When it comes to hominy, many people are confused about its origin. Is it corn, or does it just look like it? Hominy is indeed corn, but not the regular kind, since it includes entire kernels of dried field corn known as maize.
Whether you prefer it as a side dish, or to use it ground in your tortilla dough, hominy is a delicious addition to many recipes. However, preparing it raw can be a little challenging, and you might be out of canned hominy at the moment.
Regardless of the recipe, you have in mind, there is an adequate hominy substitute.
The best substitutes for hominy
As we’ve already mentioned, hominy is corn, but it doesn’t look like the “regular” corn we’re used to seeing. Instead of coming from the cob, hominy are actually whole kernels of field corn that have been dried and nixtamalized.
What this means is that dried kernels of maize (field corn) have been cooked and then steeped into an alkaline solution, which usually consists of water and food-grade lime. After this process, the corn is drained, rinsed, and then used or milled, depending on the form.
This kind of processing removes the hulls of the corn and makes the inner kernels tender, while also significantly improving its overall nutritional profile. The kernels also become softer, more aromatic, and the flavors are enhanced.
If you decide to prepare dried, raw hominy, you’ll have to soak it before use to further tenderize the kernel and prepare it for cooking. However, if you don’t feel like preparing it on your own, you can always get the canned product that you can use right away.
What’s more, hominy also comes in the ground form that you can use for different kinds of dough. Ground hominy can usually be found in two forms: hominy grits and masa. Hominy grits are more coarsely ground, whereas masa is finely ground hominy.
Masa is commonly used in Mexican cuisine, especially for tortillas, arepas, tamales, and similar dishes. Since it is so finely ground, it is an ideal replacement for flour, especially if you have an intolerance.
When it comes to recipes with raw hominy, the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can prepare it on its own, as a main dish or a side dish, with the right combination of seasoning. It also makes for a great side dish, especially with other veggies.
You can combine it with garlic, onions, tomatoes, avocado, and peppers. It is also a delicious addition to soups, stews, salsas, chili, and posole – especially since it enhances both the texture and the flavors.
As far as the flavor is concerned, hominy is quite similar to sweet corn, but it is slightly more complex. It does have a sweetness to it, but it isn’t as dominant since it also has a unique earthy flavor.
In case hominy simply isn’t your cup of tea or you just need a quick replacement, keep on reading to find the best substitute for hominy beans for your dish.
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are usually beige, thin-skinned, and large. However, there are other varieties of this hominy replacement, including green, black, brown, and red. With different colors, you may also expect different flavors.
Speaking of flavors, chickpeas are usually mildly nutty and earthy, with an extremely buttery texture that allows for different cooking methods and techniques. The most popular uses of chickpeas are hummus and falafel.
Depending on how long you cook them, you can expect different textures and outcomes. They can be completely cooked (for sauces and condiments such as hummus), but they can also preserve their outer layer and remain crunchy in baked dishes.
2. Sweet corn
Sweet corn is definitely a safe bet when it comes to a white hominy substitute. Since hominy is also corn, the differences in flavor are negligible. The main difference is in the texture, but with the right cooking method, you can preserve the firmness of sweet corn.
Sweet corn is also available canned, and it is a great canned hominy substitute. It is great with side dishes, seafood salads, soups, tortilla fillings, and any veggie combination you can think of.
It can also be a great substitute for hominy in posole, being that they’re quite similar when it comes to flavors. Pair sweet corn with pulled ham hock and red kidney beans for the most delicious posole dish.
3. Buckwheat grits
Buckwheat grits are produced from buckwheat groats that have been finely ground up. Therefore, buckwheat grits make for a great replacement for hominy, especially in its ground form.
Buckwheat grits resemble cereal, and they’re often referred to as buckwheat cereal. When soaked in water, similarly to hominy, they become softer, and they also multiply in size. They’re often used in desserts – especially pudding and porridge.
Buckwheat is also available as finely ground powder, similar to hominy “flour” known as masa, and it can be used for different kinds of dough. Buckwheat is a great choice in general since it is high in fiber and extremely nutritious.
Polenta is yet another great white hominy substitute when it comes to stone-ground hominy. It has a very similar texture to ground white hominy, and it also gelatinizes in your dishes creating a creamy, thick consistency.
In many cuisines, polenta is simply served on its own, and it can even be the main dish. However, if you find it too plain, you can always take it up a notch by combining it with different kinds of sauces, condiments, meats, and veggies.
As a flour, polenta can also be used when making different types of dough, including tortillas and tamales, but it can also serve as a thickener for some dishes like soups.
Samp is quite similar to hominy when it comes to production, texture, as well as uses. These are also dried corn kernels that have been chopped until broken, but the pieces aren’t as fine as rice – they’re a bit larger.
It is generally used in different kinds of meat dishes, as it pairs well with poultry, beef, and lamb. Samp is also a great, convenient solution if you’re looking for a replacement for hominy in different kinds of stuffing.
When samp pieces are cracked, the outer layer is removed, which allows for the kernel to become tender and soft in the cooking process. Samp is quite popular in African cooking, but it can be found in some American recipes, as well.
6. Dried beans
While it is possible to use regular white beans as a replacement for white hominy beans, you’ll find that dried beans have a more adequate texture. Just like hominy, dried beans also need to be soaked in water so the cooking process doesn’t take too much time.
Dried beans are also a great hominy substitute in posole, as they won’t turn mushy and soft when cooked for a longer period of time. Therefore, if you enjoy some texture in your posole, you can’t go wrong with dried beans.
This type of beans is usually sold in packs as dehydrated beans, but you can also find canned dry beans.
While there is a significant difference in flavor, rice can be used in place of hominy in dishes lacking texture. Being a rather neutral ingredient, rice has many uses in countless recipes, both sweet and savory.
Rice is an ideal replacement for hominy in soups, posole, and stuffing. With the right combination of seasoning and herbs, you can easily develop the flavors, especially if you’re pairing rice with meat or fish.
Grits are actually ground corn, but not entirely ground, since it does have a distinct texture that turns into gelatine when cooked. They’re usually made from white corn, but you can also find yellow corn grits.
The stone-ground grits you’ll usually come across are coarser in texture, and as we said, they haven’t been as finely ground. Also, with the coarser texture, you’ll also get more flavor, and this usually means that the grits aren’t too processed.
9. Adzuki beans
Adzuki beans are very popular in Asian cuisine, both in savory dishes and desserts. Since they’re quite sweet, they’re often found in sweet recipes, even though you may not picture beans in a dessert.
Due to their unique sweetness and firm texture that can soften up during cooking, adzuki beans may be the best choice out of all beans to replace hominy in your recipes. They’re also earthy and nutty enough to elevate any dish you incorporate them into.
How to choose a hominy substitute
Depending on your personal preferences and the recipe you’re following, you may decide to stick to corn options. However, don’t be afraid to experiment and give other alternatives a shot, especially if you’re looking to try something different in your dishes.
When it comes to playing it safe and sticking to the corn options, go with sweet corn or samp, as they’re similar to hominy in all important aspects: texture, flavor, and origin.
When it comes to texture alone, you’ll find that chickpeas, dried beans, and adzuki beans can do a pretty decent job in replacing hominy in the majority of your dishes.
On the other hand, ground hominy can be replaced with buckwheat grits, polenta, and grits, while rice can also be used to thicken the texture of your dishes.