Chickpeas are among the most popular legumes consumed in the world. This flavorsome bean is a massive component in cooking South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Mediterranean cuisine. But just about any country and cooking style can benefit from this nutritious food.
While it is accessible and flavorsome, others may not like eating this pea otherwise called as garbanzo bean. Others may also lack access to buying it or just can’t be bothered to search the market for it. Whatever your case may be, you can still prepare the same recipes needing this legume using the following chickpea substitutes.
Tasty Chickpea Alternatives to Try
Soybeans are a versatile ingredient you can use in plenty of recipes. They taste a bit like peanuts and have a bean-like consistency when added in cooking.
Although soybeans can taste nutty, overall it has a mild taste making it easy to use when making various dishes. Due to its subtle flavors, it is often used as a base ingredient to make other foods like tofu, flour, noodles and soy milk.
Soybeans have a dense flesh so it can give a good texture to your dishes. It’s very nutritious and makes for a great addition to your salads or soups.
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans may be far from chickpea in terms of appearance but the two taste quite the same. These beans can give an added flavor and a meat-like bite to a dish.
With a meaty, dense flesh and hints of sweetness, nuttiness and bean-like flavor, kidney beans are used in plenty of savory dishes.
You can add kidney beans in soups and salads much like chickpeas. It is also a popular ingredient in chilis and rice dishes.
3. Cannellini beans
If you’re looking for a substitute for chickpeas to use in Italian recipes, try cannellini beans. This legume is the largest among its group and is also called as white kidney beans. It offers lots of health benefits and is a great meat alternative for vegetarian diets.
Much like chickpea, cannellini beans have a nutty, earthy flavor with tender flesh perfect for adding meaty savory bite to a meal. It also has a natural subtle sweetness that most beans have so you can fully enjoy the flavor of your mood.
Cannellini beans are suitable for vegetable-based soups like minestrone. It also tastes perfect on its own to pair with meat dishes or added in stews and chilis.
4. Great Northern Beans
Great Northern beans can also work for recipes needing chickpea. It provides a variety of nutritional benefits much like other legumes.
Northern beans look like the kidney-shaped cannellini and also share a similar flavor profile. Compared to chickpea, it has a lighter taste which makes it easy to substitute in recipes that need a beany texture without a distinct flavor that may affect the taste of the dish.
With its mild, earthy, nutty flavor that comes in a packed firm flesh, Great Northern beans are perfect in soups and stews. Feel free to also add it in salads and casseroles.
5. Lima Beans
Lima beans, otherwise known as butter beans, are considered a superfood. It’s always recommended to cook beans properly to avoid any hazards and enjoy the best of it in both taste and nutrients.
This variety of legume is also a great alternative to chickpeas in recipes that need a rich, creamy texture. Butter beans have delicate, nutty notes that can blend well with other ingredients.
You can use lima beans in place of chickpea for salads, casseroles, soups, and stews.
6. Black beans
Black beans are a known ingredient in Mexican, Spanish, Caribbean, and South American dishes. The versatility, taste, and health benefits of this bean make it a great sub for chickpeas.
While there is a distinct difference between black beans and chickpeas in both taste and appearance, it’s not too drastic or would in any way affect your recipe badly. Like chickpeas, black beans have a sweet, earthy, and mild flavor. Its consistency turns soft and creamy the longer it’s cooked.
Black beans don’t have an overwhelming flavor and its smooth texture makes it a popular choice in dips, soups, and stews. It also works great in rice dishes, salsas, and chilis.
Lentils come in a variety of colors. Each color has its distinct flavor with brown ones having mild earthy notes, green ones have a peppery tang, and red or oranges have the sweetest nutty flavor. You can use either of these three to replace chickpeas depending on the recipe. It would do your dish wonders if you use the kind of lentil that would blend and complement the overall taste of a recipe.
For reference, you can use brown lentils for salads, soups, and veggie burgers. Brown lentils are mild and can absorb other ingredients’ taste which can result in a rich, savory flavor. Green lentils taste great in salads and curries. Red lentils are great in stews, dips, curries, or mixed with roasted veggies.
In general, you can use either of the three for your recipes. All lentils have that mild earthy taste and mushy texture when cooked which is comparable to chickpeas.
Nutritious Green-Colored Chickpea Substitutes
It’s easy to see these alternatives as being not the real thing. While chickpeas tend to blend into the background of other ingredients, these bright green or dark green legume varieties are easy to see especially in light recipes. If it’s not a problem, the following are just as delicious and nutritious as chickpeas.
8. Green peas
Green peas are spherical in shape and look a lot like chickpea except for color. It also shares the same classic beany taste and a slight crunch in texture.
Like chickpea, green peas are also popular worldwide not only for its availability but also for its nutritional content. Its flavor is also not overwhelming but has a tad more earth notes compared to chickpea.
You can cook green peas in purées, soups, dips, rice dishes, salads, and more. It’s a versatile cooking ingredient and is also great as a side dish.
Edamame is native to Japan and is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K. It also works as a chickpea replacement in a pinch.
The green-colored edamame can be boiled, sauteed, or roasted depending on your preference. How you cook it will also affect its taste and texture. Edamame has a unique rich taste that is quite different from chickpeas but is just as delicious if not more.
It’s best to use edamame as a replacement for chickpea in recipes like salads and hummus. You can also enjoy these beans as an appetizer, side dish, or a snack.
10. Mung Beans
Like edamame, mung beans have their own unique taste far from chickpeas. Since it does share a similar beany taste and earthy notes, it can work for certain recipes.
You can use mung beans in curries, salads, pastas, hummus, soups and even desserts. These beans are often used in Asian cuisine so try it when you come across some native recipes.
Mung beans are also as versatile as chickpeas so go ahead and cook with this option to widen your palate.
12. Split peas
Split peas are like sweet green peas that can bring a creamy texture and fuller flavor to your recipes. It can also bring the same beany and nutty profile to your dish like chickpeas.
Often used in soups, split peas also have a lot of culinary uses. You can include it as an ingredient to your hummus, add it in salads, make some purees, or eat it as a fried crunchy snack.
Can you use nuts as an alternative to chickpeas?
Yes, you can. Depending on the recipe, you can use nuts to add some depth in your dish for both flavor and texture. However, nuts don’t produce the same creaminess or richness that peas and beans bring to food. Nuts are also fuller and harder in texture so you can’t easily use it unless you make a lot of adjustments like grinding them.
As an appetizer, side meal, or snack, you can definitely eat nuts in place of chickpeas. Peanuts and hazelnuts are among the most recommended substitutes for chickpeas.
Can I substitute lentils for chickpeas?
Lentils don’t share a lot of similarities to chickpeas in flavor and texture but in a pinch, it can work. The reason you can use it is because its preparation and cooking process is very much like other legumes including chickpea.
What can I use in hummus instead of chickpeas?
There are actually a lot of options you can use in hummus in place of chickpeas. Some of which are cannellini beans, split peas, and mung beans. You can also use black beans or pinto beans. Depending on what taste you’re after, plenty of legumes can be used to make delicious hummus.
Chickpeas are nutritious seeds packed with protein and fiber. It’s a vital ingredient in cooking mouth-watering dishes that provide satiety and health benefits.
The best chickpea substitute is dependent on the recipe and your taste preferences. The options we listed above are available in local grocery stores or traditional markets so try to experiment and upgrade your dishes by trading chickpea for another bean alternative.