Black beans are a popular staple in many diets due to their high fiber and protein content. So many delicious dishes include black beans, Like my Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Enchiladas or The Best Chipotle Copycat Black Beans.
Also, some people cannot eat black beans for various reasons, making them opt for black beans substitutes.
However, the best black beans substitutes are kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, chick beans, white beans, large northern beans, lentils, cannellini beans, black Eyed Peas, Cauliflower Blossoms, Cashews, sunflower seeds
Meanwhile, most of these black beans substitutes have a similar taste and texture and are all very nutritious.
What Are Black Beans?
Black beans are a legume popular in many Mexican and Central American cuisines. Black beans are small, oval-shaped legumes with glossy black skin. They are often used in soups, stews, chili, salads, and rice dishes.
The texture of black beans is firm yet tender, and the flavor is earthy and nutty. Black beans are great source of fiber and protein. Depending on the recipe, you can use dried black beans or canned black beans.
Cooked black beans have a soft, creamy texture and can be used in recipes as a substitute for other beans, such as kidney beans. But in general, black beans are used in dishes where their color and flavor can contribute, like in black bean soup or chili.
These beans also do well in warm climates, making them easy to find fresh. Incorporating black beans into your dish gives you a delicious, high-protein, high-fiber ingredient and vitamins and minerals.
Types of beans like black beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber and are low in fat. Meanwhile, here are some of the best black beans substitutes to add to your meals. I’ll also share how to substitute them depending on your cooking.
Best Black Beans Substitutes
Substituting black beans is not that tricky; there are many other types of beans that you can use. But bear in mind that some beans, like black-eyed peas or lentils, absorb more liquid than others, so you may need to adjust the amount of broth or water in your recipe.
The best black beans substitutes are:
1. Kidney Beans
The best black beans substitutes are kidney beans. They have a similar taste and texture, making them the perfect option for dishes that call for black beans. The flavor of red kidney beans is best described as earthy and nutty with a slightly sweet taste.
Kidney beans have a similar nutritional profile to black beans, so you still get the same benefits. These beans are dark red, not black, but similar.
However, the difference is that black beans are smaller than red kidney beans, so if you’re using them in a dish where size and color matter, like a salad, keep that in mind.
Kidney beans can be used in chili con carne, taco fillings, and Mexican foods. You can use the same 1:1 ratio when substituting kidney beans for black beans. Therefore, the kidney bean is an excellent substitute for black beans and will not alter the flavor of your food.
2. Lima Beans
Another great way to substitute black beans is to use lima beans. These beans have a creamier texture than black beans, making them perfect for dishes where you want a creamier texture. Therefore, we recommend using lima beans as black beans substitutes in recipes where you need chili beans.
They taste a little sweeter than black beans and are softer. Unlike black beans, lima beans are green in color and more giant, so if you’re using them in a dish where size matters, keep that in mind.
If substituting lima beans for black beans, use the same 1:1 ratio. Lima beans can be used in soups, stews, and chili.
3. Pinto Beans
Pinto is another good black beans substitutes. They have a slightly different flavor but still go well with most recipes. Pinto beans are commonly used alongside black beans in chili, making them the best replacement.
It can be used in chili, stew, and even stir-fries as they add a creamy texture. Pinto beans have a mild flavor compared to black beans, but they have almost the same texture and similar flavor profile. Pinto beans are orange in color but taste delicious and won’t overpower your dishes.
Also, they have slightly less protein than black beans, but they’re still a good source of fiber and other nutrients. You can use the same 1:1 ratio when substituting pinto beans for black beans.
Chickpea is also considered an excellent replacement for black beans when planning a meal. Although chickpeas are not a type of bean, they can be used in many of the same dishes. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are slightly sweet taste with a nutty flavor.
They are also versatile and can be used in sweet and savory dishes. If you want chickpeas as a substitute for black beans, we recommend using them in dishes where you want a little more texture.
Any recipe calling for black beans can benefit from adding this versatile ingredient. They are easy to obtain and have a reticent and nutty flavor. In terms of texture, chickpeas are a bit firmer than black beans.
However, Chickpeas are also an excellent substitute for dips and salads. Because they have a slight sweetness and can add a unique flavor, your dish will retain its nutritional value with its high protein and fiber content.
As long as they soak overnight, they’ll be ready quickly. Or you can use canned chickpeas. The substitution ratio is 1:1, so if a recipe calls for 1 cup of black beans, use 1 cup of chickpeas instead. They are suitable for salads and as a topping for soups.
5. Large Northern Beans
Large northern beans are a type of kidney bean with a mild flavor. They are often used in dishes where you want the bean flavor to be subtle. It can be used in salads, baked beans, soups, and chili.
Large northern beans are good black beans substitute as they have a similar texture. When cooked, they become soft and creamy. Also, like black beans, large northern beans are a good source of protein and fiber.
Meanwhile, there is a size difference between these beans, but large northern beans make an excellent substitute for black beans.
Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber, making them even more nutritious than black beans. They add a more robust flavor to any dish. Different types of lentils can be used as a black beans substitute, and they all work well.
Red lentils, green lentils, yellow lentils, and black lentils are all great substitutes. Lentils taste earthy and nutty, with a slightly sweet taste. When cooked, they become a bit mushy. As we have dried beans, we also have dried lentils, which can be used interchangeably in recipes.
If you’re using dry lentils, you must soak them overnight before cooking. The ratio for this replacement is 1:2. So whenever your recipe calls for 1 cup of black beans, use 2 cups of lentils instead since lentils are tiny.
7. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans are one of the most underrated black beans substitute. They taste similar and can be used in many of the same dishes. Cannellini beans are white beans with a mild, nutty flavor.
Italian recipes often use them because they absorb the dish’s flavors. Cannellini beans are also great for Mexican food as they are packed with fiber and protein, which makes them a great alternative to black beans.
The substitution ratio is 1:1. So if your recipe calls for a cup of black beans, use a cup of cannellini beans instead.
8. Black Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas are a popular choice for black beans substitute. They taste similar and can be used in the same dishes. These look like black beans but are a type of cowpea. They have a nutty taste and are often used in soups and stews.
Black-eyed peas also look similar to dried black beans, so that you can use them. The only difference is that black-eyed peas are slightly larger but with a similar texture. When cooked, they become soft and creamy and also have a similar nutritional value.
The substitution ratio is 1:1. So if your recipe calls for a cup of black beans, use a cup of black-eyed peas instead.
9. Cauliflower Blossoms
Ok, I know what you be thinking, this isn’t a bean or pea, but it’s an excellent black beans substitute if you’re looking for a low-carb option. Cauliflower flowers can be an alternative to black beans in rice, quesadillas, and tacos.
However, cauliflower has a meaty texture, similar to black beans. The florets have a mild flavor, so they don’t overwhelm the dish. And when cooked, they have a texture similar to black beans. Cauliflower is a good source of fiber and essential vitamins.
10. Cashews nuts
Cashews are a good substitute for black beans when you’re looking for a nutty flavor. They are similar in texture to black beans and can be used in the same dishes. Cashew nuts are an excellent source of protein and can also be used in baking.
Meanwhile, cashews are slightly sweeter than black beans. So, if you’re using them as a substitute, you might want to add more flavor to the dish. The substitution ratio is 1:1.
Grounding the cashews into a powder before using them would be best.
11. Sunflower Seeds
If you are allergic to nuts and don’t like legumes, sunflower seeds are an excellent black beans substitute for you. They taste similar and can be used in the same dishes. Sunflower seeds are a good source of protein and are also high in fiber.
The substitution ratio is 1:1. So if your recipe calls for a cup of black beans, use a cup of sunflower seeds instead. You can use sunflower to replace cooked black beans in salads and as toppings.
Now that you have a list of suitable black bean substitutes, you can experiment with different flavors and textures in your meals. We prefer to use other beans like kidney beans and pinto beans to substitute for black beans because they have a similar flavor and texture.
However, cauliflower is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-carb option. The size of the beans or peas is essential. You don’t want to make a stew and have too many large beans as these can absorb the liquids.