A lack of black beans at home doesn’t mean you can’t cook Texan chili con carne or some spicy Mexican tacos. Fortunately, black beans can be substituted with many other ingredients.
What are the best substitutes for black beans? Other bean varieties, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans, are the best substitutes for black beans. Chickpeas and lentils can be substituted for black beans if you don’t like them. Cauliflower and nuts are other substitutes that work for specific dishes.
In this article, we will discuss black bean substitutes and when to use them. Besides baking, you will also learn how to make chili con carne, enchiladas, tacos, and other dishes.
The Use of Black Beans in Cooking
If you want to include black beans in your diet, there are several ways to do so. You can make many different meals with black beans and prepare them in a variety of ways.
The following are some popular black bean dishes:
- Stews and casseroles
- Enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, etc.
- Side dishes
Besides cooking with black beans, you can also bake with them. You can use puréed black beans in recipes for brownies, fudge cakes, chocolate cakes, and cookies.
Best Black Bean Substitutes
If you don’t have black beans at home, you can substitute another ingredient for them. Black beans have a rather mild taste. Black beans have a distinct flavor that depends on how they are seasoned and what other ingredients are added.
The following are the seven best black bean substitutes:
If you are looking for a substitute for black beans, remember that a neutral flavor is an advantage, since it is difficult to find products with specific flavor profiles.
The nutritional value and taste of black beans and kidney beans are very similar, so they can be used interchangeably in cooking. As nutritious as black beans, kidney beans are also.
One of the most significant differences between these two bean varieties is the very high vitamin K content of kidney beans. Black beans contain less vitamin K. Black beans and kidney beans contain folate, calcium, iron, thiamin, magnesium, and potassium. Even their amounts of phosphorus, manganese, and copper are the same. Kidney beans have an even milder flavor profile than black beans. Additionally, they are softer than black beans. Kidney beans can be used in salads, dips, stews, sauces, wraps, and soups.
If you do not like beans and want to replace black beans with something of similar nutritional value, chickpeas are the best option. In addition to being high in fiber and potassium, chickpeas and black beans are also rich in both. Secondly, both are excellent sources of vitamin B6 and B9.
Chickpeas contain a higher amount of these essential substances. Last but not least, chickpeas, like black beans, are a good source of protein and minerals like calcium and iron.
Chickpeas have a neutral flavor, which is their best feature. Although chickpeas have a nutty flavor, it is not overpowering. Furthermore, chickpeas are widely available and pair well with most foods.
Nearly any recipe that calls for black beans can be made with chickpeas. Dips, stews, soups, and sauces can all benefit from chickpeas.
One thing to keep in mind when substituting black beans with chickpeas is that chickpeas are higher in calories. Chickpeas have nearly 165 calories per 100g, while black beans have 90 calories per 100g.
Mexican-style cooking commonly uses pinto beans. As opposed to black beans, these speckled beans have a more distinct flavor. They taste richer, have nutty notes, and have a creamier texture.
Pinto beans provide the same nutritional value as black beans in terms of fiber and protein. Pinto beans contain more carbohydrates than other beans. In addition, the fat content is twice that of black beans.
Pinto beans can be substituted for black beans in almost any recipe. Salads, dips, stews, and casseroles can all be made with them.
Lentils are another great substitute for people who dislike beans. The protein and fiber in lentils will provide you with the necessary nutrients. Plant-based protein is higher in lentils. When it comes to calories and fat, lentils are low in both. Neither are they more calorific nor fatter than black beans.
You can use khaki, brown, yellow, orange, or red lentils instead of black beans. Even black lentils are available! Black beans can be substituted for lentils in salads, soups, and stews.
It is up to you to decide which lentils to use in place of black beans. We recommend considering the flavor profile of the lentil variety you wish to substitute for beans. All lentils have earthy flavors, but yellow and red lentils also have nutty notes. Additionally, if you are thinking about substituting lentils for black beans, keep in mind that lentils are quicker to cook than dried black beans.
Great Northern Beans
Despite their white appearance, Great Northern beans are one of the best bean varieties to replace black beans because of their similar texture. Additionally, they have a mild flavor similar to black beans. Hence, you can add other ingredients and spices to the dish to make the white beans taste the way you want them to. Great Northern beans may make your dish look different, but they are a great alternative to black beans in almost all recipes. Great Northern beans can be used in salads, stews, dips, wraps, tacos, and soups.
Is it surprising that cauliflower makes the list of the best black bean substitutes? It may seem strange, but cauliflower is a great alternative to black beans. Because cauliflower has a mild flavor with a slight sweetness and nuttiness. Additionally, it pairs well with a variety of vegetables. Cauliflower can also be seasoned with different spices to achieve the desired flavor. With cauliflower instead of black beans, it is recommended to give the dish a spicy kick.
In place of beans, you will need riced cauliflower or cauliflower that has been sliced into small pieces.
Cauliflower rice creates a texture similar to crushed beans.
In addition to cooking with black beans, you can also bake with them. It is important to keep two things in mind when substituting cauliflower for black beans. First of all, it cooks much faster than black beans. Second, its nutritional value is very different from that of black beans.
Cauliflower contains fewer calories, carbs, and minerals than broccoli. Cauliflower, however, is rich in vitamin C.
Black beans can also be substituted with nuts, such as cashews and walnuts. Compared to the mild flavor of beans, nuts will bring a brighter flavor to the dish. Make sure you pay attention to the substation ratio when replacing black beans with nuts. The recipe calls for half the amount of nuts as it calls for black beans, since nuts contain more calories and can make the dish too heavy. Salads can be made with nuts. Also, walnuts can be a great alternative to black beans in taco filling.
How to Choose a Black Bean Substitute
If you don’t have black beans at home during cooking, you may need to experiment with whatever substitute you have available.
However, if you want to use another ingredient instead of black beans simply because you dislike them or don’t have access to them, you should choose an alternative that meets your needs.
You can achieve a similar flavor with other bean varieties, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans, rather than black beans. Secondly, if all you are looking for is the texture black beans provide, you can use both black beans and chickpeas. Riced cauliflower will work in certain cases, such as dips. Lastly, if you are looking for nutritional value, you can choose chickpeas, lentils, or even nuts. However, kidney beans are as close as you can get to black beans in terms of nutritional value.
The Best Black Bean Substitute in Baking
Many people find the use of black beans in baking to be strange, but black beans are particularly popular when baking brownies. Brownies, cookies, and other chocolate desserts and cakes look best with puréed black beans. They make brownies moist and fudge-like. In addition, they have a neutral flavor and are low in calories. In baking, puréed beans are used to reduce the fat and flour.
So, the best substitute for puréed black beans in baked goods like brownies is fat and flour. If you decide to replace the beans with fat, i.e. oil or butter, you can do so in a 1:1 ratio.
It may be necessary to add flour to some mixtures to reach the desired consistency. You can also bake with chickpea and kidney bean purée.
The Best Substitute for Black Beans in Mexican Food
One of the most popular ingredients in Mexican cuisine are black beans. They are commonly used in Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and burritos.
For all your favorite Mexican dishes, there are a number of black bean substitutes. You can certainly use other bean varieties in tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. What if you don’t like beans?
Even though beans are a characteristic of Mexican cuisine, leaving them out will affect the flavor of the dish, you can always experiment to make your meal fit your tastes. Instead of beans, you can use chickpeas and get the best of both worlds – neutral flavor that can be customized and similar nutritional value. Some Mexican-style wraps can also be made with lentils and riced cauliflower.
Walnuts are a unique black bean substitute for tacos. Walnuts are often used to make vegan taco meat, but you can use a small amount of them instead of black beans for nutrition.
Whenever black beans are called for in enchiladas, chickpeas are the best substitute. Vegan burritos and enchiladas with lentils are another take on your favorite Mexican dishes.
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The Best Black Bean Substitute in Chili
Black beans are often used in chili, the ultimate hearty stew everyone loves. You can use any other bean variety you have in your pantry if you don’t have black beans. We also have compiled a guide that will help you choose beans for chili, if you are looking for the best one. If you want to skip the beans because you don’t like them, chickpeas are your best bet.