There are some great substitutes for kidney beans that can make your dishes taste wonderful.
Kidney beans are full of plant-based protein and other valuable nutrients. You must agree that many meals simply wouldn’t be the same without this component.
But what if you have allergies, restrictions or a desire to explore new options?
Fortunately, there are several ways to replace kidney beans in your favorite recipes. So let’s find a substitute for kidney beans that works best for you!
What are kidney beans?
Kidney beans are red or dark-brown legumes packed with plant-based protein. This name was given to them because of their special shape that resembles real kidneys.
Kidney beans are a valuable source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
There are many different ways to incorporate kidney beans into your diet. They’re valuable in savory dishes like chili and curry or lighter options like soup, salad, and even sweet recipes.
They can also be pureed or mashed to make dips (think hummus).
It’s important to remember to thoroughly boil kidney beans before eating them to prevent food illness, even though they’re delicious and versatile.
Delicious substitutes for kidney beans
A wide variety of beans can be used as a replacement for kidney beans:
- Black beans
Because of their comparable flavor and texture, black beans are a perfect substitute for kidney beans.
They are an ideal substitute for meat in vegetarian meals thanks to their high-protein and high-fiber content.
I enjoyed adding black beans to a coconut curry that called for kidney beans. The flavor was spot-on and satisfyingly familiar.
Black beans are also great for making vegetarian burgers!
- Cannellini beans
Cannellini beans (white kidney beans) can complement hearty dishes like soups and stews as well as lighter options like salads, hummus and bean dips.
Their smooth texture and subtle earthy taste make them an excellent replacement for kidney beans.
- Pinto beans
Pinto beans, which have a mildly sweet and nutty taste and are frequently used in Mexican dishes, are a staple ingredient.
They’re a great alternative to kidney beans because they taste and feel similarly.
I love making refried beans with pinto beans. They make an excellent make-ahead meal or side dish.
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or Bengal gram, can be mashed or pureed to produce hummus or used in salads and soup.
They have a somewhat nutty flavor that can complement a variety of recipes.
For a tasty salad, I mix kidney beans and chickpeas. Yet, if you exclude the kidney beans, the dish retains all of its delicious flavor.
- Navy beans
Navy beans have a subtle, nutty taste and oval shape. They can be used as a healthy alternative to kidney beans in soups and stews.
I used these small white beans to make chili sin carne. In spite of the fact that the original recipe called for kidney beans and pinto beans, the resulting chili was still rather yummy.
- Adzuki beans
This little red bean is a staple in Asian cuisine due to its popularity and moderate sweetness. They can be used as a nice substitute in recipes with kidney beans.
- Lima beans
Lima beans are also known as butter beans or sieva beans. They have a buttery texture and a mildly sweet flavor.
I often use lima beans for a creamier texture. A classic kidney bean salad tastes amazing with lima beans as the main ingredient.
You can easily swap out kidney beans for soybeans in any recipe. Their lack of overpowering flavor makes them ideal for absorbing the flavors of other ingredients.
Because of their similar texture and mild earthy flavor, lentils can stand in for kidney beans. Different colors indicate different cooking times and flavors.
I used lentils to make a kidney bean and rice stew. Even though the dish lacked its original beany flavor, it was still super delicious!
- Red beans
Red beans are versatile beans that can work as a kidney bean replacement in a variety of dishes. Several Cajun and Creole dishes use this type of bean.
I enjoyed red beans instead of kidney beans in a three-bean salad featuring green beans and pinto beans. The salad tasted a little “beanier” but very delicious.
- Cranberry beans
Cranberry beans’ creamy texture and nutty flavor can work in some dishes that call for kidney beans. Even though they aren’t an exact substitute, their sweet taste can work well with soups, stews, salads and other delicious dishes.
Substitute for kidney beans FAQs
Black beans are super easy to find in grocery stores and they make an excellent substitute for kidney beans.
One cup of cooked kidney beans contains about 225 calories. It also provides 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber.
There are several types of kidney beans including red kidney beans, light speckled kidney beans, red speckled kidney beans and white kidney beans.
All kidney beans substitutes are good for weight loss as they’re high in protein and fiber. Some of the best options are lentils and chickpeas.
Yes, canned beans can be used as an alternative to kidney beans. For example, canned black beans or canned chickpeas.
Yes, you can substitute kidney beans for red beans. Kidney beans in turn can work as a red bean substitute in many recipes.
Yes, kidney bean substitutes are vegan as they’re all legumes.
The best kidney bean substitute in chili recipes is black beans or pinto beans.
The best substitutes for kidney beans in salads are cannellini beans, navy beans, pinto beans and chickpeas.
The best types of lentils to use as a replacement for kidney beans are black lentils, brown lentils and red lentils.
BOTTOM LINE: delicious and healthful kidney bean substitutes are black beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, navy beans, adzuki beans and more. They all taste great in soups, stews, dips and salads.
Which types of beans do you think work best as a substitute for kidney beans? Share your thoughts in the comment!
Are you interested in discovering more substitute ideas for your next meal? Check out these substitutes for cheddar cheese, green onion replacement options, alternatives to horseradish or even mung bean replacements.