Kidney beans are a great source of plant-based protein and other essential nutrients, but sometimes you need a change in your recipes.
Whether you’re looking to switch things up or you have an allergy to kidney beans, there are plenty of tasty alternatives that can add flavor and texture to your dishes.
In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the top sixteen kidney bean substitutes that you can use to upgrade your cooking game along with their nutritional benefits, cooking procedure and many more.
What is a Kidney Bean Substitute?
Kidney beans are a popular and versatile legume, often used in many dishes ranging from soups and stews to Mexican cuisine. Unfortunately, they can be hard to find, or you may simply want to switch things up in your cooking. If so, you’ll be glad to know there are several excellent substitutes for kidney beans
These substitutes all provide similar flavor and texture to kidney beans, with the added benefit of being easier to find and less expensive.
Some of the most popular substitutes for kidney beans include black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans, and pinto beans. All of these legumes have a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes, making them an ideal alternative to kidney beans.
Let’s see all the 16 beans that I found have the characteristics to be the substitute of kidney beans-
1. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are a great substitute for kidney beans. Cannellini beans have a mild flavor and a creamy texture that is perfect for a variety of dishes.
These beans are high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, making them a great addition to any meal. They are especially good in salads and soups but can be used as an alternative for any recipe that calls for kidney beans.
When cooking with cannellini beans, it’s important to note that they need to be cooked longer than other beans. The ideal cooking time for them is around two hours. This will help to make them soft and tender, allowing the flavors to really come through in your recipes.
Cannellini beans pair well with garlic, rosemary, and sage, so you could use these herbs to enhance the flavor of your dish. They also work well with tomatoes, onions, and celery. This makes them a great addition to minestrone soup or chili.
Overall, cannellini beans are an excellent substitute for kidney beans. They have a mild flavor and creamy texture that makes them perfect for many dishes. Plus, they are high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
2. Navy Beans
Navy beans are small, white beans that are a great substitute for kidney beans. They have a mild, sweet flavor and a creamy texture when cooked, making them great for soups, stews, and salads.
Navy beans are high in fiber and protein and are an excellent source of minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and copper. They are also high in B vitamins and potassium.
When substituting navy beans for kidney beans, use the same amount as you would kidney beans. Since navy beans are smaller than kidney beans, they may cook faster, so keep an eye on them while they’re cooking to make sure they don’t get overcooked.
Navy beans can be cooked in a variety of ways including boiling, slow cooking, pressure cooking, or even baking.
3. Red Beans
Red beans, also known as adzuki beans, are a type of small, reddish-brown bean that is native to East Asia. They are slightly sweet in flavor and often used in soups, stews, and other dishes where they can absorb the flavors of the ingredients around them.
Red beans are a great substitute for kidney beans because of their texture and taste.
Red beans can be cooked in a variety of ways, either by boiling or pressure cooking.
They also work well in slow cooker recipes like chili or red bean soup. When cooked properly, red beans should be tender but not mushy, with a slightly nutty taste.
For dishes such as burritos or tacos, red beans can be an ideal substitute for kidney beans. Simply add some onion, garlic, and chili powder to a pot of red beans, and simmer until they are soft. Add more seasoning to taste if desired.
Red beans are also a great addition to salads or as a side dish. Try combining them with other vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro for a flavorful and healthy dish. Or, use red beans to top off a bowl of brown rice for an easy and nutritious meal.
4. Cranberry (Borlotti) Beans
Cranberry or borlotti beans are a wonderful alternative to kidney beans. These beans are larger and plumper than other bean varieties and have a slightly sweet flavor with a creamy texture.
They can be used in a variety of dishes, from chili to soups, salads, and stews. Cranberry beans work especially well in dishes that call for slow-cooked beans, as they hold their shape very well.
If you’re looking for a kidney bean substitute with more flavor and texture, cranberry beans are an excellent choice.
Like all beans, cranberry beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. They are also packed with B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. Try adding these flavorful beans to your favorite recipes for added nutrition and a delicious taste.
5. Black Beans
Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are a great substitute for kidney beans in cooking. They have a very similar flavor to kidney beans and are a popular replacement for kidney beans in Latin American cuisine.
The texture of black beans is also similar to that of kidney beans, making them an easy substitution in dishes like chili, soups, and salads. The nutrition content of black beans is comparable to that of kidney beans, with both providing a good source of protein and fiber.
Additionally, black beans contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and folate. With their rich flavor, they are sure to give any dish an extra kick.
6. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are an excellent kidney bean substitute and a great addition to any dish. They are rich in nutrients, including protein, dietary fiber, folate, phosphorus, and manganese. They have a mild flavor and a firm texture, making them perfect for salads, stews, and curries.
When it comes to cooking, garbanzo beans have a variety of uses. You can mash them and turn them into hummus, add them to soups or salads, or even use them as a replacement for kidney beans in recipes.
When cooked, they become creamy and smooth, so they work well in baked dishes such as casseroles and bread. They can also be used as a replacement for meats in vegetarian dishes.
Overall, garbanzo beans are a great substitute for kidney beans in any recipe. They are easy to cook with and provide lots of nutrition. Plus, they can be used in a variety of dishes to add a delicious and nutritious boost.
7. Lima Beans
Lima beans are a great alternative to kidney beans in recipes. These large white beans have a creamy, buttery texture and sweet taste. They are often used in soups, stews, and chili recipes. Lima beans are high in protein, dietary fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
They are also an excellent source of iron and other minerals. Lima beans can be found dried or canned, making them easy to use in many dishes. When using canned lima beans, make sure to rinse them before using as they are often high in sodium.
Lima beans can be cooked with aromatic vegetables such as onions, garlic, and peppers for added flavor.
8. Borlotti Beans
Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are a type of heirloom legume that originated in Italy. These beans have a rich, earthy flavor with a creamy texture and a mild sweetness. They’re great for salads, soups, and stews, and make an excellent substitute for kidney beans in any recipe.
Borlotti beans are high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. They are a good source of vitamins B1 and B6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron. They are also packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help reduce inflammation.
Because of their starchy texture, Borlotti beans make a good replacement for kidney beans in recipes like chili and burritos. They can be used as a side dish or added to salads or soups.
When cooking Borlotti beans, it is important to soak them overnight and rinse them thoroughly before adding them to your dish. If you’re using canned Borlotti beans, make sure to rinse them well to reduce the sodium content.
Borlotti beans are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals without using kidney beans.
9. White Beans
White beans are a great kidney bean substitute because they have a similar texture, flavor, and nutritional profile. White beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, zinc, and magnesium, making them a healthy choice for many dishes.
They have a creamy texture when cooked and can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, salads, dips, and more.
White beans have a slightly nutty taste and hold their shape after cooking. This makes them ideal for dishes that require a bit of texture and heft.
In terms of their nutritional profile, white beans are a great source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, they’re low in fat and cholesterol-free.
All in all, white beans make a great alternative to kidney beans if you’re looking for something with a similar flavor and texture but with fewer calories. They work well in most recipes and can easily be substituted for kidney beans.
10. Great Northern Beans
Great Northern beans are a great substitute for kidney beans if you’re looking for a smaller, lighter-colored bean. These beans are small, oval-shaped, and white with a delicate flavor that works well in soups and salads.
They contain high levels of protein and fiber, making them an excellent substitute for kidney beans in many dishes.
Great Northern beans are often used in baked bean recipes as they hold their shape when cooked. However, they also work well when added to soups, stews, and chili. When cooked, they become creamy and soft, yet remain firm enough to give your dishes a great texture.
Try adding Great Northern beans to your favorite dishes for a new take on classic meals. Their delicate flavor pairs well with other ingredients and the creamy texture make them the perfect addition to any meal.
11. Anasazi beans
Anasazi beans are a popular alternative to kidney beans, especially in Mexican and Southwestern-style dishes. These beans, which are small and reddish-brown in color, have a sweet and nutty flavor that makes them an ideal addition to many dishes.
Like other beans, they are full of fiber and protein, and they cook quickly so they’re perfect for busy weeknights.
Anasazi beans can be used in any dish that calls for kidney beans, such as chili or burritos. They also make a great addition to salads and soups.
When cooked, these beans hold their shape better than other varieties, making them an ideal choice for dishes that require a firm bean.
To prepare Anasazi beans, simply rinse them, add them to boiling water, and reduce the heat to low. Let the beans simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender. From there, you can use them in your favorite recipes.
For a unique twist on traditional dishes, try using Anasazi beans instead of kidney beans. With their sweet and nutty flavor, these beans will add depth to your recipes and make for a delicious meal.
12. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are an excellent kidney bean substitute that provides a good balance of nutrition and flavor. Like kidney beans, they are high in fiber and protein, making them a great addition to any diet.
They also provide plenty of complex carbohydrates for energy and B vitamins for a healthy metabolism. Pinto beans have a mild flavor, with a creamy texture and earthy notes.
When it comes to cooking, pinto beans can be used in a variety of dishes. They are perfect for making hearty vegetarian chili and are often used as a filling for burritos and tacos. They can also be mashed and used as a topping for nachos or a dip for chips.
Pinto beans pair nicely with rice, vegetables, and other legumes to create a flavorful and nutritious meal. Additionally, they make a great side dish for meats like pork and chicken.
13. Butter Beans
Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are a great substitute for kidney beans. This type of bean is larger than a kidney bean and is characterized by its mild, buttery flavor.
It is high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, making it a good option for those looking to up their nutrition.
Butter beans are most often used in soups, stews, and casseroles, but can also be used as a side dish.
To prepare them, simply soak them overnight, drain off the water, and cook until tender.
When cooked correctly, butter beans will have a soft texture that melts in your mouth. They can be used in a variety of recipes, such as burritos, tacos, and chili.
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to kidney beans, then butter beans are an excellent choice. They are not only nutritious but they are also very versatile. So go ahead and give them a try.
14. Mung Beans
Mung beans are a great kidney bean substitute for dishes such as chili and soups. This small, green-colored legume is full of nutrients, making them a healthy choice for those looking to switch up their usual dishes.
Mung beans are a great source of protein and fiber, with one cup containing 15 grams of protein and 8 grams of dietary fiber. They have a mild flavor, which makes them ideal for adding to dishes that don’t need an overpowering flavor.
To cook mung beans, rinse them thoroughly before boiling them in water for 25 minutes or until soft. From there, you can use them as you would kidney beans.
Try adding mung beans to your favorite chili recipes or make a flavorful soup with them. For a healthy snack, mung beans can be cooked and seasoned with spices to make a tasty side dish or appetizer.
15. Pigeon Beans
Pigeon beans, also known as Congos, are a member of the legume family. They are small and oval-shaped with a nutty flavor. These beans have been used in Central American cooking for centuries.
Pigeon beans are packed with fiber and protein, making them an excellent substitute for kidney beans in dishes such as chili or soups.
They hold their shape well during cooking, which makes them ideal for recipes that require chunks of cooked beans. Pigeon beans are also lower in calories than other types of beans and have a creamy texture when cooked.
When using pigeon beans as a substitute for kidney beans, you should use equal amounts of dried beans for every cup of kidney beans that the recipe calls for.
To prepare, soak the beans overnight in water, rinse and then cook in a pot with some herbs, spices, and vegetables of your choice.
Depending on how much moisture you add to the dish, it may take up to two hours to cook the beans. Once cooked, the beans can be used in all your favorite recipes.
Pigeon beans are a great way to add nutrition and texture to any meal without overpowering flavors.
Health Benefits of Eating Kidney Bean Substitutes
- Heart Health: Eating kidney bean substitutes is a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- For instance, cannellini beans are a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Red beans are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as folate and iron, which play an important role in preventing atherosclerosis.
- Digestive System: Kidney bean substitutes are a good source of protein and are low in fat, making them a great choice for those who want to maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Black beans, for example, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to keep your gut healthy and functioning properly. Additionally, their high content of magnesium can help to reduce constipation and other digestive issues.
- Diabetes Management: Eating kidney bean substitutes can help diabetics to better manage their condition.
- Black beans, for example, contain a compound called alpha-amylase inhibitors that can help slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. This can help to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Weight Loss: If you’re looking to lose weight, then eating kidney bean substitutes can be beneficial.
- Cannellini beans are a good source of protein and dietary fiber, which can help to promote satiety and make you feel fuller for longer. Additionally, their low glycemic index can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing cravings and helping to prevent overeating.
Overall, substituting kidney beans for other types of legumes can offer a range of health benefits. Not only do they provide an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber, but they can also help to reduce cholesterol levels and improve digestion.
How to Store Kidney Bean Substitutes?
When it comes to storing kidney bean substitutes, you have several options. Refrigeration, freezing, and drying are the most common ways to store kidney bean substitutes.
- Refrigeration: When storing kidney bean substitutes in the refrigerator, it is important to transfer them from their original packaging into an airtight container.
Doing so will help to keep them fresher for a longer period of time.
To prevent any potential spoilage, beans should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than five days
- Freezing: If you have more beans than you can consume within five days, consider freezing them.
- Before freezing your kidney bean substitutes, rinse and drain them thoroughly.
- Then, spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze them until solid.
- Once frozen, transfer the beans to an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months.
- Drying: For those who prefer to buy their beans in bulk, drying is an excellent option.
- After rinsing and draining your kidney bean substitutes spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Allow them to air dry completely before transferring them to an airtight container.
- When properly stored, dried beans can last up to 12 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Can I Use Instead Of Kidney Beans In Chili?
A: You can substitute black beans, cannellini beans, red beans, butter beans, navy beans, mung beans, pigeon beans, cranberry (borlotti) beans, garbanzo beans, Anasazi beans, lima beans, borlotti beans, pinto beans, white beans, or great northern beans in chili instead of kidney beans.
Q: What Recipes Can I Make With Kidney Bean Substitutes?
A: You can use any of the kidney bean substitutes listed above to make a variety of dishes. From traditional chili to vegetarian burgers and soups, these substitutes work great in any dish that calls for kidney beans.
Q: What Bean Is Closest To Kidney Beans?
A: Black beans are probably the closest to kidney beans in terms of flavor and texture. However, all of the substitutes listed above provide similar health benefits and can be used as suitable replacements for kidney beans.
Q: Are There Any Downsides To Eating Kidney Bean Substitutes?
A: Eating kidney bean substitutes provides you with a variety of health benefits, including increased fiber intake, improved digestive health, and lower cholesterol levels. There are no known downsides to consuming these substitutes.
Q: Can I Use Chickpeas Instead Of Kidney Beans?
A: Yes, you can use chickpeas as a substitute for kidney beans. Chickpeas offer similar nutritional benefits and a similar flavor profile, making them a great substitute for kidney beans.
Kidney bean substitutes offer a great way to switch up your cooking routine while maintaining all the health benefits of beans.
There are many options to choose from, ranging from black beans, cannellini beans, red beans, butter beans, navy beans, mung beans, pigeon beans and great northern beans.
When selecting a kidney bean substitute, make sure to take into consideration the flavor and texture of the dish you are preparing. You should also store your kidney bean substitutes properly in order to keep them fresh for longer.
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on the dish you’re making. With so many great options, you can’t go wrong.