What is the Best Substitute for Chickpeas?

by Charlie

Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, chickpeas have a very impressive nutrient profile. It is used for cooking a wide range of dishes and is also among the most nutritious legumes around. Chickpeas are used for making stews, salads, soups, puréed, and much more. It is also popular within the vegan community because of its versatility in vegan dishes.

Although chickpeas have been cultivated for thousands of years in different parts of the world, it doesn’t grow everywhere. Also, although it is widely available, there are times where there are shortfalls in supply. So, in the absence of chickpeas, what other foods make a good substitute?

What are the best substitutes for chickpeas? The best substitutes for chickpeas are cannellini beans, lentils, black beans, and green peas. Other plausible substitutes are hazelnut and soybeans.

An Overview of Chickpeas

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are very nutritious legumes. They have a very high protein content, making it a good substitute for fish or meat in a vegan diet. They’re one of the earliest cultivated legumes that are still popular in recipes today.

Unlike some food crops, chickpeas are usually available in grocery stores all year round. They are generally either packed fresh or dry. Both styles have a similar concentration of nutrients. A cup of chickpeas typically contains around one-third of an adult’s daily protein requirements. They also contain a significant amount of fiber, iron, selenium, potassium, and magnesium, which are all useful for supporting good heart health. 

Why Replace Chickpeas?

With its impressive nutrient profile, why would anyone want to replace chickpeas with something else? Well, there are a lot of reasons. It could be:

  • You Need Healthier Alternatives: As healthy as chickpeas can be, some of their nutrients, like potassium, can cause problems if consumed in excess amounts. Also, there are other legumes similar to chickpeas that have a better nutrient profile. 
  • You Live in a Region with Insufficient or No Supply: Although chickpeas are eaten widely around the world, there some regions where getting chickpeas might be a hassle. In such a case, we’ve you covered with other popular substitutes.

Best Substitutes for Chickpeas

Below are some great substitutes for Chickpeas:

Cannellini Beans

Just like chickpeas, cannellini beans are also an immensely healthy legume. They’re also rich in fiber and protein. Cannellini beans are one of the richest sources of plant protein. This makes them an excellent option for vegans who need an alternative protein source that isn’t meat or fish.

If you’re looking for substitutes for chickpeas in vegan dishes, you’ll find cannellini to be a fitting replacement in several vegan meals and snacks. They’re great in vegan collard greens, quinoa chili Verde, vegetable quinoa soup, and slow cooker minestrone. Cannellini is also great for vegan snacks like vegan burgers and sandwiches.

Like chickpeas, cannellini’s array of nutrients is also suitable for supporting healthy digestion, body weight, and muscle mass. Of course, cannellini isn’t only for vegans. They also fit perfectly in a large array of non-vegan diets. 

Lentils

Another great substitute for chickpeas is lentils. They share a similar history with chickpeas, with both legumes cultivated as far back as thousands of years ago. Like chickpeas, lentils are also rich in protein and minerals. Their impressive protein profile also makes them a great protein option in a vegan diet.

Lentils are also an excellent replacement for chickpeas in the making of soups, salads, and puree. Some common types of lentils include red lentils, yellow-brown lentils, Macachiados, black lentils, and several others. Green lentils are excellent sources of fiber. Red lentils are also particularly great sources of iron and folic acid.

Most varieties of lentils support good heart health, helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and also aid digestive functions. 

Black Beans

Black beans are loaded with nutritious folate, protein, fiber, and potassium. Although they are native to the Americas, they’ve been introduced and are widely eaten around the world owing to their rich nutrient profile. They’ve been a staple food in North American diets for thousands of years.

Vegetarians will also find Black beans as a good substitute for chickpeas in several vegan dishes. Their rich protein content also makes it an excellent protein source for vegans who do not consume meat and fish. They’re also great for warding off heart diseases, managing diabetes, lowering blood sugar, and enhancing healthy digestion. 

Green Peas 

Although not entirely similar in taste, green peas offer a similar nutrient profile as chickpeas. Just like chickpeas, green peas are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They also have an impressive amount of protein, representing a potential alternative for meat and fishes in vegan dishes. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, folate, iron, thiamine, and manganese.

Green peas contain nutrients that are useful in blood sugar control. As a matter of fact, green peas could be used as a more nutrient-rich alternative to chickpeas. Green peas have more protein, potassium, dietary fiber, copper, riboflavin, phosphorus, carbohydrates, and iron per 100g than chickpeas. 

Other Plausible Substitutes for Chickpeas

Hazelnuts

At first, hazelnuts seemingly do not fit the profile of a substitute for chickpeas. They aren’t going to fit in with a lot of the dishes that you’ll want to cook with chickpeas. However, hazelnuts and chickpeas have a lot in common. They’re both high in calcium, dietary fiber, iron, protein, and potassium.

If you’re in search of food with a better nutrient profile, hazelnuts might fit your requirements. Hazelnuts have more protein, calcium, vitamins, thiamin, saturated fats, and potassium per 100 g than chickpeas. 

Soybeans

Soybeans are frequently featured in a lot of recipes — and for good reason. Soybeans are also great for vegan recipes. Just like chickpeas, soybeans are rich in protein, calcium, potassium, and iron. Although chickpeas contain significantly more dietary fiber than soybeans, soybeans have more protein, potassium, copper, thiamin, calcium, and iron per 100g gram. 

All the suggested options could be an excellent replacement for chickpeas, depending on what you want to use it for. However, irrespective of what options you go for, always ensure they’re healthy and, if possible, organic options. 

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