If burritos and stews comprise a significant part of your diet, pinto beans must always have a special place in your pantry. their nutty and earthy taste, with high fiber and protein, makes them desirable options daily as well as the special ones.
But what if your pinto beans run out at the very last moment while your stew is simmering? In such cases, you can substitute them with options like Adzuki beans, black beans, chickpeas, etc. Apart from that, there are several other options, and they are listed in the following article.
We suggest going through the following article as, along with the substitutes, we have also explained the health benefits of pinto beans and much more!
What Are Pinto Beans?
Pinto beans are widely famous in many regions of the United States. There are different types of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), a staple in Mexican cooking.
Generally, dry pinto beans have a beige body with reddish and brown dots. When you cook them, the color will fade and become pale pink.
When you have a spoonful of pinto beans, you can feel a creamy, nutty flavor that is sometimes described as “earthy.” They’re usually consumed whole or mashed, and you can easily make dishes out of them at home.
These tiny pods are high in vitamins and minerals, and they may also have several health benefits.
Dishes that can be made from pinto beans
There is a wide range of dishes that can be made from pinto beans. But they are highly famous for preparing vegan burgers, refried beans, vegetarian beans, rice burritos, instant pot-baked beans, and Mexican bean salad.
Why Add Pinto Beans To Your Diet?
1. Loaded with Fibers:
You must have pinto beans because they are rich in fibers.
In general, the average American doesn’t receive recommended 25 to 38 grams each day. So, adding this to your diet can make you feel healthy because fibers are good for your gut health.
And it also keeps you charged for long as they slowly move through your digestive tract. Moreover, it makes your poop bulky and prevents constipation.
2. Enriched with Proteins:
One cup of beans includes 15 grams of protein. This is equivalent to two-to-three times the amount of rice or wheat consumed.
And amino acids present in protein will help to repair muscles and bones, as well as make hormones and enzymes.
3. Boosts Your Heart Health:
When you add greens and pinto beans to your diet, you are kicking off bad cholesterol from your body. This makes your heart a healthy organ.
4. Good for Diabetes:
Beans are healthy food for diabetic people. It helps to reduce high blood sugar, which is the leading cause and symptom of this disease.
5. Loaded with Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, and Potassium:
Adding iron to your diet will never lead to anemia. Thus, adding pinto beans to your meal is always the best solution. Zinc in beans will boost your immune system and metabolism.
Potassium helps moderate blood pressure and maintains the kidneys, muscles, and bones, whereas magnesium gives you energy and keeps your neurological system healthy.
Some Excellent Pinto Bean Substitutes
1. Adzuki Beans
If you have adzuki beans at home, you can easily replace them with pinto beans. Although pinto beans are buttery in taste, adzuki beans are sweet. You can still use them in tacos, stews, and other dishes.
Adzuki beans are fortified with fibers, proteins, and manganese. If you add these beans to your dishes like grain bowls or curries, you assist in weight loss, healthy digestion, and a healthy heart.
These beans are typically found in Asia and are called red beans or red mung beans because of their red wine color. Simultaneously, it is also available in black and pale yellow.
Before you plan to add these beans to your cuisine, pre-soak them in water for about 2-3 hours. You can boil them and have them raw in salads and dips or sundry them, make flour, and use it.
2. Anasazi Beans
Anasazi beans also belong to the same family as pinto beans, and you can replace them with pinto beans while preparing your dish. They have a beautiful burgundy color body and carry cream-color speckles.
The majority of Latin American and Southwestern dishes are made from these beans. It has a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy taste, and the texture of this bean may give you the feeling of eating meat. Thus, you can use these beans for baking.
The plus point of using these beans is that they can be made more quickly than other beans, and they have less than 75% gastric carbs compared to pinto beans.
So, if you have a gastric issue and want beans in your dinner, you can flawlessly opt for Anasazi beans.
3. Black Beans
Did you know these beans were a North American diet staple food for over 7000 years?
These beans are soft. They have a delicately sweet and creamy taste, and that is why they can be used as a complement in a lot of cuisines.
These beans have a lot of health benefits and less fat and sugar. Before you replace them with pinto beans, you must know that the color pigments of these beans can spread and change the color of your dish.
However, it tastes similar to pinto beans, so you can blend them into your burritos, tacos, and rice dishes.
4. Borlotti Beans
You may confuse Borlotti beans with pinto beans because I also get confused when grocery shopping most of the time. However, consider that Borlotti beans are white and red, and pinto beans are white and beige.
Pinto beans can be substituted for them. It has a similar mild taste and is well-known in Italy, Portugal, and Greece, among other places.
Cranberry beans or roman beans are common names for these legumes.
Just like pinto beans, you are also supposed to soak roman beans before adding them to your dish.
The best part of these cranberry beans is even if you heat them and cook them longer, they still hold their beans shape.
5. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans look way more different than pinto beans. They have a whole white body and squarish ends. However, you can still exchange them for pinto beans in dishes like pasta and burritos.
It has a light nutty flavor, mild flavor like pinto beans, and a hard body. Therefore, you must pre-soak them 5 hours before you plan to add them to your dish.
They carry a smooth texture, and because of that feature, you can make hummus, puree, and quick dips out of them.
Other than that, these beans will offer your glowing skin as their antioxidants will fight against sun damage.
The next option to replace pinto beans is chickpeas. There are two kinds of chickpeas. One is widely used in the United States, which is Kabuli-type; these are large and light in color. The other is a small desi type that is widely used in India and the Middle East.
Generally, chickpeas are widely grown in India. However, more than 50 countries are in this growing chickpea business today.
It is the main ingredient of hummus, and it is also used a lot in falafel. You can use chickpeas in place of pinto beans in soups and salads. They are rich in protein, manganese, fiber, and vitamin B.
When adding chickpeas to your dish, your palate can sense beanie flavor, some earthy notes, and a nutty flavor.
If you want to fill some protein and calories in your diet, then cowpeas are the best replacement for pinto beans. They carry a sweet and creamy texture and are widely used in southern dishes.
If you’re going to make smoked pork, make some cowpeas with all the onions, garlic, butter, and dried herbs from your garden. I assure you, you will absolutely fall in love with the dish.
Well, do you know these beans are widely known by many names, like southern peas, crowder pea, lubia, and blackeye pea? Plus, it is typically a grain crop, also used as fodder for animals.
These beans originally evolved in Africa. And it is majorly produced in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Southern United States.
Just like pinto beans, you also have to soak them before adding them to your cuisine. And, if you find it hard to get them, then you can try our next substitute.
8. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are common beans belonging to the same family tree as pinto beans, black beans, and navy beans.
They come in two colors: one is light red, and the other is dark red. The lighter ones are a little more tender in texture. You can exchange them with pinto beans while preparing any dish.
Recently, kidney beans have become a significant part of South and Central American and Caribbean dishes.
People generally use this in their dishes to cover the major source of their protein needs.
Note: If you don’t cook kidney beans properly, they can be toxic because their raw form carries phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). However, a well-cooked kidney bean is completely healthy.
These beans are a little sweet and give a meaty texture. You can use them as a filling, mash them and use them as a dip, or add them to your chicken curry.
The majority of people get confused between kidney beans and adzuki beans. But, here is a tip for you. Kidney beans are typical, flatter, and twice the size of Adzuki beans.
Lentils are also a high-fiber food. These are rich in carbs and protein. Thus, you can add them in place of pinto beans. You will find a wide range of lentils, and unlike other legumes, these do not require pre-soaking.
You can add them to your soups, stews, and sauces. If you pick brown lentils, they will give you earthy notes on your taste palate, whereas red lentils have a nutty and sweet flavor. It is ideal for cooking dal (an Indian traditional food).
Moreover, adding lentils to your diet keeps your heart healthy and prevents hypertension. It protects against diabetes and colon cancer as well.
10. Lima Beans
Lima beans are so buttery that they are also recognized as buttery beans or waxed beans. If you want an exotic and colorful replacement in place of pinto beans, then you should surely go for lima beans.
These beans are generally used for garnishes and siders, but that doesn’t mean they do not carry important nutrients.
You can use these beans for your weight-loss mission. These are extremely healthy, power-packed with protein, fiber, iron, carbs, and fiber, and are superfoods. It controls blood sugar and helps to make your heart healthy.
Lima beans can be consumed at any stage of development. They come in a variety of packages, including dry, frozen, and tinned boxes.
11. Pigeon Peas
The next alternative to pinto beans is pigeon peas. This circular off-white pod looks similar to a pea. They carry a delicious nutty flavor, and they are widely grown in warm regions like the southern U.S., the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East.
They are harvested when the pod is green or left to mature into a dried bean with a brown pod, then processed for convenience of use and storage.
Like pinto beans, these beans are also high in protein content, vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals.
If you have a problem like high blood pressure, you can control it by including pigeon peas in your diet.
You may find these beans in whole peas form or split peas form. Both these forms require pre-soaking, just like pinto beans. However, whole peas will need more time to soak than split peas.
If you don’t like pinto beans, then you can surely try soybeans. These beans were generally produced in eastern Asia and are an important part of their diet. Today you will find these beans grown in Asia and South and North America.
You can consume them whole. However, these beans are widely used in processed forms like tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, oil, and soy flour in the western world.
It is a healthy choice and the best food option for vegans and vegetarians. Adding these beans to your daily life can prevent osteoporosis and cancer.
You will need only 3 hours of pre-soaking if you are using soybeans, which means utilizing them will drastically shorten the time it takes to cook.
13. Navy Beans
Try another kind of white beans in place of pinto beans. This time add navy beans. They are absolutely healthy, and the staple diet of most vegetarians and vegans and are good for your gut health, heart, brain, muscle growth, and repair.
They are loaded with carbs, fibers, protein, and all the essential nutrients your body seeks for. These beans are usually tiny and dried, and they are ideal for making soups, salads, baked beans, and ham hocks.
They have a soft velvety texture, and when you take a bite of them, you will notice a nutty taste.
The interesting part about these beans is that they were a staple food of the U.S navy in the 1900s.
14. Great Northern Beans
Great Northern beans are a kind of white bean. They are famous in Northern America, and you can swap them with pinto beans in soups, baked beans, bean salads, and stews.
They have many similarities to other white beans, such as cannellini and navy beans.
Great Northern beans are small and have a uniform cream color. Just like their snowy looks, these are grown in cold regions.
They have a mild taste and a smooth texture that will surely melt in your mouth. Because of their unique taste feature, a lot of people use them in both sweet and savory cuisine.
If you add them to your recipe, they will nourish your body with iron, magnesium, and folate. These are low in calories and have fewer natural sugars, which makes them ideal for people with diabetes.
15. Black Turtle Beans
You can also swap pinto beans with black turtle beans.
Well, you might be confused because, in this list, we have already mentioned black beans, and now you must be thinking, isn’t both the same?
So, the answer is no. Both are unique and have different textures, sizes, and flavors.
Black turtle beans are black with a white dot and have shiny skin. They have a mild, sweet, and salty taste. You can use them while preparing soups, stews, burritos, and other tasty savory dishes.
Cooking time will be extended when using black turtle beans as a substitute for pinto beans. You will, however, be rewarded for your efforts by their wonderful flavor.
16. Urad Beans
Urad beans are legume-related nuts that are typically black in appearance and are relatively tiny. You can substitute urad beans for pinto beans.
These beans are classic, and they’re used to make idlis, dosas, and dals (Indian dishes). They’re popular in Indian and South Asian cooking. They have a moderate flavor and can be used in a variety of cuisines.
Eating urad beans will boost your heart health. Furthermore, this bean is effective in preventing cancer, diabetes, and blood sugar-related disorders. Soak the beans for 6 to 8 hours to speed up the cooking process.
How to Store Pinto Beans?
If you want to avoid using any substitutes at the last minute, you can buy pinto beans and store them for later use.
You can use any of the following ways to store pinto beans:
- As far as the original packaging is not tampered with, you can store the pinto beans in the kitchen pantry. But keep it in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight.
- If you have opened the package, you can transfer them into an airtight container.
- Vacumm sealing the pinto beans can also help retain the freshness and taste.
- Lastly, placing them in a container along with oxygen absorbers can remove any air or moisture and preserve the pinto beans.
What is the closest thing to pinto beans?
If you are looking for something that can recreate the same texture and taste as that of pinto beans, you can use black beans. If not, you can also try red beans, kidney beans, navy beans, etc.
What can you use instead of pinto beans in chili?
Pinto beans are one of the prerequisites when it comes to preparing chili. However, in the absence of pinto beans, you can also use borlotti and navy beans.
If you’re running low on pinto beans, try substituting red beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, or pigeon beans. All these alternatives are high in fiber, protein, iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Black turtle beans and kidney beans are other good options. However, make sure that kidney beans are completely cooked before eating them because raw kidney beans are hazardous and can cause stomach aches and other health issues.
If you have any other substitute which is not present on the list, do let us know in the comment section below.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.