Cannellini beans are one of the most nutritious ingredients that are used in countless dishes. They’re an excellent source of protein, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals, making them a versatile option for many recipes.
But if you don’t have cannellini beans on hand or just want to try out different flavors, there are a few excellent alternatives you can try instead that provide the same nutrition and flavor as cannellini beans. Try your hand at some of the cannellini bean substitutes we’ve listed below to create your favorite dishes!
1. Navy Beans
Navy beans work well as a substitute for cannellini beans. They offer an equivalent nutritional value as they are abundant in fiber and protein. Navy beans are also rich in a range of vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent choice to substitute cannellini in your recipes.
You can add navy beans to a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews, salads, sides, and even desserts. Feel free to get creative with how you cook navy beans since they are incredibly versatile. We recommend adding navy beans to your favorite chili recipe for a fantastic boost of flavor, texture, and nutrition!
2. Great Northern Beans
Great northern beans look quite similar to cannellini beans, although they have a grainier texture. They also offer many nutritional benefits, which include their low fat and cholesterol content and high potassium and dietary fiber levels. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties and are a great source of iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Great northern beans form a great base for a variety of dishes due to their mild flavor. Use them in approximately the same serving size when substituting for cannellini beans. You may also need to make minor adjustments to the flavorings you use, as great northern beans lack the creaminess of cannellini.
3. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, often known as chickpeas, have been used in cooking and baking in a wide variety of cuisines. When it comes to nutrition, garbanzo beans fulfill a similar role as cannellini beans and provide an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein. They are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
When using chickpeas as a substitute for cannellini beans, you’ll be glad to know that they lend themselves to many dishes that traditionally call for cannellini. You can add them to soups and stews in place of other legumes, such as white navy beans. They also work beautifully in salads and pasta dishes. Make sure that you soak garbanzo beans in water overnight and thoroughly rinse them as they take much longer to cook.
4. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are a wonderful substitute for cannellini beans in many recipes as they have identical nutritional value as well as texture. When substituting, use the same quantity of kidney beans as you would cannellini beans, but adjust the cooking times as necessary.
Generally, kidney beans will require about two to two and a half times longer to cook than cannellini beans due to their tougher texture. If you’re adding them to a dish that contains other ingredients, such as rice or vegetables that will be cooking at the same time, make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure everything cooks evenly.
5. Baby Lima Beans
In terms of nutrition, baby lima beans are nearly as calorie-dense as cannellini beans but include more dietary fiber and essential minerals and vitamins, including thiamin and folate. Compared to larger lima beans, baby lima beans have a milder flavor that is slightly sweet.
In terms of applications, baby lima beans may be used in many of the same ways as cannellini beans. They are most typically used in soups and stews, where they add a lovely green tint and texture. They may also be puréed with olive oil and lemon juice to produce a tasty dip or spread.
6. Black-Eyed Peas
Nutritionally, black-eyed peas and cannellini beans are quite similar, as they both provide significant amounts of dietary fiber and plant-based protein. Black-eyed peas also offer some additional vitamins such as folate, thiamin, and iron.
Black-eyed peas are very versatile and can be used in many dishes in place of cannellini beans. You can use them to make soups, stews, and chili, or puree them into hummus or dips and even add them to salads or side dishes. When substituting these two types of beans, bear in mind that black-eyed peas require less time to cook than cannellini beans — usually no more than 30 minutes. You should also reduce the amount of water you cook them in order to avoid making the dish too watery.
Lentils are considered one of the healthiest ingredients in a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are high in fiber, protein, folate, and iron and are incredibly versatile, making them a great substitute for cannellini beans.
Lentils are also quite adaptable to different cooking methods. You can cook, sauté, or even mash them for a different texture. They may be prepared as a side dish or added to stews, salads, and even sandwiches. To prevent them from becoming too mushy when cooking, add them at the end and cook until al dente — firm but still tender.
8. Lima Beans
Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are dense in essential minerals and proteins and have a somewhat nutty flavor. They may be used in place of cannellini beans in many recipes. And since lima beans are bigger and starchier than baby lima beans. They are better suited for dishes with thick sauces.
Lima beans are versatile and can be used in many traditional dishes. They can be mashed into a spread, similar to refried beans, or added to soups, stews, casseroles, or salads. They also cook faster than cannellini beans, so be sure to check halfway through the cooking time to avoid overcooking them. It is also important to adjust the liquid used in the recipe to ensure the dish has enough moisture.