A uniquely shaped red bean which has its name because of its shape, kidney beans are a very popular and common ingredient used in sauces, salads, or as a garnish.
Kidney beans are a very healthy and nutritious food that can improve your health. They are an excellent source of protein for many people, and are often used as an alternative to beef. Kidney beans are particularly popular in Central America and Mexico.
But what if you don’t have any kidney beans? Are there other beans that can be used instead?
The best bean substitutes for kidney beans are black beans, pinto beans, red beans, white beans, borlotti beans, and anasazi beans.
All of these will make your dish unique and tasty.
Read below to find out more about kidney beans, and also how to substitute them if you are making chili con carne. Scroll down and take your pick.
Substitutes for Kidney Beans
Our list consists of the best ingredients that can serve as a replacement for kidney beans. No need to worry if you don’t have any kidney beans at home, just check the list below.
1. Black Beans
A very small, kidney-shaped black bean that has a very rich and full flavor. They are traditionally used in southern Mexico and South America especially and if you use them, they’ll give a bit of Latin flavor to your dish. They are rich in fiber and protein which makes them the perfect substitute. They go well in soups and casseroles.
2. Pinto Beans
Commonly used to make chilies, these beans can be cooked or mashed. Pinto beans can be found dried or packed in cans and are available from most food shops. For fresh ones, you can put them in water overnight to soak. Change the water, simmer the beans until they are tender (about 2 to 3 hours) and then they are ready to use in your recipe.
3. Red Beans
Red beans are a very good replacement for kidney beans. They have the same level of protein and their other nutrients closely resemble kidney beans. You can use red beans for chilies, stews, soups, and salads as well.
4. White Beans
White beans, commonly known as cannellini beans, are also a good substitute for kidney beans. They have a subtle nutty flavor and will fit very well in your salads and soups as a replacement for kidney beans. They are very nutritious and can improve your health.
5. Borlotti Beans
Borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans) are another very good replacement for kidney beans. They are commonly used in Italy, especially in soups and pasta dishes. You can use these beans in all recipes that call for kidney beans. They have a very thin skin and create a rich broth when cooked. You can find them in your local food stores.
6. Anasazi Beans
Another type of bean that is cultivated by American Indians, anasazi beans can be a very good substitute for kidney beans. If you use these beans when cooking, please note that they are very sweet. You can use them as a substitute in recipes that call for kidney beans like hot chilies, lime and cilantro.
What are Kidney Beans?
Kidney beans were given their name because of their shape. However, they actually come in many sizes and colors. From ivory-white to blood-red and black, kidney beans can be found in your local market. You can get them in cans, dried or fresh.
When raw, they are toxic, so they need to be very well prepared before use. They are usually medium-large and are used in salads, soups, or chilies. Kidney beans are usually found fresh and are used in many cuisines all over the world.
Kidney beans can be very beneficial for you and your health. Do not hesitate to use them in your meals. Since they have a very interesting and unique shape, they can also bring a very nice look and taste to your dish.
Substitute for kidney beans in chili con Carne
If you are making a chili con carne and you have no kidney beans, no worries, there are substitutes that you can use. You can make the chili sauce simply by using black beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans. They will fit very well in your recipe.
You can also use a combination of beans, and even make the chili con carne without meat (although you’ll need to put more effort into it).
If you are using a combination of different beans, make sure to adapt the flavors and the texture, because different beans will bring slightly different flavors.
Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?
Actually, no. Red beans and kidney beans are different types of beans. Red beans are smaller and rounder. The only thing they really have in common with kidney beans is the color. However, they are similar enough to be used interchangeably in recipes.
How long to cook kidney beans from a can?
To cook kidney beans straight from the can, you’ll need 5 minutes to prepare. Then you have to cook them for an additional 15 minutes which makes it in total 20 minutes.