Under a variety of Spanish names (beans, name of Arab origin, beans, American origin or beans, beans …) these legumes of American origin were introduced in Spain and quickly spread throughout the province, perhaps because of its Similarity to the existing local types of legumes. Tremendously versatile, these legumes have given rise to a multitude of recipes with pork, game, vegetables and even fish and seafood. Among the varieties grown in Spain are the famous Barco de Avila beans, from the provinces of Avila and Salamanca (Castile and Leon), which carry a protected geographical indication (PGI). Also of Castile and Leon are the Alubia de la Bañeza-León. They belong to different local varieties and have been extended the name of their area of cultivation of all Spain during centuries. Further north, in the Principality of Asturias, we find the locally known as Asturian Faba. These are large legumes, kidney shaped and creamy white. Since the 19th century, they have been one of the main crops of the region and are the essential ingredient in the most representative Asturian dishes, Asturian fabada. The name faba is also used in its neighboring region of Galicia, where are the famous Faba de Lourenzá, from the district of Marina, in the province of Lugo, belonging to the local varieties – faba galaica, faba do marisco and faba Verdina and which are characterized by their tenderness, firmness and a very thin skin. Other known Spanish varieties are the dark red beans of Tolosa in the Basque Country, the red caparrón of La Rioja and Burgos, and the great Jewry of the Farm in Segovia.


Many varieties of chickpea are grown in Spain. One of the best is called Milky White, which is grown in Andalusia and Extremadura. Also the Castellano, one, the medium-sized yellowish chickpea that is produced both in southern Spain and in the Castilian plains, where also the smallest, Pedrosillano is grown. Among the quality denominations we have the I.G.P Garbanzo de Escacena and the Garbanzo de Fuentesaúco, in the province of Zamora -Castilla and León-, which have been popular for centuries for their texture of butter and fine skin.


The best known of the Spanish lentils are those of La Armuña, in the province of Salamanca -Castilla and León-, which are protected by I.G.P. Lentil of Armuña. The variety is called Rubia de la Armuña. They are large, tasty lentils with a yellowish green color. Also known are I.G.P.Pardina de Tierra de Campos. Small and brown, with a soft skin and a firm texture. They are grown in much of the region of Castilla-León. Lentils are rich in iron and other mineral salts and affordable. Since they do not contain fat, they are usually cooked with ham, bacon, pork sausages and other fats to make them more palatable and nutritious. They are also often prepared with game birds such as partridge and quail.

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Montse Gonzalez