Pigeon Peas vs Soy: Which Is Better?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between pigeon peas and soy, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the pigeon peas vs soy comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on January 20, 2023.

Pigeon Peas and soy belong to the legumes and legume products food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Legumes and most legume products are an affordable source of plant protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

This article will thoroughly compare pigeon peas and soy and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) are a legume widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

They are a staple food in many countries, including India, Africa, and South America.

Pigeon peas are known for their high protein and fiber content, as well as their rich flavor and versatility in cooking.

Pigeon peas can be used in various dishes such as dals, curries, soups, and stews. They can also be used to make flour and snacks.

They peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and are a good source of minerals like iron, zinc, and potassium.

They are also rich in antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation and protect against certain types of cancer.

Pigeon peas are also low in fat and cholesterol-free, making them a great option for a healthy diet.

Pigeon Peas is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).


Soybeans (Glycine max) are a type of legume native to East Asia.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content. Soy protein is one of the complete sources of a plant-based protein.

Soybeans can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including tofu, soy milk, and soy-based meat substitutes, and can also be ground into flour and used in baked goods such as bread and cookies.

In addition to being a tasty and nutritious food, soybeans have been shown to have many potential health benefits.

They are a good source of antioxidants and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control.

Soybeans are also a good source of several important minerals, including iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Soy are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin K.

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing pigeon peas vs soy.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of pigeon peas and soy and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Pigeon PeasSoy
Energy343 kcal446 kcal
Carbs62.78 g30.2 g
Sugar7.33 g
Fiber15 g9.3 g
Protein21.7 g36.5 g
Fat1.49 g19.9 g
Saturated Fat0.33 g2.88 g

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Calories

Most calories in raw legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing pigeon peas vs soy for weight loss, pigeon peas is slightly lower in calories, with 343 calories per 100 grams, compared to 446 calories per 100 grams of soy.

However, both pigeon peas and soy can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including pigeon peas and soy, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Soy offer around 41% more protein than pigeon peas.

Soy have 36.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, while pigeon peas has 21.7 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in pigeon peas and soy.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 52% higher in pigeon peas than in soy. It have 62.8 grams per 100 grams, compared to 30.2 grams in soy.

There’s less sugar in pigeon peas than in soy, 100% precisely.

One handful of pigeon peas (28 grams) contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of soy contains 2.1 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in pigeon peas and soy.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 4.2 grams of fiber per portion, pigeon peas is a better source of fiber than soy which pigeon peas offers 2.6 grams per portion.

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Fats

Like most other legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, pigeon peas and soy are low in fat.

Fats in pigeon peas and soy are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in pigeon peas and soy:

  • Pigeon Peas: 1.5 grams per 100 grams
  • Soy: 19.9 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, pigeon peas is 90% lower in saturated fats.

Pigeon Peas and soy contain 0.3 grams and 2.9 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of pigeon peas and soy.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Pigeon Peas has a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, soy have a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Pigeon Peas and soy contain the same amount of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins pigeon peas and soy contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Pigeon PeasSoy
Vitamin A28 IU22 IU
Vitamin C06 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.643 mg0.874 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.187 mg0.87 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)2.965 mg1.62 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.266 mg0.793 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.283 mg0.377 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)456 µg375 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E00.85 mg
Vitamin K047 µg

Pigeon Peas vs Soy Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the pigeon peas and soy comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Pigeon Peas is a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc than soy.

On the other hand, soy are a higher amount of sodium.

Check out the table below to learn how pigeon peas and soy compare when it comes to mineral content.

Pigeon PeasSoy
Calcium130 mg277 mg
Copper1.057 mg1.66 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron5.23 mg15.7 mg
Magnesium183 mg280 mg
Manganese1.791 mg2.52 mg
Phosphorus367 mg704 mg
Potassium1392 mg1800 mg
Selenium8.2 µg17.8 µg
Sodium17 mg2 mg
Zinc2.76 mg4.89 mg

The Final Word

Pigeon Peas and soy are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both pigeon peas and soy are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in beans and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes are versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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