6 Best Substitute For Mung Beans

Mung Beans Substitute

Mung beans are a type of small, green legume that is a major component of Asian cooking, particularly in Indian, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisines. Known for their sweet, nutty flavor, and dense nutritional profile, mung beans serve as a versatile ingredient in various dishes, from sweet desserts to savory soups and stir-fries. However, it is not always possible to have mung beans at hand, or perhaps you need to cater to dietary restrictions or preferences. This is where the need for mung bean substitutes arises. Identifying the appropriate substitute can preserve the essence of your dishes without altering their original flavor profile and nutritional value significantly. This article aims to delve into the best alternatives to mung beans and discuss their use cases, characteristics, and nutritional information.

What is Mung Beans Substitute?

A mung bean substitute is an ingredient that can mimic the culinary characteristics of mung beans in terms of taste, texture, nutritional profile, and cooking behavior. Such substitutes are vital when mung beans are unavailable, unaffordable, or unsuitable due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences. The ideal mung bean substitute should provide a similar taste and texture to mung beans, match their cooking time, and deliver comparable nutritional benefits.

Best Substitute for Mung Beans


Lentils are an excellent substitute for mung beans. They share a similar shape and size with mung beans, and their flavors are quite alike, with both having a subtle earthy taste. Lentils also offer a comparable texture, especially when cooked, making them a suitable replacement in recipes like soups, stews, or curries.

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The two most common types of lentils you might consider are green lentils and red lentils. Green lentils have a slightly peppery flavor and hold their shape well during cooking, making them perfect for salads or side dishes. On the other hand, red lentils, known for their sweeter taste and soft texture, are ideal for thickening soups or making dals.

While substituting lentils for mung beans, be mindful of the cooking times. Lentils typically cook faster than mung beans and may require less water. Therefore, adjust your cooking times and liquids accordingly.


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, can be another viable substitute for mung beans. Like mung beans, they are rich in protein and fiber, offering similar nutritional benefits. Their taste is nutty and creamy, which can complement a variety of dishes, just like mung beans.

There are two main types of chickpeas – the larger, lighter-colored Kabuli chickpeas, and the smaller, darker Desi chickpeas. While Kabuli chickpeas have a smoother texture and milder flavor, Desi chickpeas are more robust in flavor and have a firmer texture. Both types can be used interchangeably, depending on your recipe’s requirements.

When substituting chickpeas for mung beans, remember that chickpeas take a longer time to cook and might require soaking before cooking. Hence, it’s crucial to plan your cooking schedule accordingly.

Green Peas

Green peas are another excellent alternative to mung beans. They have a sweet and slightly earthy flavor that is comparable to mung beans. Plus, their bright color and shape can give a similar visual appeal to your dishes.

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Fresh, frozen, or dried green peas can be used as a mung bean substitute. They can be easily incorporated into soups, salads, or stir-fry dishes. However, green peas have a slightly softer texture compared to mung beans. Hence, if you’re substituting green peas in a recipe that requires whole mung beans, you might not get the same bite or crunch.

Furthermore, green peas cook relatively quickly, so be sure to adjust your cooking times to prevent them from becoming mushy.

Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans, a staple in East Asian cuisine, are a fitting mung bean substitute. They have a sweet, nutty flavor that is similar to mung beans, and their small size and red color can add visual interest to your dishes.

Adzuki beans are often used in sweet preparations, like red bean paste, making them an excellent substitute in recipes that call for sweetened mung beans. But they can also work in savory dishes.

Remember that adzuki beans need to be soaked before cooking and generally have a longer cooking time than mung beans. Therefore, you need to factor these aspects into your preparation.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas, with their distinctive flavor and creamy texture, are a suitable mung bean substitute, especially in soups and stews. They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor, and their texture can provide a similar mouthfeel to mung beans.

Black-eyed peas do not require pre-soaking, which gives them an advantage over many other legumes. They also cook fairly quickly, so you may need to adjust your cooking times accordingly.

When substituting black-eyed peas for mung beans, bear in mind that their color and size are different. So, the visual outcome of your dish will be different.

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Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas, known for their strong, nutty flavor and firm texture, are another viable mung bean substitute. They are commonly used in Indian and Caribbean cuisines and can replace mung beans in dishes like dals, curries, and rice dishes.

One key consideration when using pigeon peas as a substitute is their longer cooking time. Therefore, it’s advisable to soak them beforehand to speed up the cooking process.

Substitutes for Mung Beans: Nutritional Profile

SubstituteGlutenCaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Lentils (¼ cup)01700.5291612
Chickpeas (¼ cup)0200333911
Green Peas (¼ cup)0620.21144
Adzuki Beans (¼ cup)01470.22878.5
Black-Eyed Peas (¼ cup)01600.533810
Pigeon Peas (¼ cup)01700.629910

Note: Nutritional values might vary slightly based on the cooking method and brand. Always check the product label for the most accurate information.


Choosing a substitute for mung beans need not be a daunting task. The key is understanding the flavor and texture of mung beans and finding a substitute that can provide a similar culinary experience. Lentils, chickpeas, green peas, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, and pigeon peas all come close and can seamlessly fit into various recipes. With these alternatives at hand, you can continue to create delightful dishes, even without mung beans. So, whether you’re in the middle of a cooking crisis, catering to dietary needs, or experimenting with new flavors, remember that culinary flexibility is the spice of life. Happy cooking!

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