What is the Best Substitute for Black Beans?

by Charlie

Black beans are legumes and a common variety of common beans. They have a hard shell-like appearance . Like other legumes, black beans are immensely rich in proteins and fibers. There are, however, some peculiarities to black beans. Black beans are mostly used in Latin American cuisines.

Though we’re wired for it, many of us fear launching into the deep ends and trying new things. And it’s why without even trying it out, many folks simply don’t want particular foods. Black beans, though quite common, are surely not as accepted as common beans. 

What is the best substitute for black beans? The best substitute for black beans in your food is chickpeas. Like black beans, chickpeas have no real taste of their own. They’re easy to cook too. Soak them the night before cooking, and toss them in whatever meals when you’re ready.

The meal will come out as tasty as black beans would have made it!

An Overview of Black Beans

Black beans belong to the class of peanuts, lentils, and peas, to name a few. They are rich in proteins, vitamins, fibers, and even carbohydrates. They are also very rich in folate and micronutrients like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Meanwhile, here are some fun facts we think you’ll find pretty interesting:

  • Beans are actually seeds of the bean plant. They are edible seeds, belonging to the likes of nuts and cereals.
  • Did you know that beans generally contain more carbohydrates than protein? Yes, we’ve all been deceived. Take, for example, black beans. Per 100g, there are about 23.7g of carbs and only 8.9g of protein.
  • Black beans double as calcium supplements, immensely strengthening your bones.
  • Every half cup of black beans contains about 114kCal. They’re that rich! If you want to lose weight, you might want to try your taste buds on another food. Nonetheless, some parties argue that black beans’ high fiber content makes them worthy weight-loss foods.
  • Quercetin and Saponin build a Berlin wall around your heart against the 1001 things that could possibly go wrong. Black beans are rich in these compounds.

Asides their peculiar color, black beans are also widely known for their extreme fullness and meaty texture. They are so thick; they are on the top lists of vegetarian diets. The common meals they’re used for are somewhat unconventional, but here are a few:

  • Moros y Cristianos (a Cuban staple equivalent to Brazil’s rice and beans)
  • Gallo pinto (a Central American dish that consists of a rice-and-beans base).
  • Frijoles negro (a Latin American black bean dish)
  • Pabellon criolo (a traditional Venezuelan dish of rice, stewed black beans, and beef; usually best paired with fried plantain).

At this point, you’re probably wondering what black beans taste like, aren’t you? Like water, they’re tasteless. It’s why you can easily use them in any meals you want: they take on whatever tastes you want them to.

If you want them salty, add salt; peppery, add pepper; and on, and on.

Why Replace Black Beans?

Black beans are, without saying, not the most common and loved the variety of beans around. And just maybe the color doesn’t help matters (asides caviar, black ice cream, and probably dark chocolate, how many black foods do you eat?). And really, this is okay.

Adventure and insatiable curiosity will make you try out foods like black beans if you’ve never had them before. But there are high chances that due to these ‘inconveniences’ and its general unavailability, you’d readily hop on any of these substitutes instead.

Best Recommended Substitute for Black Beans: Chickpeas

Chickpeas are popular legumes highly rich in proteins and fibers (nutrients common to black beans). Similar to black beans, chickpeas don’t have that strong of a taste. If a recipe has black beans, you can replace it in a heartbeat with chickpeas.

Other Recommended Substitutes for Black Beans

Lentils

These ones beat black beans’ protein and fiber content hands down. Unlike black beans, however, they have their own tastes and might add a stronger flavor altogether to your meal. Sometimes, you might have to make more tweaks than one in your entire recipe to accommodate them (especially if you’ll need to bake them).

And oh, they’re slightly pricier. 

Kidney Beans

While all bean variants will replace black beans, kidney beans are the best choice. They both have the same dark colors (they’re deep red), are prepared the same way, and taste significantly alike. 

Nuts

Groundnuts, cashew nuts, and walnuts, to name a few are creative substitutes for black beans. When used in the right ways, you probably won’t even notice the absence of black beans in your meal. They rather add to your meals, flavors black beans could never achieve.

Cauliflower

Think of cauliflowers as the white substitute foods to black beans. If you want to use them instead of black beans, it’s best advised to crush/mash to rice form. Cauliflowers bake faster than black beans, so you should take this into consideration when preparing.

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