The 10 Best Substitutes for Black Beans

No one can deny the importance of black beans in our everyday cuisine. Whether you are making delicious enchiladas or making some bean stuffed peppers, adding black beans to those recipes is a must. 

And if you want to cook those delights at home but you forgot to buy some black beans in your groceries then here’s the good news for you. There are many other substitutes that you can use instead of black beans. Here you will learn about all the black bean substitutes along with secrets of perfectly using those alternatives.

Black beans can be replaced with several good plant-based alternatives that include chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, northern beans, cauliflower rice, nuts, Tempe, tofu, and sorghum.

You can try any of those delicious and nutritious substitutes for black beans and see for yourself how good they taste!


Why Black Beans?

Black beans belong to the widely known food group called legumes. They are also known as turtle beans, maybe because of their shape or shiny appearance. They are black in color, so as the name indicates. Black beans, like other legumes, are valued for their high protein and fiber content. There are a number of minerals and essential vitamins that are present in these beans. It is these health benefits of black beans that make them an important and mandatory part of most cuisines.

Black Beans Substitute

Black Beans Promote Bone Health: There are many things that you would know about black beans, but do you know that these beans are very healthy for your bones. They are packed with zinc, copper magnesium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. 

Black Beans Control Blood Pressure: They are also great at lowering your blood pressure because of all the minerals they have. 

Black Beans May Prevent Diabetes: They are excellent at maintaining your blood sugar level, so they can prevent diabetes. 

Black Beans May Prevent Cardiac Diseases: Some of the vitamins like vitamin B6 are present in these beans, which means they are good at preventing heart and cardiac disease. 

Black Beans May Reduce the Risks of Cancer: Selenium in black beans is great at preventing inflammation and tumor growth in the body. 

Black Beans Improves Digestion: Since Black Beans are packed with fibers, they are also great for digestion.


6 Simple Ways to Cook Black Beans

Black Beans are easily available in stores. You can buy dried and canned black beans. If you are using canned beans, then try to go for no sodium products as they are good for your health. To cook dried black beans, it is important to first soak them in water for at least eight to 10 hours and then rinse them well. When they are finished soaking, you can boil them in water and cook until they are completely soft which may take 40-60 minutes depending on the amount used and heat provided.

There are many ways in which you can use the black bean in your cooking. You can make a variety of food using black beans such as:

  • You can cook stir-fried black beans and add them to tacos and burritos. 
  • Blended black beans are great to make bean dips. 
  • Black beans taste great in vegan soups or when cooked in stews and curries.
  • Rinse and boiled black beans also make a healthy addition to the salads. 
  • You can also add cooked black beans to make chilies.
  • Another interesting idea to incorporate black beans into your diet is to make some burger patties out of them. Mix canned or boiled black beans with onions and other vegetables, corn, and spices in a food processor and make as many patties as you want. These black bean patties are great to have on a vegan diet.


10 Best Substitutes for Black Beans in Recipes

Let’s just say that you could not find any type of black beans in your kitchen pantry. What are you going to do? Will you sit back and wait till you find some black beans. No! You can open up your kitchen cabinets and find the next best thing to start cooking. Here are some options that you can look to replace black beans.


1. Chickpeas

Black Beans Substitute - Chickpeas

Chickpeas are not a surprise. They are a perfect substitute for black beans, not just because they are a legume but also because of their nutritional content. Chickpeas have a great texture that is good for making soups, chilies, curries, and stews. You can find them anywhere in any form, whether dried or canned.

Chickpeas Vs. Black Beans

Chickpeas are highly fibrous, and they are also valued for their high protein content. So, when you add chickpeas to replace black beans in your recipe, you will have just the same amount of protein and other nutrients in your diet. 

Just like the black beans, chickpeas are soaked and boiled until they are soft. Considering the similarities between chickpeas and black beans, you can replace black beans with chickpeas in an equal amount.


2. Kidney Beans

Black Beans Substitute - Kidney Beans

Kidney beans may appear dark red in color, but they do have other elements that make them a good substitute for Black beans. They’re highly nutritious and good for health. They have a great bean-like texture. They are easy to cook, and they are also available in canned form. 

Black bean Vs. Red Beans: How to Choose

Can you substitute black beans for kidney beans in chili? Well, yes, you can! You can add red beans to all the recipes of black beans, whether you are making tacos or enchiladas, salads, beans soup and chilies, etc. All you need to do is to get kidney beans in an amount equal to replace black beans.


3. Lentils

Black Beans Substitute - Lentils

Lentils are another great option to replace black beans in a recipe. Lentils are available in different colors, so you can pick any color according to the requirement of your recipe. For instance, you can add black or red lentils to make some soup or chili. You can also use Yellow Lentils to make some salads and burritos. 

Black Beans Vs. Lentils: How to Use

Can you substitute black beans for lentils? Anytime! Lentils are available in dried form, and you will need to soak and boil them until they are soft. Then replace the black beans with an equal number of lentils in your recipe. Lentils are particularly good at making refried or baked beans.


4. Pinto Beans

Black Beans Substitute - Pinto Beans

Are pinto beans a good substitute for black beans? Well, if you are looking to substitute black beans in salads, stews, casserole, wraps, and dips, then nothing can work better than the pinto beans. 

Pinto beans are commonly used in Mexican food. They are also enjoyed all over the world for their high protein and fiber content. When cooked and boiled, these beans can give us a soft creamy texture, which is great to replace black beans in soups, chili, and many other recipes.


5. Great Northern Beans

Black Beans Substitute - Great Northern Beans

Have you ever tried using Great Northern beans instead of black beans in your food? Do you think you can substitute white beans for black beans? Well, these beans are really a good alternative to black beans. They appear white in color, but they do have a texture and a taste that resemble black beans, to a great extent. By adding some other ingredients and spices to the cooked, boiled, or canned northern beans, you can make flavorsome salads, soups, tacos, wraps, and dips. These beans, like other legumes, are also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, fibers, and protein. You can replace black beans with an equal amount of northern beans in your recipes.


Nutritional Substitutes for Black Beans


6. Cauliflower Rice

Black Beans Substitute -Cauliflower Rice

If you’re looking for a low-carb ketogenic alternative for black beans, then nothing can be as good as cauliflower rice or cauliflower florets. Cauliflowers can be mashed after cooking to get a bean-like texture. Cauliflower rice and florets can be steamed in the microwave oven or you can bake or roast them in your gas or electric oven. Cauliflower rice is good at replacing black beans in fried bean recipes or stuffed bell peppers and jalapeno peppers recipes.


7. Nuts

Black Beans Substitute - Nuts

Surprise, surprise. You can use nuts as a great substitute or alternative to black beans. What kind of nuts are we talking about? Well, you can pick and choose any nut that comes close to the appearance and texture of the black beans. 

How to substitute black beans for nuts

For instance, walnuts and cashews are great to replace black beans. You can use ¼ cup of these nuts to replace half a cup of black beans in a recipe. However, nuts are always not suitable to replace black beans in cooking when some people may have nut allergies, and they cannot incorporate nuts into their diet. So, stay cautious in that case, and avoid using nuts in your recipe.


8. Sorghum

Black Beans Substitute - Sorghum

Sorghum is a gluten-free grain that you can use to replace black beans in your recipes; it is cooked and mashed to get the bean-like texture and then added to different recipes; sorghum grain may taste a little different from the black beans, but the texture is very much similar. And you can use it in different recipes like salads, bread toppings, and soups, etc., to make it work.


9. Tofu

Black Beans Substitute -Tofu

Tofu is a great, high-protein vegan substitute for not only black beans but other legumes, grains, and meat as well. Tofu is made out of fermented soybeans. So, it has a very strong nutritional profile. You can crumble and cook tofu in different ways to make chilies, dips, and casserole, etc.


10. Tempeh

Black Beans Substitute - Tempeh

Besides tofu, Tempeh is another soybean-based substitute for black beans. Tempe, like all the legumes, beans, and lentils, is also rich in protein fibers, minerals, and vitamins. So, you can try adding Tempeh in all types of black bean recipes, especially soups and stir-fries.


How to Replace Black Beans in Recipes

Black Beans Substitutes Uses
1. Chickpeas Dips, stews, soups, sauces, salads
2. Kidney beans Stews, dips, salads, sauces, soups, wraps
3. Pinto Beans Casseroles, salads, dips, stews, wraps
4. Lentils  Soups, salads, stews, 
5. Great Northern beans Salads, stews, dips, wraps, soups,
6. Riced Cauliflower  Dips, stews, casseroles, 
7. Nuts Fillings, salads


Frequently Asked Questions

Are black beans and red kidney beans the same?
Yes, if you are making taco filling, chili, or beans salad, then nothing works better than kidney beans to replace black beans. Kidney beans have a similar texture, taste, and size of beans as black beans have.
Are black beans and red kidney beans the same?
No! Though both are legumes, they are two different types of beans; they have different colors, sizes, and shapes of the beans. Black beans are black and shiny in appearance with a rich heart taste. Red kidney beans are maroonish red in color with kidney-shaped beans and an earthy taste.
Do black beans and pinto beans taste the same?
No, pinto beans have a more grainy and creamy texture and an earthy taste, whereas black beans have a rich and heavier taste with a hearty texture.
Which beans taste like black beans?
Great Northern beans or White beans taste like black beans. And for this reason, they are considered to be a good substitute for black beans.

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