What is the Best Substitute for Kidney Beans?

by Charlie

Kidney beans are arguably the most popular bean types for cooking. However, they say variety is the spice of life. At some point, you might need to try something new. 

Whether you’re looking to give something else a go or you can’t seem to find kidney beans, it always helps to have some alternatives in hand. 

So, what is the best substitute for kidney beans? Currently, the most impressive substitute for kidney beans would have to be black beans. Apart from the fact that they look alike, black beans also serve as an outstanding complement to different dishes. The two are highly nutritious, and they go well with various delicacies.

This guide will look into some recommended substitutes for kidney beans and how you can make them work in your meals.

An Overview of Kidney Beans 

Kidney beans are quite impressive. With a unique shape and color, these beans are famous ingredients that can be used in a wide array of ways. They are significant fixtures in any recipe for salads, sauces, etc. Also, they work as excellent garnishes to dishes.

Beyond their great taste, kidney beans are also very nutritious and healthy. They can go a long way in improving your health, and many nutritionists recommend that you introduce them into your regular diets. 

Kidney beans can be used in any of the following: 

  • Pasta de Fagioli
  • Soups
  • Vegan and non-vegan salads
  • Kidney burgers 
  • Sausage dishes
  • Curry

There are much more that aren’t listed. So, you see why kidney beans are so popular. 

Reasons for Replacing Kidney Beans

However, this isn’t to say that they please everyone. Some people might not like kidney beans, but would still love to enjoy their salads. So, it begs the question of whether some substitutes can work just as well.

Here are some reasons why you might want to replace kidney beans

  • A change of taste: Sometimes, you just want to change your taste and experiment with your dishes.
  • Shortage: If you don’t have kidney beans but still want to make a dish, you need to find an alternative out of necessity 
  • Dietary issues: Some people might have allergies or other digestive issues with kidney beans. In this case, an alternative is both a choice and a necessity

Options for Kidney Beans Alternatives

Top Recommended Choice: Black Beans

As pointed out, black beans are the ideal substitute for kidney beans available. Also known as turtle beans, these beans come with a hard, shell-like look. Note, however, that these beans are edible seeds.

Like other legumes, black beans are favored for their high content of fiber and protein. They also come with different vital minerals and vitamins that will be of great benefit to your health.

Some benefits of black beans include:

  • Managing diabetes
  • Improving the health of your bones
  • Reducing your blood pressure
  • Lowering the risk of cancer
  • Helping you with weight loss

With many more benefits available, it is easy to see why these beans are so popular.

Black beans are available around the year. When preparing them, you must sort them effectively and pick out any rocks or additional debris that might have mixed up with the package. Wash and soak the beans for about eight to ten hours before cooking them or adding them to your dish. This way, you can get the maximum flavor.

To know if the beans are done soaking, try splitting them. If you can do that easily, then you’re good to go. Soaking will help to reduce the time required to cook the beans, and it also helps to improve their health benefits.

Substitute for Kidney Beans in Chili: Pinto Beans

If you’re looking to make chili and don’t want to use kidney beans, then pinto beans will be ideal for you. These beans are said to be the most famous variant of dried beans in the United States, and they are also a regular fixture in Mexican dishes.

Pinto beans look beige with reddish-brown specks when dried. They have a mixture of nutty and earthy flavors, and they are quite simple to prepare. They can be mashed or cooked, and you can find them at grocery stores around you.

In pinto beans, you can find a wide array of nutrients. These include proteins, carbs, and fiber. As expected, they also come with many vitamins and minerals, and they are rich in antioxidants. All in all, pinto beans are affordable, easy to prepare, and can go with different types of meals.  

When making fresh pinto beans, remember to put them in water to soak overnight. From there, change the water and simmer the beans for two to three hours to help them get tender. When you’re done, prepare them normally.

Substitute for Kidney Beans in Salads: White Beans

This variant of beans is indigenous to South and North America. There are several variants of white beans available, although they all have the same nutty and earthy flavor. White beans are particularly great additions to soups and salads. So, if you’re looking to make any of those without having to put kidney beans, white beans are a great go-to ingredient.

The most famous variant of white beans is cannellini beans. Other variants include baby lima beans, navy beans, and Great Northern beans.

Primarily, white beans come with the usual protein and fiber mixture. However, they also come with many essential micronutrients like magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6. Their versatile flavor makes them a great addition to different types of recipes, as explained earlier. White beans are also available dry and canned.

When working with dry white beans, you should soak them for six to eight hours before cooking them. You could also boil them for two minutes, keep them in a soaking pot, and cover the pot for about an hour. Thanks to the soaking process, the white beans will be able to soften. The method also can reduce some of their digestive side effects, including but not limited to bloating and gas.

Note that the canned white beans might come with added salt. So, be sure to check the label if you don’t want that. You can also rinse the beans before use to reduce their salt content.  

Substitute for Kidney Beans in Soups: Borlotti Beans

Also known as cranberry beans, Borlotti beans look white and red and can be another great substitute for kidney beans. You can use Borlotti beans with pasta or in soups. They are pretty easy to cook, with a rich bean broth and thin skin that makes them a delight.

Borlotti beans have a meaty texture and a generally sweet flavor. There’s also a soothing, creamy aftertaste that you’re bound to enjoy. As with the other beans on this list, they contain high fiber and protein levels and are generally very nutritious.

If you would like to prepare dried Borlotti beans, soak them for eight hours, then simmer them for about 90 minutes. For the canned beans, just stir them into your soup or pasta directly.

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