Mung Beans vs Lentils – What’s the Difference?

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mung beans vs lentils

Have you asked yourself What’s the difference between lentils and mung beans? If you have, then prepare to be enlightened. In this article, we look at:

  • The differences between mung beans and lentils.
  • How lentils and mung beans compare nutritionally.
  • Can You Replace Lentils with Mung Beans?
  • Which is better, mung beans or lentils?

What’s the Difference Between Lentils and Mung Beans?

mung beans characteristics

Mung beans and lentils are two of the most delicious and nutritious members of the legume family. Both are known for their high protein and fiber content, but there are subtle differences between the two that gives one a clear edge.

Mung beans, also known as green gram, golden gram, mungo, and dou, are native to Asia. Mung beans have small (2 mm), round green to brown seeds that are prized for their high nutritional content and versatility. 

Perfectly at home, in both savory and sweet offerings, mung beans are added to desserts and used in all manner of other dishes.  By themselves, mung beans have a light earthy taste, but they quickly absorb the flavor of whatever seasonings they are combined with. 

lentils characteristics

Lentils are green to brown disk-shaped seeds with a creamy yellow core. They have a more robust earthy, nutty flavor than mung beans but not objectionably so. Lentils are also very versatile but are rarely used in deserts. 

The main differences between lentils and mung beans beyond their physical appearance lie in their nutritional makeup. 

  • Mung beans and lentils are high in protein, dietary fiber, potassium, iron, and calories.
  • Lentils have 73% less sugar than mung beans.
  • Mung beans are an excellent source of calcium.
  • Mung beans have a higher concentration of B-complex, A, and C vitamins than lentils.
  • Mung beans are higher in overall mineral and micronutrient content.

Can You Replace Lentils with Mung Beans?

lentils falvor

Virtually any recipe that calls for lentils can be duplicated using mung beans. It should be kept in mind that mung beans have a milder flavor than many varieties of lentils and are sweeter. This could alter the final taste of some dishes.

Nutrition Table

Per 100g Cooked Mung Beans Cooked Lentils
Calories 105 (5% DV) 116 (6% DV)
Fat 0.4g 0.4g
Carbohydrates 19.2g 20.1g
Protein 7g 9g
Cholesterol 0mg omg
Fiber 7.6g 7.9g
Sugar 2g 1.8g
Iron 1.4mg 2.2mg
Vitamin A 1μg 0μg
Vitamin C 1mg 1.5mg
Vitamin B1 0.2mg 0.2mg
Vitamin B2 0.1mg 0.1mg
Vitamin B5 0 0
Vitamin B12 0 0
Biotin 0 0
Folate 159μg 181μg
Vitamin E 0.2mg 0.1
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin K 2.7μg 1.7μg
Vitamin K1 0 0

Which is More Nutritious?

mung beans more nutritious

Generally, mung beans are considered healthier and more nutritious than lentils. However, this doesn’t mean that lentils don’t have their strong points. 

Mung beans are higher in Vitamin B6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. They are also richer in protein and dietary fiber. Unfortunately, mung beans are also much higher in sugar (73%), and their calorie count is 199% greater. 

Lentils have the advantage of being slightly lower in saturated fat than mung beans. This is a minor victory, though, when mung beans contain 220% more Vitamin C and vitamin A that is completely lacking in lentils.

Lentils are very healthy and nutritious, but the overall winner in the nutrition battle is undoubtedly mung beans.  

Which is Better, Mung Beans or Lentils?

lentils earthy flavor

Food preferences are highly subjective. Which is better tasting, lentils or mung beans, depends on your palate. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then mung beans made into cake icing, a pudding, or a dessert filling would be right up your alley. If you dearly love a vigorously earthy legume taste, then lentils served steamed or boiled would be best for you.

You can give a more definite answer if the question is, which is better overall, mung beans or lentils.

Mung beans are:

  1. More versatile and can be used to enrich nearly any type of dish.
  2. Overall, much more nutritious.

This clearly makes mung beans the best choice overall.