Considering the potency of this ingredient, have you ever wondered if there could possibly be any chickpea substitutes out there?
Maybe it’s because you’ve never tried cannellini beans, lentils, black beans, peas, or soybeans yet.
No doubt chickpea owns a legacy for boasting an impressive nutritional profile with an unforgettable classic beany flavor punch in almost any recipe.
It is mostly worshipped for its rich source of protein, which makes it the perfect replacement for meat in various vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Regardless, you’ll be amazed how much you’ve been missing out on the other alternatives — I can pinky swear on that.
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What Is Chickpea?
Chickpea is an annual legume, a member of the Fabaceae family.
It is quite the star in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines —whether it’s for use in hummus or when grounded into flour falafel.
Chickpea is also a key ingredient in Indian cuisine, used in soups, salads, stews, curry, chana masala, and many more. Its versatility in the kitchen is almost limitless.
Expected to have the signature of the legume family beany flavor, chickpea also has a nutty taste that lingers on your tongue for a long period.
Nutritiously, this legume is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and offers numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of disease, aiding weight management, and digestion.
Well enough of this chickpea! We can keep talking about a meal you don’t have on hand, or we could discuss other interestingly unique beans for your next meal.
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8 Best Chickpea Substitutes
1. Green Pea
You can replace chickpea with green pea, whether fresh, canned, or frozen.
Their sweet and savory notes make them an excellent ingredient for savory dishes, salads, vegetables, stir-fries, soups, and stews. You’d prefer them as porridge as well.
Green pea is a popular vegetable with abundant protein, fiber, and antioxidant that helps support healthy blood sugar control, digestion and help fight against chronic diseases.
Mind you, their taste might not get you closer to chickpeas, but half bread is better than none, right?
2. Cannellini Beans
Originally grown in Argentina, cannellini beans, sometimes called white kidney beans, will be a fantastic substitute even in dishes where chickpeas cannot be used for some reason.
Cannellini beans are one of the easiest yet inexpensive ways to get more plant-based, healthy protein in your meal.
They have tender flesh with a mild nutty, earthy flavor, perfect for salads, soups, and evens stews.
They are luxurious in nutrients like chickpea and as well suitable for cooking with vegetable, fish, and meat meals.
However, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you know it’s scarce to find such a side dish for pasta.
Well, you’ve just found one: cannellini beans.
These beans work incredibly well with roasted cauliflower pasta, roasted eggplant pasta, white sauce pasta, vegan pasta primavera, and pasta with white wine sauce.
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3. Black Beans
This black turtle bean is also classified as legumes, and both can be used interchangeably.
They are famous in Mexican and Caribbean dishes, yet readily accessible in any supermarket.
Black beans are soft, creamy, and mild when cooked.
One of the things you’d love about this sweet bean is that it doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor.
Their smooth texture and protein-packed nature make them ideal for salsa Fresca — you know that salsa uses fresh tomatoes rather than canned ones?
They are also suitable for chilies, soups; top on baked potatoes, tacos, or grilled avocado; or spoon to a quesadilla or burrito.
And remember to season your bean with some cumin, oregano, garlic, cilantro, or chilies to add a kick.
You may probably be thinking if I’ve gone loco or just obsessed with nuts, but hear me out.
No doubt peanuts seem to be a weird choice for a bean. But do you know peanuts aren’t actually nuts at all?
Surprisingly, they are a member of the Legumes family-like chickpea.
And when eaten raw, they taste more like peas. You will get that earthy or wood-like aroma more in smell than taste.
They are most preferred when roasted or made as peanut butter. You can use them in cakes, snacks, confectionery, and sauces.
Moreover, they contain significant fatty acids, along with a good melt-protected protein and antioxidants.
Peanuts improve the formations of platelets, memory, attention; and ensure an efficient functioning of the nervous system and the internal organs.
But be careful! When consumed in excess, peanuts can cause allergies.
While it sounds ridiculous to swap hazelnuts for chickpeas merely looking at both ingredients, they have similar tastes.
The unique nutty, toasted, and slightly earthy taste of hazelnut with crunchy texture can transform any chickpea recipe from ordinary to extraordinary.
Hazelnuts are mostly cultivated in Spain, Turkey, Italy, and the United States.
It can be roasted, eaten raw, or grounded into a paste to add a delicious flavor to baked goods like cakes, cookies, tarts, and biscotti.
They are also excellent for savory dishes such as salads, pizza, pesto, and seafood.
I once tried making hazelnut butter with it, and I was stunned by the result. It came off well and has a great spreading like peanut butter.
What makes Hazelnuts the most popular nut is their nutrient profile.
Hazelnut is remarkably high in calories and rich in nutrients as well as healthy fats.
Additionally, it also has a decent amount of phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and zinc which helps reduce weight gain, protect against cell damage, lowering cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, support heart health, and many more.
However, you cannot force yourself to eat this meal if you have a nut allergy. Use the other alternatives or use sunflower seed instead.
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Lentils are another proteinous, tasty legume rich in folate, fiber, and potassium that offers many health benefits like managing blood pressure and cholesterol.
They also help maintain a steady heartbeat due to the increasing amount of iron and vitamin B1 it has.
Aside from that, lentils, like other beans, have a mild, earthy flavor and are mostly sold dried.
Their flavor is not as strong as kidney beans but is starchy and tends to absorb flavors from other ingredients while cooking.
They look like small pebbles or lenses And are suitable to replace meat in soups, stews, burgers, salads, and more.
Soybean or soya bean is one of (if not) the most important beans in the world. It behaves like chickpea providing vegetable protein on a wide scale.
While it might taste like a normal white bean, it can also be used in chickpea recipes. They are native to eastern Asia and members of legume.
Soya beans are not only composed of protein but also have a considerable amount of carbs, fats, fiber, aside from other vitamins and minerals.
Do you know one cup (172 grams) of boiled soybeans provides up to 29 grams of protein —which is higher than pork?
Calculatingly, like other whole beans here, soybeans have a good number of health benefits.
They may help reduce cancer risk, alleviate menopause symptoms, improve bone health, and overall sustain good health.
But you can’t just throw soya bean raw in most of your recipes. I’m sure you’d like to soak it overnight in preparation for soy milk, used for tofu and vegan cheese.
You can dice your tofu, bake it, crumble it, and more. It will make the perfect replacement, as it tends to work with most flavors and cuisines.
8. Mung Beans
Another popular vegan product is mung bean — small green beans (similar to the black beans in shape and texture) that belong to the legume family.
Since mung bean is slightly sweet and nutty in flavor, try tossing them into your desserts, salads.
You can also use them to make pizza, sip on soup, curries, and whatnot.
The nutrition value of mung beans is so impressive it has made it among the popular Legumes.
Packed with a lot of protein, fiber, slow carbohydrates, vegetable fats, and B vitamins, these Legumes must be flexing their potency on the nutrition hierarchy.
They’ll make a great substitute for chickpeas, especially for rice recipes. Of course, you’re more than welcome to season it with whatever spice that pleases you.
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Among these 8 substitutes for chickpea I’ve talked about, if you need some personal recommendations, I’d say cannellini beans, black beans, mung beans, and Lentils are the best choice.
The best thing about these beans is they are versatile, very similar to chickpea in terms of taste, usage (both in stews, soups, salads), and nutritional-wise.
Hence if you’re a vegan, these are your alternatives for massive protein instead of meat.
We understand chickpeas are the alphas in vegan cuisine. But these substitutes will come in and save the day when all hope is a lot for chickpeas.