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Chickpeas are versatile and delicious legumes that can be used in various dishes, from soups and stews to salads and veggie burgers. But sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any chickpeas on hand. Luckily, there are a few different types of beans that make a great substitute for chickpeas.
But before we dig into these alternatives, let’s ensure we understand our ingredients so we can make the best assessment when picking a different ingredient.
What Are Chickpeas & What Do They Taste Like?
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume that is native to the Middle East and South Asia. But their influence is even seen in many European countries. These wonderful beans have even hopped over to the United States. They have a unique nutty flavor and a firm texture, making them versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They have a round shape, almost looking like a small hazelnut.
Chickpeas can be eaten whole, or they can be ground into flour and used for baking. It’s a popular flour used in gluten-free baking. They can also be canned or dried for long-term storage. In addition to being a delicious and healthy food, chickpeas also have a number of unique properties. For instance, they can absorb water and expand to three times their original size.
Chickpeas are often cooked in stews or curries, or they may be roasted and eaten as a crunchy snack. Some well-known recipes are falafel or hummus. Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, making them a healthy food choice for people of all ages.
Your goal is to find a bean that has the same texture or similar flavor as garbanzo beans. These are some of the closest ones I could find.
Tan Tepary Beans
Tan tepary beans are a type of bean that is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and a dense, meaty texture, making them a great substitute for chickpeas in dishes like soup, stews, hummus, or bean sides. They come in different shades of tan to goldish. Tan tepary beans can be difficult to find, but they can usually be ordered online.
White Kidney Beans (Cannellini)
White kidney beans, also known as cannellini beans, are another good substitute for chickpeas. They have a similar texture to chickpeas, and they can be used in the same types of dishes. White kidney beans are more widely available than tan tepary beans, so they may be easier to find at your local grocery store.
Great Northern Beans
Great northern beans are another type of white bean that can be used as a substitute for chickpeas. They have a mild yet distinctly nutty flavor and a firm texture, making them ideal for dishes like soups and stews. Great northern beans are widely available dried and canned, usually found in the same section as other beans.
Large Lima Beans
Large lima beans, also known as butter beans, are a good substitute for chickpeas in dishes like curries or soups. They have a nutty flavor and a creamy texture, making them a good stand-in for chickpeas. They also make for great crispy roasted snacks! Large lima beans can usually be found in the same section as other types of dried beans. Alternatively, you can try dry fava beans, which are also similar.
What NOT to Use As Replacement for Chickpeas
The internet has some weird suggestions, and honestly, as a true foodie, I just don’t agree with them. I want you to be able to cook the BEST dish, even if you need to use a substitute. This means I’m going to give you suggestions that I would use in my kitchen. You will never see a random off-the-wall suggestion that makes no sense. With that said, here are things I would NOT recommend using as an alternative for chickpeas.
Lentils actually come from the pea family and are actually considered their own type of legume altogether. The reason why I don’t recommend lentils is that are a completely different texture and flavor than chickpeas.
Some other differences are that they cook quickly compared to chickpeas and are not as hearty!
Fresh, frozen, or canned green peas are starchy and slightly sweet. Not a great swap for chickpeas. You won’t get any of the nutty bean flavors you need if you use them.
Black beans have a nice soft creamy texture, they don’t have an overwhelming flavor, but they do have a mild distinct one. They also tend to change the color of your dish.
Oddly enough, I have seen hazelnuts as an alternative to chickpeas. Why? I am not sure. If you want to enjoy roasted chickpeas as a crunchy snack, you don’t have to swap them with nuts. A lot of beans will crisp up like chickpeas. No need to bail the legume ship to find a yummy crispy baked snack.
This one falls into the hazelnut category as well, except peanuts are a legume. But this doesn’t mean it should be used as a sub for chickpeas. Two very different tastes, characteristics, and more. This is a no-go!
My Final Thoughts on Substitutes for Chickpeas
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any chickpeas on hand, don’t worry! There are plenty of other types of beans that make great substitutes. From tan tepary beans to large lima beans, there’s sure to be a bean that will work well in your dish.
And remember, not all beans are created equal, meaning you can’t just substitute a bean for another bean. It’s good to find ones that have a similar texture, taste, and flavor profile or at least a combo of some of those things.
I hope this has been helpful, and the next you’re in a pinch, don’t hesitate to reach for one of these chickpea substitutes.