6 Best Substitute For Navy Beans

Navy Beans Substitute

Navy beans, also known as haricot beans, are a staple in many kitchens worldwide. These small, oval-shaped white beans are cherished for their mild flavor, tender texture, and ability to soak up the flavors of whatever dish they are cooked in. They’re commonly used in traditional dishes like Boston baked beans and Navy bean soup. However, there might be occasions when you run out of navy beans or cannot consume them due to dietary restrictions. This is where navy bean substitutes come in handy.

A good substitute should not only mimic the texture and taste of navy beans but also deliver similar nutritional benefits. In this article, we’ll explore several alternatives to navy beans that you can easily incorporate into your recipes. Whether you’re making a stew, soup, or casserole, these substitutes will help you achieve a similar end result, both in terms of taste and nutritional value.

What is a Navy Beans Substitute?

A navy beans substitute is a type of bean or legume that can be used in place of navy beans in various recipes. This could be due to a lack of navy beans in the kitchen, a dietary restriction, or simply the desire to try something new. The key to a good substitute is its ability to offer a similar texture, flavor profile, and nutrient content to navy beans.

While no substitute can perfectly replicate navy beans, many come remarkably close. It’s important to note that while some substitutes might alter the flavor of your dishes slightly, they might also introduce you to exciting new taste profiles that you might come to enjoy.

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Best Substitute for Navy Beans

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are a popular substitute for navy beans. They are slightly larger but have a similar mild flavor and creamy texture. Their ability to absorb the flavors of the dish they are used in makes them a versatile ingredient for various recipes.

Great Northern beans are commonly used in soups, stews, and casseroles, just like navy beans. They hold their shape well when cooked, which means they won’t become mushy and alter the texture of your dish.

From a nutritional perspective, Great Northern beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and micronutrients like iron and magnesium. This makes them a nutritious substitute for navy beans, contributing to a balanced diet.

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are another excellent alternative to navy beans. They are larger and have a slightly nuttier flavor but maintain a similar creamy texture when cooked.

These beans are a staple in Italian cuisine and are used in a range of dishes, from salads to soups. Their robust nature allows them to maintain their shape during the cooking process, making them ideal for dishes that require a longer cooking time.

Cannellini beans are rich in fiber, protein, and a range of essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, and vitamin K. Incorporating these beans into your diet can help support overall health and wellbeing.


Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, can serve as a viable substitute for navy beans. While they have a firmer texture and a unique, slightly nutty flavor, they offer versatility in various dishes.

Chickpeas are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, featuring in dishes like hummus and chana masala. They are an excellent addition to salads, soups, and stews, adding a hearty element to the meal.

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From a nutritional standpoint, chickpeas are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like iron, phosphorus, and B-vitamins.

Lima Beans

Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are a good alternative to navy beans due to their creamy texture and sweet flavor. They are larger in size and have a flat, oval shape.

These beans are common in Southern cuisine, used in dishes like succotash. They can be used in stews, soups, and salads, or even mashed to make a creamy side dish.

Lima beans offer a range of health benefits, being rich in fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. Their high fiber content can aid in digestion and help in maintaining a healthy weight.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are distinctive due to their black ‘eye’ on a cream-colored background. They have a slightly earthy flavor and a firmer texture, which can add a different dimension to dishes that usually use navy beans.

Black-eyed peas are a staple in Southern cuisine, particularly in dishes like Hoppin’ John. They can be used in salads, soups, and stews, offering a hearty component to these meals.

These beans are a good source of protein and fiber, as well as micronutrients like folate and vitamin A. They can contribute to a balanced diet and support overall health.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans, named for their shape and color that resembles a kidney, are another good substitute for navy beans. They have a robust flavor and hold their shape well when cooked, making them suitable for dishes like chili and rice dishes.

Kidney beans are widely used in various cuisines, from Indian rajma to Louisiana red beans and rice. They bring a hearty, satisfying element to any dish they’re included in.

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Nutritionally, kidney beans are a powerhouse. They are a rich source of protein and fiber, and they contain essential nutrients like iron, potassium, and folate. Including them in your diet can help promote good health.

Substitutes for Navy Beans: Nutritional Profile

SubstituteGlutenCalories (per ¼ cup)Fat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Great Northern BeansNo460.
Cannellini BeansNo450.
Lima BeansNo310.15.722.2
Black-Eyed PeasNo450.
Kidney BeansNo550.

These are estimated values and might slightly vary based on cooking methods and specific brands.


Finding substitutes for navy beans doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you’re experimenting with your recipes, adhering to dietary restrictions, or simply ran out of navy beans, alternatives like Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans, Chickpeas, Lima beans, Black-eyed peas, and Kidney beans can save the day. Each substitute brings a unique flavor and nutritional profile to your dish, making it just as delicious and healthy. So go ahead, mix things up a bit and discover the exciting world of bean substitutes. Happy cooking!

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