Difference Between Nut and Legume

Nut vs Legume

We all use nuts and legumes in our diet and easily recognize nuts as they are more expensive and considered to be full of nutrients. While nuts are types of dry fruits that have a meaty fruit inside a woody shell, a legume is simply a plant in the family fabaceae. Fruits of these plants are called legume pod, but many mistakenly call them dry fruits just like nuts. There are many differences between nuts and legumes apart from nutritional differences that will be talked about in this article.


Fruits of some plants are hard and woody instead of fleshy and soft fruits that we are accustomed to. These fruits contain a seed that is tasty and full of nutrients and is referred to as nut. Nuts are safely encased in the woody shell that is hard to break. There is not much of a culinary use of nuts except that they are added in cakes, puddings, biscuits, custards and ice creams. Nuts are high in oil content and this is why they are so popular. Most of the nuts are edible and are used as snacks when eaten raw or roasted form. Nuts are a great source of nutrition for wildlife, and there are animals like squirrels that store nuts like acorns to eat them in late autumn when food is scarcer.

Nuts are good source of amino acids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and many anti oxidants. Nuts have been found to be beneficial for the health of our heart and also prove beneficial in diabetes.


There are thousands of plant varieties that have seed pods that split along their sides to reveal the fruits inside. Some very common and popular legumes consumed by human beings worldwide are lentils, beans, peanuts, peas and soybeans. The seeds of legumes, when they dry up are called pulses. These pulses are consumed widely in all parts of the world for their high protein content. Legume plants have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen that is very helpful for the farmers as they are not dependent upon nitrogenous fertilizers.

Difference between Nut and Legume

• While both nuts and legumes are contained inside a fruit there are differences between them

• Nuts contain a single seed or at best 2 seeds (such as almonds) whereas legumes contain multiple seeds (such as green pea)

• While legumes have an opening in the side that splits to reveal the seeds, nuts need to be cracked open as they have a woody covering

• Nuts (seeds) are not attached to the walls of the fruit, legume seeds are attached with the walls of the shell they are contained in.

• Nuts are high in oil content and fat content while protein content is similar in nuts and legumes.

• Peanut is not a nut but a legume despite boasting of all the characteristics of nuts

• A nut has a unique quality of being indehiscent meaning it does not open on its own. Legumes split along their side naturally.