What’s The Best Chickpea Substitute? (#5 You Just Now Know!)

Chickpeas are NOT peas made of chicks if this is the first time you’ve heard of it!

This is actually a healthy, versatile ingredient many vegans and vegetarians use as a meat replacement.

It’s such a small pea but rich in protein and nutrients we need for good health, cooked with various dishes.

That said, we know we can’t always find chickpeas readily available in our local grocery stores.

So, what can you use as a replacement for chickpeas when your recipe calls for it?

Check out our complete list of chickpeas substitutes you can use to achieve authentic flavor and consistency!


What are Chickpeas?

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Chickpeas are legumes, making them under the same category as peas, peanuts, beans, lupins, and lentils. This ingredient came from the Middle East, where it grew for a few thousand years. (*)

Today, people use chickpeas as a meat replacement because they are a good source of protein. They have 14.4 grams of protein in one cup.

We’re all familiar with beige-colored chickpeas, but there are also other types and colors to cook with. Let’s talk about the two major types of chickpeas:

  • Desi seeds are dark-colored, small, and rough. They are grown in Mexico and Ethiopia.
  • Kabuli is lighter with a larger grain and thinner kernel crust. They are cultivated in North America, Europe, Pakistan, Chile, and Afghanistan.

All types would have a rich and earthy flavor that enhances the dish’s taste.

They also taste slightly grainy and nutty, which gives more of a yummy contrast when you mix them with ingredients.

The 12 Good Substitutes for Chickpeas For Any Recipes

No chickpeas in the grocery store or your kitchen?

No worries, there are a lot of alternatives to choose from, many of which have the same nutrients you can get from them.

Try any of these chickpeas substitutes when your recipe calls for it:

1. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans contain higher amounts of carbs and fiber, but cannellini beans still have the same amount of protein as chickpeas. One cup of cannellini beans contains 15 grams of protein, making it the richest source of protein among all plant-based sources.

Cannellini beans have the similar sweet taste chickpea has and is more suitable in vegetable-based soups.

Learn more: Top 10 Best Cannellini Beans Replacements for Your Recipes

2. Northern Beans

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These beans are larger than navy beans but a bit smaller and with nuttier flavors than cannellini beans.

Northern beans also taste lighter than chickpeas, which is excellent for those who dislike the strong taste.

Because of the nutty flavor, we recommend using northern beans in soups, stews, salads, or ragouts. You will still get to enjoy the host of health benefits northern beans offer, as you would with chickpeas.

Learn more: A Complete List of Northern Beans Alternatives For You!

3. Mung Beans

Mung beans are also famous among vegetarians as they have a high amount of protein, fats, slow carbs, fiber, and B vitamins. Many people incorporate mung beans in their dishes because it is also high in iron.

Mung beans are added best in curries, salads, or soups, tasting crisp and fresh. They have a mildly sweet flavor you can use as a paste in desserts, too.

You can use mung beans as a chickpea alternative in rice dishes and vegetarian soups. Add some more spices to make your dish have more of a unique and original flavor!

4. Lentils

Lentils are commonly part of Asian dishes, particularly in India.

Lentils are some of the oldest food sources and have been around for at least 9,000 years.

Like chickpeas, these are from the legume family with a lenticular shape.

There are different types of lentils depending on the color, such as black, yellow, green lentils, yellow-brown, and red lentils. They taste just like chickpea but with a slightly more pleasant aroma.

What makes lentils a great choice is how they have a lot of protein, like chickpeas. They also contain vitamin B1, fiber, and various minerals to help keep you healthy.

They taste fleshy and can be prepared in various ways, best for salads and soups that call for chickpeas.

5. Kidney Beans

This type of bean comes from Mexico and Central America, with different patterns and colors to choose from. They have a similar fatty taste to the chickpea does, but it isn’t as strong.

Kidney beans are vital in traditional cuisines and must be cooked before eating, as they contain toxins when raw. After cooking it, you can reap the health benefits it offers.

6. Roasted Edamame

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Edamame is a bean native to Japan, with a delicious flavor and lots of nutrients. The edamame plant is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat, which can help the intestines, smoothen the skin, and even prevent certain cancers.

They taste a bit like Vietnamese soybeans and chickpeas, which makes them a good substitute. You can eat these uncooked, boiled, or roasted.

7. Split Peas

You can find split peas in semi-tropical regions, with the seeds soft and sweet. They have a lot of vitamins and minerals, along with nutrients vital for your eye health. While low in fat, split peas contain ‘good’ fats, your body can benefit from.

8. Black Beans

These are also known as turtle beans because of the black and complex shells with a white center. While grown in America, black beans became popular worldwide.

When cooking black beans, they become soft with a smooth texture and sweet flavor. Because of this, they are excellent in soup and salsas.

While black beans are slightly different from chickpeas in terms of their colors, textures, and flavors, you can use them as a chickpea alternative and vice versa. One can use chickpeas in stews and casseroles that call for black beans!

When you use black beans instead of chickpeas, we recommend adjusting the seasonings based on how the black beans taste.

9. Green Peas

Green peas are very popular and easy to find in the grocery stores when you can’t find the chickpea substitutes above.

Green peas are very nutritious and filled with antioxidants, containing most of what we need in a day.

Like chickpeas, green peas are high in potassium and dietary fiber. However, green peas do have slightly different flavors. Green peas have a more neutral taste, while chickpeas have a bean-ier flavor. (*)

You can still use green peas as a chickpea replacement, though, and it’s best used in soup or dishes with meat or fish.

10. Soybeans

Soybeans are from Southeast Asia, also grown in Japan and China. These beans have green skin and then turn ivory yellow as they ripen.

While a suitable substitute for chickpeas note that they don’t have the most outstanding flavor, as they taste more bitter with a rough texture. This is what makes them a significant ingredient in noodles or sauces.

That said, they have slightly similar appearances and flavors, having a yellow-beige color and somewhat nutty taste. One can use soybeans as a chickpea alternative in most dishes, particularly in salads and soups.

Another thing chickpeas and soybeans have in common is their nutritional value. Both contain essential nutrients, isoflavones, and phenolic compounds without any cholesterol.

11. Peanuts

You can eat peanuts directly or use processed peanuts to incorporate into other dishes. There are salted, roasted, or chocolate-coated peanuts, or even peanut butter, which work as a substitute for chickpea, depending on the dish.

Peanuts taste a bit greasy and are very addicting! Since peanuts are high in protein, fiber, and other vitamins, they make an excellent substitute for chickpea. In fact, they contain a bit more vitamin E, phosphorous, and niacin than chickpeas. (*)

Another huge plus is that peanuts might be easier to find in grocery stores. However, peanut allergies are common, so be wary before serving them to others.

12. Hazelnuts

This might sound odd, but you CAN replace chickpeas with hazelnuts. They both have exceptional nutritional benefits and the same appearance.

That said, they have different flavors, so you may want to use hazelnuts more as a last resort or for sweeter-tasting dishes.

Learn more: Top 16 Hazelnut Alternatives You Might Not Know!

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know what chickpeas are and the best substitutes you can use, what more should you learn about?

Here are frequently asked questions about chickpeas, so you get to diversify your cooking skills!

Wrapping It Up

Chickpeas are a unique ingredient, but it’s still possible to find something to replace them with. Whether you don’t like them or have none available in grocery stores, some beans and peas taste and look similar to chickpeas.

We hope you found the optimum substitute for chickpeas from our comprehensive list!

Let us know what you think about any of these alternatives, and share your experiences with others in the comments section below.

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