Just like other members of the legume family, chickpeas have a rich, earthy, and beany flavor which makes them a valuable addition to several dishes.
Chickpeas are slightly nutty and grainy, so they provide a delicious contrast when mixed with other ingredients. Whether you’re craving chickpeas in a spread, salad, or baked dish, there are several good alternatives that can work well if you’re looking for a delicious chickpea substitute.
If you suddenly run out of chickpeas or need a tasty chickpea alternative to change the flavor of your recipe, check out our detailed list of substitutes below.
The best substitutes for chickpeas
The most popular use of chickpeas is to make a hummus spread. As a matter of fact, the word hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas.
Dried chickpeas need to be soaked before they’re cooked as they’re originally very hard and extremely difficult to chew. Soaking them overnight or for at least 12 hours will do the trick.
Chickpeas can be popped like popcorn or ground to make flour. They’re incorporated into several stews, soups, chilis, and baked dishes because they add a hearty and earthy flavor, especially if you’re preparing a vegan or vegetarian dish.
You can even roast them and season them to serve them with cured meat, cheese, and nuts on a cheese platter.
Because they’re so hearty, chickpeas can also be served with roasts. You can even prepare a poultry stuffing and add some chickpeas to change its flavor.
You can also eat green chickpeas because they offer a fresher taste than the white ones. They’re often roasted and seasoned, or you can add them to a broth.
Nevertheless, there are different situations where finding a reliable chickpeas substitute is a must. You can look for a chickpea substitute if you don’t like their taste, you’ve suddenly run out of them or you simply need a new flavor in your dish.
1. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans come from Italy and have a mild and slightly nutty flavor when cooked. They have a creamy and fluffy texture that makes them perfect to replace chickpeas in several recipes.
You can use Cannellini beans to substitute chickpeas in stew or broth because they add the needed creaminess and fluffiness. They can also be used in a salad because they’re less crunchy than other chickpea alternatives that might be too harsh.
Try to mix your Cannellini beans with your salsa or cook them slightly and season them as a side dish with your roasts, they will balance the other ingredients in your recipe. Thanks to their velvety texture, they will be perfect as a substitute for chickpeas in hummus.
2. Great Northern Beans
Great northern beans are slightly smaller than cannellini beans and have a delicate nutty flavor that makes them suitable for replacing chickpeas.
Unlike other types of beans that can taste too strong, great northern beans have a milder taste, so they can be served with different kinds of meat, poultry, and even fish. They’re usually served with white chili because their mild flavor mixes well with hot spices.
Great northern beans hold their shape when cooked and are slightly grainy and are usually used in stews, broths, and soups. You can also serve these beans with leafy greens in a salad because they mix well with herbs and absorb the sauce of whatever they’re cooked with.
3. Lima Beans
Lima beans look very much like great northern beans, but they’re creamier and more buttery. This is probably why they’re also called butter beans in several parts of the world.
You should avoid overcooking lima beans because they turn bitter when cooked for so long. They’re usually added to noodles and pasta or mixed with spices and garlic to prepare a tasty salad.
4. White Kidney Beans
If you’re looking for a substitute for chickpeas in recipes, white kidney beans will work for you. They’re earthy with a nutty flavor and add the needed richness to stews, broths, soups, chilis, and salads.
White kidney beans have a mellow buttery taste, so they will work for you if you’re preparing a dish with a lot of sauce because they usually taste like the sauce you’re cooking with. Also, because they’re soft when cooked, white kidney beans can be used to make a spread.
On their own, you can serve white kidney beans with herbs like thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, and mint or mix them with spices like cumin and curry. Adding a strong ingredient like garlic or onion will help balance their mellowness in a salad or sauce.
5. Navy Beans
Although navy beans look smaller than other types of white beans, they can perfectly work as a substitute for chickpeas in several recipes.
Navy beans are white with a creamy texture when cooked and have a neutral nutty flavor. They look very much like great northern beans and have a similar taste, but the main difference between types of beans is related to their texture.
Because they’re smooth and velvety, navy beans will be a great addition to stews and chilis. You can also mix navy beans with spices and herbs and serve them as an appetizer.
6. Black Beans
Black beans are legumes just like chickpeas, so you can use them as a substitute for chickpeas if you’re preparing a dip, chili, stew, salsa, or soup.
If you’re looking for a chickpea substitute that offers a stronger, heartier, and richer flavor, black beans will work for you. They’re dense with a light crunch texture, so they will add more depth to your recipes.
They’re also a little sweeter than chickpeas, so they will make the spices pop in your dish. Their rich texture makes them a great alternative if you want to prepare a spread for your charcuterie board or a dip to serve with crackers.
Lentils have an earthy, hearty, and slightly peppery flavor. There are different types of lentils that you can consider if you’re looking for an alternative to substitute chickpeas in your recipe.
Brown lentils taste more earthy, so you can use them if you want to replace chickpeas in a stew or a broth. They add the needed heartiness and will make your warm dishes taste richer. Brown lentils go well with garlic, hearty veggies, and spices like cumin, curry, and ginger.
Green lentils taste peppery and go well with greens and herbs. You can use them in a salad or in a spread for your crackers and toast. Mix green lentils with red cabbage or leafy greens in a summer salad for extra freshness.
Red lentils are sweet, so they will work best if you’re preparing chilis, salsas, and other spicy dishes because they can balance the spiciness of your recipe. You can also use them to replace chickpeas in a hummus spread because they’re pretty tasty.
8. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans look different from chickpeas, but they can be a great replacement if you want an alternative with a strong and noticeable flavor. Pinto beans have a rich earthy and nutty flavor and become creamy when cooked in a crockpot.
These beans are slightly pinkish brown with some brown streaks and are commonly used in stews, chilis, and casseroles because they add a rich flavor. In addition, they pair well with cornbread and crackers because they will create a rich flavorful dip.
9. Mung Beans
Mung beans are quite popular in many Asian recipes because they can be cooked in stews, broths, curries, and savory pancakes. As a matter of fact, with some modification, mung beans can also be incorporated into some desserts, similarly to adzuki beans.
When eaten raw, mung beans taste fresh and crisp, but when they’re cooked, they add a lot of heartiness and wholesomeness to your recipes.
Mung beans have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and can be cooked with rice or used in a stir-fry to add some freshness.
10. Green Peas
If you need another alternative to replace green chickpeas in a recipe, green peas should work for you. Green peas are rather sweet and earthy with a clean, fresh aroma. Therefore, they can be used if you need a substitute that offers a different flavor in your recipes.
The best thing about green peas is that they’re easy to find and highly accessible. So whether you’re using the fresh or frozen ones, you don’t have to soak them, and they can be used right away.
Green peas are incredibly versatile, so you can season them and toss them with herbs and spices like thyme, dill, mint, and curry. You can serve them on their own or add them to a summer salad.
Thanks to their green flavor, green peas will be the perfect addition to your meat, poultry, and fish dishes. They bring out the other flavors and add the needed greenness that balances the other ingredients in your dish.
11. Split Peas
Split peas are very close to green peas, but they’re dried and peeled. They have a sweet taste and creamy texture and can be served to substitute green chickpeas in several dishes.
Their subtle sweetness is perfect for elevating several dishes like seafood dishes and meat roasts. You can use split peas in stews, chowders, and soups because they add the needed sweetness. You need to add some herbs like mint and parsley to bring out their greenness.
Edamame or young green soybeans have a buttery, nutty flavor and are creamier than mature soybeans.
They have a fresh green taste that makes them quite popular in Asian recipes and can be used to replace chickpeas when you’re serving them as an appetizer. Sea salt is usually used to elevate the taste of edamame because it brings out a fresh flavor.
You can eat edamame hot in a stew or cold in a salad. They’re quite versatile, so you can boil, steam, or even pan-fry them. When cooking edamame, you need to make sure not to exceed the boiling or steaming time, or they will change color and become too soft.
Soybeans have a mild beany and nutty flavor, so they’re usually used to replace chickpeas if you find their flavor to be too strong. In most cases, soybeans work as a chickpea replacement because they provide the same texture.
Soybeans don’t have a strong flavor on their own, but they can be mixed with other ingredients to add richness to the dish.
For this same reason, soybeans can be incorporated into any recipe where you want to enjoy the slight beany flavor without masking any of the other ingredients in your dish.
Add your soybeans to a stew, broth, or even toss them with rice and noodles. Because they have a rather bland taste, you need to season soybeans well with salt, pepper, garlic, and spices to make them tastier.
While they might not sound like a popular chickpea substitute, peanuts are actually legumes just like chickpeas and can be used to replace them in several recipes.
When they’re still raw, peanuts have a clean and slightly bland taste with some nutty flavors. The roasting process brings out their earthiness and nuttiness even more, so they can be used in several recipes.
Roasted peanuts taste a little bit sweet, so they will be a delicious addition to your stews and slow-cooked recipes.
You can sprinkle roasted peanuts on top of your salad, mix them with spices and serve them on a charcuterie board with cheese and cured meat, or add them to a hearty soup. They will add a rich texture with a slight crunch that works if you don’t like the taste of chickpeas.
This is another surprisingly good alternative that you can consider if you’re looking for a replacement for chickpeas, especially if you’re allergic to legumes.
Hazelnuts have a nutty, earthy flavor, so they provide a different taste from chickpeas. Nevertheless, they will be perfect for you if you want an ingredient that provides a different flavor with some extra crunchiness that chickpeas lack.
You can incorporate hazelnuts into several sweet and savory dishes because their nutty flavor mixes well with several ingredients. You can toss roasted hazelnuts on top of your salad, serve them with cheese, or add them to poultry stuffing.
Hazelnuts add a deeper level of wholesomeness to winter stews and broths because they provide the needed earthy flavor that balances other vegetables and roots.
How to choose a chickpea substitute
Chickpeas add a noticeably creamy texture and rich flavor to several recipes, but if you can’t find them, you can try some of the alternatives we mentioned. Each one will add a distinctive taste to your recipe, so you can pick the right alternative based on the flavor you want to add to your dish.
- Closest flavor: you can use Cannellini beans to replace chickpeas in every recipe, including hummus and other appetizers, as they have the same texture and flavor.
- Closest texture: soybeans, great northern beans, lima beans, white kidney beans, and navy beans add the same slightly nutty flavor and are usually creamy, so you can use them instead of chickpeas in chilis and stews because they add the velvety texture.
- Stronger flavor: black beans and pinto beans will work for you if you need a chickpea alternative that adds a stronger taste and flavor. Both can be used to prepare chilis, stews, or spreads because they make your dishes richer.
- Savory flavor: brown, green, and red lentils taste nutty and slightly peppery. Mung beans, green peas, split peas, and roasted edamame add a fresh green taste. You can also use these alternatives to replace green chickpeas.
- Crunchy texture: in salads or stuffing, you can use peanuts or hazelnuts. Hazelnuts will also work for you if you’re allergic to legumes.