expected again, but there are some significant differences.
Lentils in general have more nutritional value than black beans, they have more in all but 2 of the above nutrients.
In particular, they have a lot more iron (37% vs 20%), which is probably the most important nutrient for someone eating a plant-based diet.
Which is Better: Black Beans or Lentils?
Putting that all together, we can make a few conclusions:
- Lentils have a significant amount more protein than black beans.
- Black beans have more methionine, an essential acid that most beans lack.
- Both are great vitamin and mineral wise, but lentils have more overall, plus more of iron, potassium, and zinc (arguably the most important ones).
Overall, lentils have more nutritional value than black beans, so they’d be the winner if we had to declare one.
But they’re both great sources of nutrition and good sources of protein (especially for vegans).