7 Best Substitutes For Black Beans

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Substitutes For Black Beans



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Black beans are nutritious and tasty. They are often used in Mexican and Texas food recipes for Chili corn Carne and other favorite chile recipes.

These beans are high in protein and carbohydrate content and low in fat, making them healthy for consumption.

However, some folks are not entirely thrilled with consuming these beans. In cases like this, there are different substitutes for black beans that can come in handy.

So, not having these beans at home should not hinder you from having a hearty chili Mexican recipe either. In this article, we would be providing you with a list of alternatives for black beans.

What Are Black Beans?

Black beans are pea-sized legumes widely used in Mexican, Caribbean, and South American cuisines. As black beans are legumes, it is only natural that they are a rich source of protein and fiber.

They are also packed with minerals and vitamins. There are several methods to incorporate these beans into recipes and achieve a beautiful culinary experience.

Substitutes For Black Beans

No worries if you’ve run out of your supply for black beans. With black beans, there’s a mild flavor.

Hence the taste of the dishes is dependent on the seasonings incorporated in the recipe to a large extent. This is because black beans soak up the flavor it is cooked in.

Here’s a list of alternatives that you can’t go wrong with.

1. Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans

Black beans and kidney beans are interchangeable; thus, kidney beans are the best choice when in lack of black beans.

It is dark in color and has a blank taste, so the difference can’t be told. High in protein and fiber content, one can maintain the nutritional value of any dish with kidney beans.

In terms of flavor and texture, kidney beans have a much milder flavor and are slightly softer than black beans. You can cook as you would with the black beans.

2. Chickpeas


Are you looking for a substitute for black beans with just about the same nutritional value? Chickpeas to the rescue.

Chickpeas are mild in flavor with a slightly nutty taste and contain just about the same proportion of dietary fiber and potassium as the black peas.

When using chickpeas as a substitute, soak them in water overnight and cook as appropriate with your recipe.

3. Cauliflower


This is another way to save the day in the absence of black peas. To use cauliflower, you would need to smash into a more delicate texture and add tasty spice to your sauce to improve its flavorings.

With this, you would bear in mind that its nutritional value is different from black peas, and its cooking time is lesser. Also, it is mild in flavor and has a slight sweetness, so you can’t go wrong with it.

4. Lentils


With the much-needed fiber and protein content, lentils are an excellent substitute for black beans.

There are different varieties of lentils, and they come in different colors. The choice of lentils to use is mainly dependent on your preferences.

All the lentils have a mild earthy flavor, but also, the yellow and red varieties have a more robust nutty flavor to them. Lastly, lentils cook faster than black beans, so you might want to adjust your recipe to fit it in.

5. Nuts


Another alternative to black beans is walnuts and cashew nuts. These nuts are flavored in recipes, and consideration should be taken in the ratio.

They add a brighter color and taste to the recipe. Meanwhile, if used in excess could make the dish heavy. With nuts, you can get spontaneous in your kitchen.

Note: If you are allergic to nuts, sunflower seeds should be used instead.

6. Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

This substitute comes in handy in all black bean recipes. A commonly used ingredient for Mexican chefs, pinto beans has a unique flavor compared to black beans.

Its protein and fiber content are also high. If considering this option, bear in mind that its carbohydrate and fat content is twice as high compared to the black beans.

7. Great Northern Beans

Great Northern Beans

This bean variety is white and has the same texture as black beans. When using this alternative, you can add spices and seasonings to get your desired taste.

This alternative would give a whole different look to your recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Black Beans and Red Kidney Beans the Same?

The only difference in both is the taste. In nutritional value, both black beans and kidney beans are almost identical. They have nearly the same calories, fiber, and vitamin content.

Can You Substitute Kidney Beans for Black Beans In Chili?

Yes, it is very feasible to substitute kidney beans for black beans in chili. Even more, you can replace them with pinto beans as they fit well in the recipe.

Can I Substitute Black Beans For Red Beans?

Yes, sure. The red vs. black bean safety issue is only with dried beans, and black beans are always safer than red beans.

Why Are Beans Bad For You?

Beans are not point-blank bad for you. Most beans and pulses contain lectins, which are proteins that are potentially toxic to humans.

However, soaking and boiling beans reduce the lectin content. You should cook beans for at least 10 minutes to ensure they are safe. Gas and intestinal discomfort are the most common side effects of eating beans.

Can Kidney Beans Substitute For Black Beans?

Yes, kidney beans can substitute for black beans. You can cook them the same way as you would regular black beans, and the taste is not significantly different.

Do I Drain Black Beans For Chili?

Yes. It is advisable to drain and rinse black beans to avoid a dingy color versus a vibrant, flavorful one. In the cases of other beans, you can decide whether or not to, as there’s no much difference.


The nutritional value of black beans cannot be overstated. Black beans are a good source of calcium and iron.

Your need to substitute black beans might range for various reasons. You might not just like the taste of these beans, or maybe you ran out of your favorite can of black beans.

From this post, you know you can replace black beans with any other type of beans, lentils, or chickpeas.


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