Top 11 Healthy Kidney Bean Substitutes

Kidney Bean Substitutes

Kidney beans are a very popular Mexican and Central American red bean that offers a variety of flavors. They are primarily used in broths, salads, sauces, and for garnish.

Aside from their unique shape, kidney beans have various nutritional values and are enriched with protein. That is why many people replace meat with kidney beans to get that meaty flavor and protein requirement.

However, exploring more variety of food is always a good idea. Knowing the substitutes for kidney beans is always ideal if you cannot find them. So, we have a list of 11 healthy substitutes for kidney beans for you.

The Substitutes for Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are delicious, so we carefully picked the top substitutes. We tried to keep in mind the health values and the flavor profile of the alternative beans compared to kidney beans. So, let’s jump in!

1. Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans have a sweet, mild, and subtly nutty flavor, making them quite famous in Asia. They taste fantastic in stews, soups, nachos, and taco bowls. Moreover, they aren’t so different from kidney beans because they have a similar soaking time (4 hours) to those of kidney beans.

2. Anasazi Beans

Anasazi beans are a popular choice in Mexican and Latin dishes. They have off-white and reddish-brown colors and become pink when cooked. These beans offer high-fiber value and have a meaty taste, making them an excellent substitute for kidney beans. Moreover, you will love the sweet flavor of the bean with your soup, chili sauce, enchiladas, soup, rice, etc.

3. Black Beans

closeup view of black beans in the kitchen

Black beans provide a similar texture and earthy flavor to kidney beans. However, they look different but enhance the flavors of Latin and Mexican cuisines like coconut rice, chicken chili, tacos, soups, and burgers.

4. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, or white beans, originated from Italy and have a refined nutty taste. They look almost identical to kidney beans except for the white color and a more oval shape. Many ask us to choose between white kidney beans vs. cannellini beans, but there’s nothing to choose from as these are the same beans. Moreover, they are an excellent substitute for kidney beans in soups, pasta, salads, and bruschettas.

5. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are delicious due to their creamy texture and earthy flavor. They carry all the flavors of kidney beans and work amazingly cooked or mashed. You can read this article to know how long cooked beans last. It’s up to you to decide between kidney and pinto beans because they taste delicious in chilies.

6. Navy Beans

Navy beans or pea beans have a smooth and creamy consistency and help decrease cholesterol. That is why, in the mid-18th century, navy beans were a staple nutrient for U.S. Navy. These beans blend excellently with sauces for spaghetti, soups, salads, and stews. But make sure to soak them for at least 3 hours and cook for thirty minutes to remove any unwanted elements.

7. Borlotti/Cranberry Beans

Cranberry or Borlotti beans are common in Italy to enhance the pasta and soup flavors. You can add these beans to your dishes to get a meaty, nutty, and sweet taste, along with its creamy consistency that is truly a delight.

8. Mung Beans

closeup view of mung beans in a pot

Mung beans are versatile and work great with anything sweet or savory. These beans have a slightly sweet and nutty taste that enhances the flavors of soups, salads, curries, and stews. The best part is that mung beans are very healthy and can prevent heart and cancerous diseases.

9. Pink Beans

Santa Maria Pinquitos or Pink beans are a good alternative to red kidney beans because of their rich meaty flavor. But they have a slightly powder-like consistency, which is covered up when mixed in soup, stews, chilies, etc. Moreover, these have a similar soak time to red kidney beans, which is 4 to 6 hours.

10. Lima Beans

Lima beans, but many know them as butter beans, have a buttery texture with mild sweetness. Although they may not match the taste of kidney beans, their buttery flavor is delicious in stews, soups, and meat dishes. Moreover, these beans help to keep your heart healthy.

11. Lentils

Lentils aren’t technically beans, but they come from the same family as kidney beans, so we had to include them. Lentils provide various flavor options and can be used in curries, soups, salads, or other dishes to replace kidney beans.

Moreover, lentils don’t need soaking because they get soft easily. Still, you can always use some olive oil to enhance the flavor. Apart from the taste, these legumes are good for digestion, help prevent constipation, decrease blood pressure, and prevent harmful impacts of salt intake. However, lentils should be your last resort for kidney bean substitutes, as each variety has its flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Replace Kidney Beans?

You can try substitutes for kidney beans if you have a shortage of kidney beans, want to experiment with something new, or want to avoid any dietary problems.

What Is the Best Substitute for Kidney Beans in Soups?

The best substitutes for kidney beans are Anasazi beans, Borlotti beans, Pink beans, or black beans if you are trying to find a soup replacement.


Kidney beans have a yummy flavor profile that may be hard to find, but our suggested substitutes will fulfill your request. Even if you don’t want to replace kidney beans because of their nutritional value, you can at least try the other options because they are also packed with nutrients and great flavors.

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