8 Best Substitutes For Black Beans You Should Try

Best Substitutes For Black Beans
11 min reading time

Often spotted in Latin American cuisines and occasionally in Cajun and Creole platters, black beans are extremely nutritious beans with high amounts of protein and carbohydrate content and low in terms of fats. Not just nutritious, they are extremely tasty when incorporated into a variety of dishes making the meal a very hearty and fulfilling one.

However, these beans may not suit the preferences of many or there can be an instance where you don’t have these beans. Looking forward to making a delicious and nutritious meal but you’re missing out on black beans or do you want to make it without the beans because you don’t like it?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! Not everyone is equally excited about black beans and we understand that! Thus, here is a very detailed list of all the substitutes that you can use if black beans are not the thing for you.

An Overview of Black Beans

Black beans belong to the same class along with peanuts, lentils, and peas. Black beans are considered a member of your healthy diet chart. They come with many essential elements like proteins, vitamins, fibers, and even carbohydrates. Black beans are also rich in many micronutrients like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Along with the other things, you might find the following fun facts interesting about Black beans.

  • Beans come from the bean plants. These are actually the seeds of the trees. These seeds are edible, just like cereal, nuts, etc.
  • We all know that beans contain protein. But, did you know that beans contain more carbohydrates than protein? Yes, they are. In every 100g of black beans, you will find 23.7g of carbs and only 8.9g of protein.
  • Black beans supply calcium to the bones to make the bone structure strong.
  • Black beans are rich in calories. In every half cup of black bean, you will get 114kCal. So, if you are craving an effective food in your weight loss food chart, you must try black beans.
  • Black beans are rich in Quercetin and Saponin. These things are too good to build a Berlin wall around your heart to keep the heart protected from the 1001 things.

I agree that Black beans come with a peculiar color. But, you can’t deny that they have extreme nutrients and meaty texture. So, if you are a vegetarian, it should be on the top of the food chart. Black beans are used in many foods. But, they might be unconventional to you. Some of them are as follows:

  • Moros y Cristianos: A Cuban dish, more like Brazil’s rice and beans.
  • Frijoles Negro: A Latin American dish with black beans.
  • Pabellon Criollo: A Venezuelan dish with rice and stewed black beans which is served with fried plantain.
  • Gallo Pinto: A Central American dish with a rice-and-beans base.

To be frank, black beans taste nothing but watery. It is literally tasteless. That’s the reason why you can easily use this bean in any dish. You can stimulate the taste of black beans by adding extra spices. If you want the beans salty, add some salt. You are free to add taste and flavor to the black beans whenever you want.

Why Replace Black Beans?

I admit that black beans are not one of the most popular beans around you and they are not even the most lovable variation as well. Yes, it can add natural color. But, how many black foods do you eat? Caviar, black ice cream and dark chocolate? Nothing more than these. So, only the color can’t make it a hero at all.

As black beans are quite exceptional in terms of their color, you might feel the taste of these black beans at least once. But, you have to go for any of these substitutes instead due to the inconveniences and unavailability of black beans.

8 Best Substitutes For Black Beans

There are a number of alternatives that are equally nutritious and tasty as black beans so without further ado, the following are the substitutes for black beans that you can add to your next dish to make it as nutritious and yummy as black beans, if not more than that.

1. Chickpeas

Image with chickpea.

The first substitute for black beans that anyone can think of is these easily available and popular legumes, Chickpeas. They fit in well in probably every dish that demands black beans and is a great nutritional supplement as well. Like the black beans, they are also high in proteins and fiber.

Chickpeas don’t have a very strong taste for it and are more on the neutral side which makes them similar to black beans. The only prerequisite required to make chickpeas is to make sure to soak them in water overnight and then cook them the very next day which makes them easy to be cooked as well.

2. Kidney beans

Image with red kidney beans.

In terms of flavor and nutrition, kidney beans are also a great alternative and they can be used interchangeably. There are some factors that make kidney beans and black beans different from each other.

Unlike black beans, kidney beans have a very high vitamin K content. The black beans, on the other hand, are low in vitamin K content.

Moreover, the flavor in kidney beans is very mild as compared to black beans. But it is important to note that both of them have a lot of minerals and nutrients in common like folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and thiamine. They even have similar amounts of phosphorus, manganese, and copper.

Kidney beans can be a good replacement for black beans and can be incorporated in dips, salads, soups, and many more.

3. Pinto beans

Image with pinto beans.

Though the appearance of both is different, another great replacement that is also frequently used in Mexican cooking is Pinto beans. They have an extremely distinct flavor from black beans and other alternatives.

They are richer in their taste and have a nutty and creamier texture than the black beans. However, as far as the nutritional value is concerned, pinto beans can be well-equated with black beans.

The proteins and fiber are equal in black beans while the carbohydrate content is higher in pinto beans. They can be used in almost every recipe that involves black beans

4. Soy Beans

Image with soy bean.

These may not be one of the first alternatives to black beans but their meatier texture and ability to be cooked fast makes them a great alternative. If the recipe doesn’t require any smashing of beans, then soybeans are a great choice to use. They are nutritious and cook really fast.

5. Cauliflower

Image with cauliflower.

With this substitute for black beans, the list takes a surprising turn as cauliflower doesn’t seem like a replacement for beans in any respect. However, unlike the appearance, cauliflower does make a great replacement for black beans.

One reason for the same is the fact that cauliflower has a mild taste or flavor. Moreover, it pairs well with a number of veggies. A range of spices can be added to the cauliflower to achieve the desired results.

To use as an alternative, cauliflower needs to be cut into small pieces or riced cauliflower can be used to create the same texture that crushed beans create. Dishes such as casseroles, dips, or stews can be made by using cauliflower in place of beans.

6. Lentils

Image with lentils.

If you are one of those people who isn’t really thrilled about black beans or beans in general, you need to try lentils as an alternative to black beans.

Lentils provide you with the required amount of proteins and fibers. Plant-based protein is very high in lentils which makes it extremely nutritious. It is also low on calories or fats just like black beans.

Fascinating enough, lentils are available in a number of colors and any of them can be used as a replacement for the beans. So, you can even make your dish a more favorable color other than black.

Black beans can be substituted with lentils in a number of dishes like soups, stew, and salads.

7. Nuts

Image with walnuts.

A very peculiar replacement for black beans can be nuts. Mainly cashews and walnuts can be used as a substitute for black beans. With a richer and vibrant taste, nuts make a great alternative and add more flavor to the dish than black beans.

However, one thing that needs to be kept in mind while using nuts is the fact that they are comparatively high in calories. Thus, half of the number of black beans that are used in a particular dish is recommended for nuts to avoid making the dish too heavy to be consumed.

A very unique way to replace black beans with walnuts is to use it in taco filling. Apart from that, it can be used as an alternative to salads. Regardless of how unusual this substitute sounds, it is capable of enhancing the flavor of the dish very well.

8. Northern Beans

Image with white beans.

Black Beans: Benefits and Uses

Black beans are widely used in different cuisines nowadays, especially the Mexican, Caribbean, and South American cuisines. Black beans are a kind of legume that is just pea-size stuff. Along with the strong flavor, it is a rich source of protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber, as well.

The followings are some of the health benefits of black beans:

  • Good for promoting bone health: Black beans contain all the essential elements like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc which contribute to making the bone structure stronger.
  • Reducing blood sugar levels: Black beans can reduce blood sugar levels. It makes black beans a reliable option for diabetes patients to manage diabetes.
  • Promoting heart health: Black beans are rich in fiber and potassium which are very good for your heart. There are also different vitamins like vitamin B6 and B9 which act as cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • Keeping blood pressure lower: Normally, we eat foods with high amounts of sodium which is not good for our health as well. Black beans have very little sodium. You will even find many low-sodium canned options for them. These help to keep the blood pressure balanced.
  • Improving digestion: Black beans come with a high amount of fiber. So, if you are facing a lack of fiber and a problem with digestion, black beans will help you to improve digestion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Black Beans and Red Kidney Beans the Same?

Both Black Beans and Red Kidney Beans are almost identically the same in terms of nutritional value. The calories, fiber, and vitamins are quite similar in these two beans. The only difference you may find in them is the taste.

Can You Substitute Kidney Beans for Black Beans In Chili?

Yes. You can substitute Kidney beans for Black beans in Chili. Apart from the Kidney beans, you can also substitute the Pinto beans in the recipe. It will also be a perfect match.

Can I Substitute Black Beans For Red Beans?

Again Yes. You can substitute Black Beans for Red beans. In fact, the Black beans are safer than the Red beans as there is a safety issue with the dried beans.

Why Are Beans Bad For You?

Beans are not completely bad for you. Beans and many pulses have toxic lectin which is very harmful to the human body. But, you can reduce the lectin level tremendously after boiling the beans or pulses.

For ensuring safety, you have to cook or boil the beans for at least 10 minutes. The common side effects of having beans and pulses are Gas and intestinal discomfort.

Can Kidney Beans Substitute For Black Beans?

Yes. Kidney beans can be a reliable substitute for Black beans. There are no major differences in their taste. In fact, you can cook Kidney beans in the same way as Black beans.

Do I Drain Black Beans For Chili?

Absolutely. I strongly suggest draining and raising the Black beans after boiling. It helps to avoid dingy color and get a vibrant and flavorful dish. It’s completely up to you whether you will do it or not in the case of any other beans. But, in the case of Black beans, you must do it.


With this, we come to the end of the recommendations for substitutes for Black beans. However, it is to be noted that the list is not exhaustive as there are a number of other alternatives like Great Northern beans, red beans, peas, black-eyed peas, and many more.

It is important to choose an alternative carefully based on the requirements of the dish. If you desire a similar flavor in your food, then kidney beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans are the right way to go.

If you’re looking for a similar texture then chickpeas make a great alternative.

Lastly, if you need a black bean substitute for the nutritional value, then chickpeas, lentils and nuts make a perfect replacement. So the next time you’re out of black beans at home, you know what to use to make your dish equally delicious and nutritious!

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