5 Great Substitutes for Black Beans

Black beans
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Black beans can be a valuable ingredient in plenty of recipes. They are highly nutritious and very tasty. These beans contain a lot of protein and carbohydrates while they are low in fat. Black beans are a good source of Calcium and Iron as well. But not everyone likes these beans. If you are not thrilled by eating black beans, you will be glad to know that you can easily replace them.

What can you Substitute for black beans? You can replace black beans with any other type of beans as well as with lentils or chickpeas. 

Best substitutes for black beans

Without further due, let’s take a deeper look into the perfect substitutes for black beans!

1. Chickpeas


Chickpeas should be one of your first options when you try to replace your black beans in your recipe. And they are a great ingredient for almost any recipe that would require black beans. You can find them everywhere and they have a neutral taste.

Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber as well so you maintain the nutritional value of your dish too. Cooking them will not be a problem either. You will have to let them soak overnight and boil them as you wish according to the dish you want to make.

2. Kidney beans

Kidney beans

It might seem obvious that you can replace black beans with any other type of beans. However, from all the strains, the kidney beans are the best choice.

Since they also have a dark color, you might not even be able to tell the difference. You will cook them the same as you would the regular black beans too. And the taste is not significantly different. As a matter of fact, many people wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.

3. Lentils


Lentils are very nutritious as they contain even more protein than black beans as well as more fiber. They can replace black beans in any recipe and add a stronger flavor. You can find different types of lentils and they all work just fine as a black beans substitute.

However, you might notice that lentils tend to be slightly pricier than black beans. It will also be challenging to replace baked black beans with baked lentils. The lentils will cook differently under the same conditions and you might have to modify your entire recipe to accommodate this ingredient.

4. Cauliflower


Cauliflower can save the dish as well if you want to replace your black beans ingredient. To use cauliflower instead of black beans, you will have to smash it into a rice texture.

You might be able to find cauliflower florets already smashed but doing it yourself shouldn’t be a problem either. If you choose to replace your black beans with cauliflower, try adding a spicy taste to your dish.

It will turn out that much better and your guests will love it! Just like with lentils, you should pay attention if your beans dish requires time in the oven. Cauliflower will cook a lot faster than beans in the oven and you will have to adjust your recipe to this new baking time.

5. Nuts


The fact that you can replace black beans with nuts might come as a surprise but it is a great trick. Many chefs choose to make this switch thanks to the unique flavor nuts can add to any dish. If you choose to use nuts, you can get creative.

Try cashew or walnuts and your dish will turn great! You will have to adjust the quantities, though. For instance, if you normally would use 1/2 cups of black beans, you might need just 1/4 cups of nuts for the same recipe.

In case you are allergic to nuts, try sunflower seeds. They will have a strong taste but if you don’t mind that, they are a great substitute for black beans as well. 

Substitute for black beans in Mexican food

Mexican food is very popular around the world. Its spicy taste can be hard to resist. And one of the main ingredients in Mexican food is black beans.

The main rule when you want to cook Mexican food with no black beans is to use any other type of beans. Luckily, there is a wide variety. You could go for pinto beans, kidney beans, cranberry beans, flageolet beans, etc.

You will cook all these types in the same way you would cook your black beans, according to the recipe you want to make. Boiling the beans is essential for any type of dish too.

If you want to avoid beans altogether, go for chickpeas, lentils or cauliflower. Some people might even choose to use rice instead of beans. However, we wouldn’t recommend rice as a beans substitute because it can change the entire dish by giving it a new flavor and image.

Substitute for black beans in enchiladas

Enchiladas is a delicious dish that traditionally requires meat. But there is such a thing as veggie enchiladas and many people use black beans instead of meat. If you want to avoid black beans, you can successfully use chickpeas or other types of beans.

To make this delicious dish you will have to follow certain steps and it is not complicated at all. Enchiladas is the type of recipe that you can adapt according to your taste. You can replace certain veggies with others and even use a different sauce than the traditional one.

Start by frying onion, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, and other veggies you might like in olive oil. Cook them until they are wilted.

Once your veggies are cooked, take them off the pan and into a bowl. Add the boiled chickpeas or other beans on top of them as well as some parmesan and enchiladas sauce. Mix the composition well and use it to fill tortillas as you would when you prepare burritos.

When your tortillas are ready, put them in the oven for about ten to 15 minutes.it is important to preheat the oven so you bake your rolls in the best conditions. You can serve them warm or cold. It is that easy! Add some sauce on top of them and enjoy it!

Black beans substitute in baking

Assuming that you are not going to focus on Mexican food but you want to make another type of dish that requires baking black beans, you also have options. You can go for kidney beans as they tend to not be so different when you bake them.

Make sure to soak them and boil them before you put them in the oven, though. If you fail to do that, kidney beans could turn out to be harder and more difficult to digest.

Chickpeas are also a great option and you should cook them in the same way you would cook your beans.

It is not recommended to bake lentils instead of beans, though. Lentils can be slightly different and baking them just like you would bake beans will turn them mushy.

They will also lose a great part of their flavor if you overcook them. The same issues you will face if you want to bake cauliflower instead of black beans or any other type of beans. Cauliflower cooks fast and it might not go along with some of your recipes that require baking.


Black beans are easy to replace in almost any type of dish. You can use one of the alternatives we offered in this guide or experiment with your own ideas.

However, when you choose the best substitute for black beans you should consider both its texture and taste. You want your final dish to look the same and taste delicious. If you don’t pay attention to these two aspects you might end up with a completely different dish.

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