12 Best Substitutes for Mung Beans

Mung beans are popular in many dishes, from soups to stews and desserts. ? But what if you can’t find mung beans in the store? You may be wondering if there are other options that you can use in place of these little green mung beans.

Don’t worry; plenty of tasty substitutes for mung beans with similar tastes and textures exist; because they are a nutritious, protein-rich ingredient that is highly versatile and easy to cook, bringing many substitutes for mung beans.

The best substitutes for mung beans include; lentils, peas, adzuki beans, black mung beans, shelled beans, Pinto beans, Borlotti beans, Green bean / small flageolet beans, Pigeon peas, string beans, Chickpea, and sunflower sprouts.

In this post, we will help you cook your favorite mung beans dish without using mung beans but using their best substitutes.

What are Mung Beans?

Mung bean is a small green legume very popular in Asian cuisine. They are usually used in soups, curries and stews. Mung beans are rich in protein and fiber. Despite their size, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.

If you’re wondering about the flavor of mung beans, it’s nutty and a little sweet. Raw mung beans taste like crunchy legumes with an earthy, nutty flavor. People describe the taste as slightly pea-like.

But when cooked, the mung bean blends in with the other ingredients, so its nutty flavor isn’t strong. In terms of texture, mung bean is tender and soft to the bite. Unlike other legumes, they don’t need much soaking before cooking.

Pairing them with vegetables, meats, spices, and some of your favorite foods will enhance the flavor even more.

How to Get a Good Substitute for Mung Beans

Now that we know what mung beans are, let’s discuss what to look for in a suitable substitute. When it comes to substitutes, the first thing you have to consider is their texture.

Mung beans have a firm, smooth texture when raw. So, your substitute should also be soft but not overly hard in raw form, ensuring your dish still has that “bite” to it. However, once cooked, mung beans become soft and mushy. 

So, it’s essential to look for a substitute that is also soft, tender, and mushy when cooked.

The second thing you should consider is the taste. The substitute should be able to complement the other ingredients in the dish and not overwhelm them. The flavor should be smooth, earthy, and slightly nutty.

Fortunately, many legumes are somehow similar when it comes to taste, so finding substitutes isn’t too tricky. And lastly, the replacement must be easy to find. You don’t want to go on and on to find the perfect substitutes for mung beans.

That said, let’s get to the best substitute for mung beans.

Best Mung Beans Substitutes to Try

Here are the best substitutes for mung beans you should try the next time you cook your favorite dish.

1. Lentils

Lentils are favorite substitutes for mung; they are predominantly brown and green lentils because they have the same soft, mushy texture once cooked. Lentils are small, round, flat legumes with a nutty and mild flavor. 

They come in various colors, including green, brown, yellow, red, and black.

Lentils are versatile and can be used in soups, stews, curries, salads, and even as a side dish; they have a more robust peppery and earthy flavor that makes them different from mung beans. Because lentils are so widely available, they also work well as mung bean substitutes.

Use a 1:1 ratio to substitute lentils for mung beans,

2. Peas

Peas are one of the great substitutes for mung beans. They have similar textures and flavors so that they will complement your dish. Peas are very versatile, you can use them in stir-fries, curries, soups, salads, and even as a side dish.

Buy them fresh from the supermarket or grocery store, or grow them yourself. To replace the mung beans with peas, follow the recipe and replace the mung beans with an equal amount of peas.

 So, peas would be your second-best choice if you want an alternative with the same texture as mung beans.

3. Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are small red legumes which are popular in Asian cuisine.

These beans are primarily red but have a moderate nutty and bean flavor. They also taste sweet and are often used in desserts and sweet dishes. Adzuki beans are used to make a famous red bean paste used in many desserts in Japan.

Adzuki beans are versatile and can be used in stews, curries, salads, as a side dish and soups. Adzuki beans have a more robust flavor and tend to hold their shape better when cooked, so they are firmer than mung beans.

However, due to their sweet taste, they also complement many savory dishes. To substitute adzuki beans for mung beans, use a 1:1 ratio like you would when cooking mung beans.

4. Black Mung Beans

Black mung beans, also called Vigna mungo or black grass, are great substitutes for mung beans, which are used more often. Despite being very similar, black gram has a more earthly flavor. This bean is often used to make soups, stews, bean paste, and even curries. 

Black mung beans give food a richer, nutty flavor; some prefer it. You can sprout these black mung beans and use them the same way you would use sprouted green beans. The proper replacement for green and black mung beans is a 1:1 ratio.

However, remember that this substitute is challenging; they can be available online or at specialty grocery stores.

5. Shelled Mung Beans

Shelled mung beans are simply mung beans that have been hulled and halved. Shelled mung beans cook faster than whole mung beans because they have a smaller surface area. These beans taste best as part of curry and soup recipes as well.

Unlike other substitutes for mung beans, these are mung beans, so they have cooked, they have an earthy and mild flavor. They also, have a delicate texture which are smooth and slightly sweet when Use these beans in salads, curries, soups, and other foods instead of mung beans.

To substitute shelled mung beans, use a 1:1 ratio for whole mung beans.

6. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans, or Phaseolus coccineus or strawberry beans, are a bean type. They get their name from their red color and oval shape, which resembles a strawberry. These beans have a smooth, creamy flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste. 

Pinto beans are easy to find online and commonly used in soups, stews, curries, and salads. This beans have a more strong flavor compared to other mung bean substitutes. However, they complement many Asian and Mexican-inspired dishes with their rich nutty flavor.

Meanwhile, Canned pinto beans are the most accessible substitutes for mung beans. Substitute them as you would mung beans in your recipes, and adjust the cooking time to account for the texture of the bean.

The replacement ratio is 1:1, so you can substitute mung beans for pinto beans and use them the same way. So, feel free to use pinto beans for equal amounts if your recipe calls for mung beans.

7. Borlotti Beans

The Borlotti beans, or cranberry bean, is a type of Italian bean that is large, white, red, and oval. They have a firm texture and nutty flavor.  These beans also have a mild, sweet flavor and a silky texture.

Borlotti beans are excellent substitutes for mung beans, especially if you want to experiment with different flavors and textures. They are often used in soups, casseroles, casseroles, and salads.

Use a 1:1 ratio to substitute Borlotti beans for mung beans in your recipes

8. Green Beans

Small flageolet beans, also known as green beans, are a variety of small, light green, oval beans. They have a delicate nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Also, these beans are often used in salads, soups, casseroles, and casseroles, and they do look like mung beans!

Green beans have a lot of fiber; a serving can meet half your daily fiber requirement. To use green beans as substitutes for mung beans, substitute them in a 1:1 ratio and use them the same way you would use mung beans.

However, remember to consider any changes in texture or flavor that may occur (although they taste very similar!)

9. Pigeon Pea

The pigeon pea is a small, round, green type of legume; they have a nutty flavor and are often used in curries, soups, stews, and even as a side dish. Young pods are bright green; they will turn dark brown with brown streaks or spots as they mature.

They are often referred to as green peas when they are offered fresh. You can get them online for your kitchen. You can use pigeon peas place of mung beans to achieve a similar taste and texture.

Pigeon pea is Substitute in equal amounts for mung beans in any recipe and follow the exact preparation instructions.

10. Black-Eye Beans

Black-eye beans are small, oval-shaped legumes. Black-eye beans have a beige color and a small black “eye” mark on their inner curve. These legumes have a mild, slightly earthy, nutty flavor. They are usually used in soups, stews, and curries.

Moreover, like mung beans, black-eye beans are a great source of fiber in addition to protein and carbohydrates. They also have low fat and calories and high in essential vitamins and minerals.

String beans are great substitutes for mung beans because they have a similar flavor and texture. Replace them in a 1:1 ratio and use them the same way you would mung beans.

11. Chickpea

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are not the best substitutes for mung beans if the size is a concern. However, chickpeas can be a great option if you are looking for a substitute with similar nutrients and textures.

Chickpeas are beige-colored legumes with a mild nutty flavor. They are usually used in, stews, stir-fries, soups and salads. Like mung beans, chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, protein, minerals and essential vitamins.

But chickpeas are larger than mung beans with a different texture, so you might want to experiment with different cooking methods. Substitute chickpeas in a 1:1 ratio when using them in similar recipes.

12. Sunflower Sprouts

Sunflower sprouts are not peas but make great substitutes for mung beans in salads, stir-fries, and soups, where taste is more important than shape and appearance. They provide a crunchy, bean sprout-like texture when used as a garnish.

Sunflower sprouts have a slightly nutty flavor and can easily be incorporated into any dish that calls for mung beans. You can buy fresh green sunflower sprouts at most places where you buy other sprouts.

Alternatively, you can grow your sprouts at home by soaking sunflower seeds overnight, then rinsing and draining them several times a day until they are fully sprouted.

Unfortunately, sunflower sprouts are not the best substitutes for mung beans because you can only use them in salads and as a garnish for soups and stir-fries. However, sunflower sprouts are a great choice if you’re looking for a substitute that retains most of the mung bean’s flavor and nutritional value.

So, what are you waiting for to try them on your next dish?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mung Bean the Same as Yellow Pea?

No, mung beans and yellow peas are two different types of legumes. Mung beans are small, oval-shaped beans with a sweet, nutty flavor, while yellow peas are larger, longer, mild flavors.

Both mung beans and yellow peas are low in fat and protein and can be used to make various dishes such as soups, salads, and curries.

What Other Names Do Mung Beans Have?

Mung bean is also known as mung bean, mongo, moong, Moog dal (in Bengali), mash bean, munggo or monggo, green grass, and golden grass. So, it depends on the region and country where you live.

Can You Replace Mung Beans with Other Types of Beans?

You can replace mung beans with other legumes like chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lentils. However, depending on your chosen substitute, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Do You Soak Mung Beans Before Cooking?

Good thing  about mung beans is that you don’t have to soak mung beans before cooking, although some prefer to soak them overnight to reduce cooking time and improve digestibility. However, you must follow the specific instructions included in the recipe.

You can soak mung beans only briefly if you need to cook them quickly. However, you cannot do this with most dry mung bean substitutes. Large beans, such as chickpeas and black-eyed peas, should be soaked overnight, while lentils can be soaked for a few hours.



While mung beans are wonderful and delicious legume, there are many substitutes you can use if you’re in a pinch. But the best substitute is lentils as they become soft and mushy when cooked.

 Still, it all depends on you. You can try all the substitutes for mung beans and find out which one suits your taste best. It might be an excellent choice for you than mung bean.

So, the next time you’re craving a plate of mung beans but don’t have any on hand, don’t fret! These replacement legumes will do the most fantastic trick!

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