6 Garbanzo Bean Substitutes

Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are a popular pantry staple that you can use in a variety of dishes. So it can be frustrating when you’re flicking through a recipe only to find out that you’re all out of one of the key ingredients.

Chickpeas were first cultivated in the Middle East during the Neolithic period before spreading throughout Europe and Asia. They are now a staple of cuisines ranging from France to India. Chickpeas are so versatile that they can be used in stews, ground up to make flour, or even as a coffee replacement. They are high in protein, fiber, iron, and other minerals, making them an excellent choice for a nutritious meal.

Thankfully, there are a number of other beans that are similar to garbanzo beans that you can use as a replacement in many recipes.

Check them out below.

1. Black Beans

While chickpeas are a staple of Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine, black beans are the backbone of Mexican and Caribbean food traditions. They are sometimes called turtle beans. Black beans look very different from garbanzo beans because they are small, smooth and black. However, they have similar flavor profiles and textures.

Black beans have a similar mild, earthy taste to chickpeas so you can use them in stews and other dishes just like you would chickpeas, although you will taste a slight difference. They both have soft textures, so you can grind up black beans to make a dip just like you can blend chickpeas to make hummus. Black beans are a better alternative if you are watching your carbohydrate intake due to your lower carb content.

2. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are popular in Italian cuisine, where they are used in soups and stews such as the world-famous minestrone. They are an excellent substitute for garbanzo beans due to their similar taste and texture. They even look similar due to their light color, although cannellini beans are slightly larger.

You can blend cannellini beans to make a dip, although it will not be like traditional hummus. They also have a neutral taste and absorb sauces and spices well, so you can use them in place of chickpeas in soups, stews, curries, and more. Finally, cannellini beans have a high nutrient content, with a whopping 17 grams of protein per cup. If you were using chickpeas to supplement your protein intake as a vegetarian, cannellini beans are a great substitute in that regard.

3. Green Peas

Green peas are small green legumes that grow in a pod. They are very common in Europe and North America. Although peas are technically a fruit, they are often classified as vegetables and are high in nutrients.

Green peas function well as a side dish when served with meat or fish. You can also throw them into a soup to thicken it and add a bit more flavor and texture. Green peas are also easy to use because they come in many varieties, from canned to frozen, and are widely available even when garbanzo beans may not be. However, their taste and texture is very different so you cannot use green peas as a chickpea replacement for everything.

4. Lentils

Lentils are an ancient pulse that has been in cultivation for thousands of years. They are common in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian cuisine. If you’re looking for a garbanzo bean substitute, why not pick an ingredient that the ancients were already using as a complement and substitute?

You can get lentils in many varieties, including green, red, and yellow lentils. They are high in nutrients and extremely versatile, so you can use them as a garbanzo bean replacement in salads, soups, stews, egg dishes, and more. However, lentils are more time-consuming to cook because they take up to 40 minutes to be ready and some even need to be soaked overnight. You also need to be mindful of the different varieties since some already come coated in spices.

5. Soybeans

Soybeans, dried fruit from the soy plant, are a staple of Southeast and East Asian cuisine that are just as versatile as garbanzo beans. They are another popular vegetarian ingredient and you can use them to make tofu and tempeh. 

Soybeans are high in protein, just like garbanzo beans, so they can help you keep your protein intake up if you are a vegetarian. They make an excellent substitute in soups and salads. However, you cannot use soybeans to make dips or hummus. There have also been recent health concerns regarding soybeans so talk with a doctor if you are worried.

6. Nuts

You probably don’t think about nuts as a viable replacement for beans. However, nuts are also high in protein and other nutrients. When blended, they have a similar texture to chickpeas, although they have a much stronger flavor.

The type of nut that you can use as a garbanzo bean replacement depends on the recipe. For example, cashews are a common ingredient in curries and sauces. Hazelnuts and peanuts blend easily so you can create dips and spreads. However, nuts are far more expensive than chickpeas so if you buy them in the same quantity, you may be shocked at your grocery bill! Many people are also allergic to nuts.

These pantry staples can help you make delicious, filling meals even when you don’t have garbanzo beans on hand. 

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