If it were up to me, we would never be looking for the best chickpea substitutes because it’s absolutely one of my favorite legumes. You should also know that chickpeas and garbanzo beans are exactly the same thing.
It’s not just that I love hummus or maybe some chickpea curry and that’s it.
However, sometimes we might have to look for the best chickpea substitutes. Maybe you don’t enjoy how these legumes taste all that much and you’d like to try some alternatives. Or maybe the price for chickpeas is too high where you live and you might want to see if there’s a cheaper option.
Whatever the reason, let’s talk about some substitutes.
If you want to easily make your own hummus at home, check out my reviews for the best blenders to puree food.
Table of Contents
Best Chickpea Substitutes: My Favorites
1. Cannellini beans: 365 by Whole Foods Market, Beans Cannellini Organic
Cannellini are one of the easiest-to-find chickpea substitute across the globe. They’re a white bean variety, the largest among white beans. If you prefer smaller white beans, I recommend navy beans. The taste is the same, only the size differs.
2. Black beans: Bush’s Best Canned Black Beans
I love black beans thanks to their shiny black exterior, their wonderful texture and they’re slightly sweet taste. We can use black beans as one of the best chickpea substitutes in absolutely all recipes.
3. Lentils: Palouse Brand Black Beluga Lentils
Lentils are excellent if you want to use them as one of the best chickpea substitutes in curries, salads, soups, to make falafel and so many other recipes.
4. Fava beans: Goya Foods Large Fava Beans
Considering that falafel is either made from fava beans, chickpeas or a combination of both, I would say that it’s pretty obvious why I absolutely had to include fava beans on this list. Plus, some people thing that they’re one of the most delicious beans.
5. Chickpeas: Eden Foods Organic Garbanzo Beans
I couldn’t talk about chickpea substitutes without actually recommending some chickpeas. Maybe you can give them a chance when you can.
16 Best Chickpea Substitutes
Some of the best chickpea substitutes for all recipes are:
- black beans
- green peas
- pigeon peas
- fava beans
- lima beans
- Great Northern beans
- pinto beans
- white kidney beans
- navy beans
- green beans
Thus, a lot of legumes can absolutely work as the best substitutes for chickpeas. You just have to choose the one you like best or the one is easier to find where you live.
1. Cannellini beans: one of the best chickpea substitutes
I would like to first recommend one of the easiest-to-find and cheapest substitutes that we can use in basically all recipes that call for chickpeas.
We can even make cannellini hummus.
Cannellini beans are one of the most popular around the globe. There’s a high chance that you can find at least one bean variety to substitute chickpeas, no matter where you live.
Among white beans, cannellini are the biggest. Since they’re so big, they’re meaty and hardy. They have a creamy texture and a mellow, nutty flavor.
2. Black beans
Even if black beans are black, just as their name suggests, and they look nothing like chickpeas with their golden color, I think that they’re one of the best chickpea substitutes.
We can use black beans to make hummus.
They’re also my favorite for making chili. That’s why I also consider them to be one of the best substitutes for kidney beans.
I love their black color and how they contrast with any ingredients in any dish.
They’re creamy, soft and have a mild taste with a sweet flavor.
3. Lentils: one of the best chickpea substitutes for curry
I should say that lentils are one of my favorite chickpea substitutes for curries.
But we can also add lentils to salads, soups or eat them with meat. They’re pretty much as versatile as garbanzo beans.
Plus, we can use green lentils to make falafel and preserve that beautiful green color.
Of course, we can also make falafel with fava beans, the authentic falafel recipe is made with chickpeas or fava beans or a combination of both.
4. Green peas
If you want to make a main course that calls for chickpeas but you don’t have any, you can absolutely use green peas.
Everyone loves peas.
Plus, they’re easy to cook, pretty affordable and can be found in stores around the world either fresh, canned or frozen. I prefer the frozen ones for my dishes but you can cook with canned peas if you want to speed up things.
If you have a recipe like pea and chickpea soup you can’t use only peas because it would be too bland. I recommend making a pea and green bean soup or a pea and bean soup, choosing whatever bean variety you can find.
A green pea and white bean soup can definitely work as a substitute for a pea and chickpea soup. I gave you this example to show you that we can make different combinations for all kinds of dishes, according to what ingredients we can find more easily.
And, indeed, there is such a thing as a green pea hummus.
5. Pigeon peas
The name might confuse you but pigeon peas are not actually peas but beans.
I absolutely love pigeon peas because they’re one of the most versatile bean varieties. When they’re young and green, they can even be eaten raw.
Otherwise, we can buy dry, frozen or canned pigeon peas. The dry ones need to be soaked, just like we do with all the other bean varieties and chickpeas. Lentils can also be soaked to reduce cooking time.
6. Fava beans: one of the best chickpea substitutes for falafel
Another highly versatile legume is fava beans.
We can eat fava beans raw, which goes well in salads. But we can also cook them in so many recipes. And we can buy dry fava beans to cook with when they’re not in season.
One of the most popular fava beans dishes is foul mudammas, which can be made with fava beans but it can also be made with chickpeas, lentils and many other bean varieties.
Thus, we can pretty much use fava beans and chickpeas interchangeably, no matter what dish we want to make. Especially when it comes to making falafel.
Can we make fava beans hummus? Absolutely. You’ll find plenty of recipes for it online if you want to see how it compares with the authentic hummus recipe.
Some will say that fava beans are one of the most delicious legumes. Others will describe them as being nutty with a slightly sweet flavor. Or with a hint of bitterness and a slight aroma of cheese.
All in all, we can definitely consider fava beans to be one of the best chickpea substitutes.
7. Lima beans
Lima beans are very similar to fava beans both in appearance and taste. The only difference is that we can’t eat lima beans raw.
Other than that, you can use them instead of garbanzo beans.
8. Great Northern beans
Another white bean variety is the Great Northern beans. They’re also medium-sized so smaller than cannellini. Basically, that’s the only difference between the two so they can be used interchangeably.
9. Pinto beans
The flavor of pinto beans is nutty and earthy with a creamy texture. Their taste is quite refreshing and that’s what makes them so popular around the globe.
They can be more creamy and softer than other bigger bean varieties.
10. White kidney beans
White kidney beans are identical to red kidney beans, it’s just that they’re white.
Some people might prefer the white ones because they’re closer to the color of chickpeas.
They’re medium to large and oval. They certainly have a nice shape that makes them ideal for absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients that they’re cooked with.
11. Navy beans
Navy beans are also called pea beans because they’re small, oval-shaped and quick-cooking. Even if they’re quick-cooking, they must still be soaked overnight, just as any other bean varieties and garbanzo beans.
They’re the smallest of various white beans. They were named navy beans because they have been a staple food in the US Navy for over 200 years.
If you don’t like the bigger bean varieties, navy beans can be perfect for you and they can easily become one of the best chickpea substitutes.
They’re perfect for soups and stews and they can be easily pureed if you don’t like to eat them whole.
If you love Japanese cuisine then you have come across edamame. They look similar to lima and fava beans. Just like lima, edamame can’t be eaten raw.
However, edamame is not so easily found around the globe so it’s not exactly an ideal substitute for everyone.
But we can make edamame hummus and a bunch of other salads and recipes so it works quite nicely as a substitute for a variety of dishes with chickpeas.
Soybeans are definitely more famous for the products that are obtained from them and not from the dishes that are made with them.
We all know about soy sauce, soy milk and tofu. Most of us use these three ingredients on a regular basis.
However, I mostly wanted to mention soybeans as one of the best chickpea substitutes for another reason: the soy flour.
If you can’t find gram flour (chickpea flour), you might want to use soy flour. Of course, there are many other gluten-free flours that you can use: brown rice or white rice flour, tapioca flour, etc.
Soybeans have another important purpose: to make vegetable oil.
But we can also use soybeans to make soybeans and rice, soybean and edamame, sundal, curry, masala soybeans.
And we can grow our own soybean sprouts if we don’t like bean sprouts. Chickpea sprouts are also a thing.
If you want to make a dish like roasted chickpeas but you don’t have the chickpeas, then you can use hazelnuts instead.
I wrote that roasted chickpeas are a good vegan prosciutto substitute. But we can also use hazelnuts instead.
Peanuts belong to the same bean and pea family, just as garbanzo beans do.
Roasted peanuts can replace roasted chickpeas. We can also use cashews.
Peanuts also work in stir-fries and in salads.
16. Green beans: versatile chickpea substitute
Green beans are one of my favorite asparagus substitutes because they look a bit similar.
However, green beans can also be used as one of the best chickpea substitutes in many dishes: salads, soups, cooked with meats or fish for a main course, in stews, curries etc.
Greens beans are almost as versatile as chickpeas and I love them.
I also like that we can find frozen green beans of very good quality for very decent prices. They’re easily available for a lot of us, no matter where we live.
What are chickpeas (garbanzo beans)?
Pretty much a lot of us call them chickpeas but they are also known as garbanzo beans, which is a Spanish derived name.
Since we’ve mentioned the name garbanzo means, does that mean that chickpeas are really beans?
Garbanzo beans belong to the Fabaceae family, which is also known as the bean and pea family. All bean and pea varieties belong to this family. Peanuts, too.
However, botanically, garbanzo beans are viewed as neither beans or peas. It’s a legume that is grown from the chickpea plant.
It’s also incredibly delicious and is becoming more and more popular across the world.
More and more people are starting to see that chickpeas can be used to make more than hummus and curries. Even simple recipes with very simple ingredients, simple salads, are absolutely delicious.
Although, hummus, curries and falafel will always remain the best way to make use of garbanzo beans. These are the kind of dishes we should make when we want to introduce someone to eating chickpeas more often.
After all, this legume has been part of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. It’s definitely good for us since the Mediterranean diet is becoming more and more the one people around the globe want to follow for a healthier lifestyle.
Popular chickpea recipes
There are plenty of ways to make use of garbanzo beans in our daily life, there are a lot of recipes to experiment with. We also saw how we can use the best chickpea substitutes for these recipes.
This is an ingredient that pairs really well with chicken, meat, seafood, fish, pasta, rice to make some of the tastiest main courses.
It’s also added to soup and salads to make them more nourishing.
All in all, this is an incredibly versatile legume but we have plenty substitutes to choose from, too.
We can’t talk about chickpeas (garbanzo beans) without mentioning hummus first. This is one of the most popular dishes around the globe and one of the most delicious.
We can definitely use a blender to make hummus easily.
A lot of us were first introduced to garbanzo beans by eating hummus, this is the dish that made us want to try more. Or maybe for you it was a curry, that’s also totally possible.
In order to make an authentic hummus we need: cooked peeled chickpeas, garlic cloves, pure tahini, salt, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil.
Pure tahini is a sesame seed paste. You can buy it or you can make it at home if you can’t find it in the stores near you.
Can we really use a chickpea substitute to make hummus? Especially since in Arabic hummus means chickpeas.
We can. If you want one of the best chickpea substitutes for hummus, I recommend using cannellini beans. The color of the cannellini hummus will be pretty similar, too.
However, if you want a different effect, you can even use black beans. Or any other bean variety, including pigeon peas. Or make it from green peas.
We can also switch gears completely and use vegetables or fruits instead of legumes.
There are even recipes for beet and ricotta hummus. People are certainly inventive.
Another dish for which chickpeas are famous is falafel.
An authentic falafel is made either with chickpeas or fava beans. Sometimes both.
However, we can also make falafel with green lentils. That will also give us that green color for which falafel is famous.
We can take it even further and male falafel using cannellini, black beans, kidney beans or other bean varieties.
We can also make pigeon pea falafel, you’ll find plenty of recipes online.
Thus, falafel is another recipe that demonstrates that chickpeas and many other legumes from the same family can be used interchangeably.
Chickpea curries are something I crave at any hour of the day.
Still, we can pretty much use a lot of the best chickpea substitutes that I recommended above to make curries. Lentils are certainly a favorite.
But we can also use green beans and sweet potatoes or potatoes for delicious vegetable curries.
Dried vs canned chickpeas
Just like it’s the case with many other beans, we can buy dried or canned garbanzo beans. You can use either for every recipe that you come across.
However, getting dried garbanzo beans will get you a lower price and a bigger quantity. And some people consider that the dried ones are tastier and have a better texture than the canned ones.
If you’re getting the dried ones, you need to soak them overnight for easier cooking. The following day you should boil them for 1.5 hours or for 2 hours, depending on the texture you want them to have. If you’re used to cooking with dried beans, you’ll adapt quickly.
You can also cook larger quantities of dried garbanzo beans and then store them in the freezer. That’s an easy method if you want to have readily available chickpeas in the house but you don’t like buying canned chickpeas.
Canned chickpeas are definitely amazing to have in the pantry for quick means. They’re convenient because all you have to do is open the can and you can add the garbanzo beans to the rest of your ingredients.
In the end, the idea is that we can get dry or canned garbanzo beans or we can use any of the best chickpea substitutes that I recommended in this article.