11+ top best bean substitute for chili for delicious cooking

One of the most typical questions I get asked is what are some good substitutes for beans in chili. While beans are a common ingredient in chili, there are many reasons why someone might want to substitute them.

Maybe you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or you’re looking for a vegan-friendly option. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of delicious substitutes out there.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Best bean substitute for chili in details

1. Ground meat- Beef or Pork

Beans are a common ingredient in chili, but they’re not the only option. If you’re looking for a heartier chili or one with a different flavor profile, ground beef or pork can be a great substitution.

Both of these meats provide a rich source of protein and fat, which help to give chili its signature thick, hearty texture. And because they’re both relatively neutral in flavor, they’ll let the other ingredients in your chili shine through.

Ultimately, it’s up to you what kind of meat you use in your chili. So if you’re looking for a change of pace, give ground beef or pork a try.

It’s your new favorite way to make chili.

2. Tofu or tempeh meat-free alternative for bean substitute for chili

When it comes to chili, there’re endless debates over what ingredients are essential and which can be left out. However, most cooks can agree that beans are one of the key components of this hearty dish.

For vegetarians and those looking for a meat-free meal, tofu and tempeh are great substitutes for beans. Both tofu and tempeh are produced from soybeans, so they have a similar texture and flavor.

Tofu is typically sold in blocks, while tempeh is usually found in the shredded or crumbled form. When adding either of these ingredients to chili, be sure to add extra spices to balance out the bland taste.

With a little creativity, tofu and tempeh can make a delicious and satisfying chili that will please even the most ardent meat-eaters.

3. Mushrooms

While some mushrooms can make chili more flavorful, others can actually help to thicken the dish and provide a similar texture to beans.

For example, oyster mushrooms have a slightly chewy texture that is similar to beans, making them a good choice for vegetarian chili. Additionally, their mild flavor won’t overpower the other ingredients in the dish.

Another good option is portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms are large and have a meaty texture that can help to add substance to chili.

Additionally, their rich flavor pairs well with the spices in chili. If you are looking for a more traditional bean-like flavor, then shiitake mushrooms may be your best bet.

These mushrooms have a deep, earthy flavor that can help to boost the overall taste of chili. When selecting mushrooms for chili, be sure to choose those that are fresh and have a firm texture.

Otherwise, they may become mushy and lose their flavor when cooked.

4. Gluten-free grains

Gluten-free grains are another best substitution for beans in chili. Quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat are all excellent sources of protein and fiber, making them heart-healthy choices for chili.

They also add a nutty flavor and chewy texture to the dish that beans simply cannot provide.

When cooked properly, these grains will absorb the flavors of the chili and help to thicken the sauce. As an added bonus, they are also much more budget-friendly than beans.

So if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to stretch your chili recipe, gluten-free grains are the way to go.

5. Farro

There are a lot of different ingredients that can be used in chili, but one of the most important components is the beans.

Beans provide a lot of the texture and body of the dish, and they also help to absorb all the delicious flavors of the other ingredients.

However, beans are not for everyone. Some people find them difficult to digest, and others simply don’t like the taste or texture.

farro is a bean substitute for chili

If you’re looking for a bean-free chili recipe, farro is an excellent substitution. Farro is a kind of wheat that has a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It absorbs flavors well and provides a similar level of heartiness as beans.

Just cook the farro in water or broth until it’s tender, then add it to your chili recipe in place of the beans. You’ll never miss the beans!

6. Vegetables

If you’re looking for a completely bean-free option, you can always add extra vegetables to your chili. This is a great method to sneak in some extra nutrients without changing the flavor or texture too much.

I like to add extra carrots, celery, and onions to my chili when I’m looking for a vegetable-heavy option. You can also add sweet potatoes, zucchini, or pretty much any other vegetable you like.

7. Lentils

If you’re looking for a substitute for beans in chili, lentils are a great option. They cook quickly and absorb flavors well, so they’ll fit right in with the rest of your ingredients.

Lentils also provide a similar texture to beans, so your chili will still have that hearty, satisfying texture that you’re looking for. Lentils are rich in fiber and protein, and they absorb flavor well, making them a perfect choice for a hearty chili.

If you’re looking to cut down on your sodium intake, Lentils are also a good option since they are lower in sodium than most beans. 

When substituting Lentils for beans in chili, be sure to use one cup of Lentils for every three cups of beans called for in the recipe.

This will ensure that your chili has the same consistency and flavor as it would if made with beans. With a little creativity, you can easily adapt your favorite chili recipe to include this healthy and delicious ingredient.

Additionally, cook the lentils according to the package directions and add them to your chili when they’re done.

So next time you’re in the mood for chili but don’t have any beans on hand, give lentils a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Most chili recipes call for beans as a key ingredient, but Lentils make an excellent substitution.

8. Edamame

Edamame is another best substitution for beans in chili. The texture is firmer, and they hold up well to cooking.

They also have a milder flavor that won’t overwhelm the other ingredients in your chili. If you’re looking for a healthier option, edamame is a good choice since it’s lower in fat and calories than most beans.

edamame  is a bean alternative for chili

Plus, it’s a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. So if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious way to bulk up your chili, edamame is the way to go.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Chili is a hearty dish that typically includes beans as a key ingredient. However, there are many other options that can be used in place of beans, including sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are a suitable source of vitamins and minerals, and they also add a unique sweetness to chili.

When combined with other flavors, such as tomatoes, onions, and spices, sweet potatoes can make for a delicious and satisfying chili. If you’re looking for a new way to make chili, consider substituting sweet potatoes for beans.

You might be amazed at how much you like it!

10. Texturized Vegetable Protein

As any experienced cook knows, beans are a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be utilized in various recipes. Regardless, they are not always the best option for every dish.

For example, when making chili, many people prefer to use texturized vegetable protein as a substitute for beans.

Texturized vegetable protein has a similar texture to beans, but it is made from soybeans, which means it is higher in protein and lowers in carbohydrates.

In addition, texturized vegetable protein is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. As a result, it is an ideal alternative for those who are looking for a healthier option.

11. Peas

Peas are another great substitution for beans in chili. Peas add sweetness and creaminess to the chili that can’t be beaten.

They also provide a boost of protein and fiber, which makes them a perfect choice for a hearty chili.

Peas can be found in most grocery stores, so there’s no need to search high and low for them. Just add them to your chili and enjoy!

12. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a great substitution for beans in chili. When cooked, cauliflower has a similar texture to beans and can absorb the flavors of the spices in the chili.

Cauliflower is also a good source of fiber and nutrients, making it a healthy option for those looking to reduce their intake of beans.

To use cauliflower in chili, simply cook the cauliflower until it is soft and then add it to the chili pot along with the other ingredients. Cauliflower can also be used as a topping for chili, adding both flavor and nutrition.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your bean intake or just want to try something new, cauliflower is a great option for your next batch of chili.

What is a good substitute for kidney beans in chili?

If you’re looking for a substitute for kidney beans in chili, there are a few options to choose from. One option is to use black beans instead of kidney beans.

Black beans have a similar texture and flavor to kidney beans, so they make a good replacement for chili. Another option is to use cannellini beans instead of kidney beans.

Cannellini beans are a type of white bean that has a slightly nutty flavor. They also make a good substitute for kidney beans in chili.

Finally, you could also use pinto beans as a substitute for kidney beans. Pinto beans have a similar taste and texture to kidney beans, making them a good choice for chili.

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