5 Great Substitutes for Black Beans

Black beans

Black beans are an important ingredient in lots of recipes. They are highly nutritious and very tasty. These beans contain a lot of protein and carbohydrates, while also being 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 about eating black beans, you will be glad to know that you can easily replace them.

Best substitutes for black beans

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

1. Chickpeas


Chickpeas should be one of your first options when you are looking for an alternative to black beans. They are a great ingredient for almost any recipe that calls for black beans. You can find them in most shops, and they have a neutral taste.

Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber as well, so you will maintain the nutritional value of your dish too. Cooking them will not be a problem – just let them soak overnight and then 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 different types of bean available, kidney beans are the best choice.

Since they also have a dark color, you might not even be able to tell the difference. You cook them the same way as you would regular black beans and the taste is not significantly different. Many people won’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 substitute for black beans.

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 and you might have to modify your entire recipe to accommodate them.

4. Cauliflower


Cauliflower can also save the dish if you are looking for an alternative to black beans. 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 is very easy. If you choose to replace your black beans with cauliflower, try adding a spicy taste to your dish. This will improve the dish and your guests will love it!

As with lentils, you should pay attention if your bean dish requires time in the oven. Cauliflower will cook a lot faster than beans in the oven and so you will need to adjust your cooking time to take this into account.

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 that nuts can add to any dish. If you choose to use nuts, you can get creative!

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

If you are allergic to nuts, you might like to try sunflower seeds instead. 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 but have no black beans available 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.

All these types of beans cook in the same way as 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 appearance.

Substitute for black beans in enchiladas

Enchiladas are delicious, and traditionally require meat. But there are such things as veggie enchiladas, and many people choose to 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 just need to follow some very simple steps. Enchiladas can be adapted according to your taste. You can replace certain veggies with others and even use a different sauce rather than the traditional one.

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

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

When your tortillas are ready, put them in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. It is important to preheat the oven so that you bake your tortillas at the right temperature. You can serve them warm or cold. It is that easy! Pour 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 be very similar to black beans 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.

We don’t recommend replacing beans with lentils in a baked dish. Lentils are different and if you bake them the same way as beans then they will just go mushy.

They will also lose much of their flavor if you overcook them. The same applies if you want to bake cauliflower instead of black beans or any other type of beans. Cauliflower cooks fast and therefore it might not work with recipes that require baking.


Black beans are easy to replace in almost any type of dish. You can use one of the alternatives we have 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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