Navy beans are great for adding a hearty flavor and an unforgettable velvety mouthfeel to a variety of signature recipes. Both dried and canned varieties work pretty well and complement the recipe ingredients wholly. However, what if you are currently running short on navy beans? Can you substitute navy beans in your coming recipe?
Not only this but sometimes, identifying navy beans among different varieties of white beans becomes challenging.
So, here is how to switch navy beans in your food dishes without compromising overall flavor, and the ways you can tell navy beans apart from other white beans are coming right ahead. Let’s read.
Navy Beans Substitute
Navy bean is a pearly white, pea-shaped, and oval-sized variety of white beans. The bean color is fairly white and even cream-colored with a thicker skin layer than other bean varieties.
The size is quite smaller and more compact than Great northern and cannelloni beans. When cooked, the texture is soft, velvety, and plumpy with a mild, earthy, and nutty flavor. Keeping this in mind, you can replace navy beans in your recipes in various ways given below.
Wait for a second! Get Camellia Dry Navy Beans for a hearty, flavorful, and nutritious meal if you don’t want to sacrifice your tongue flavor. And go for S & W Canned Navy Beans to avoid the soaking and cooking hassle.
Since navy beans are closely related to white beans, all varieties of white beans are good to go instead of navy beans. However, if you have any other colorful variety of beans, then it can also work for you.
Navy Beans Substitute (White Bean Varieties)
1. Cannellini Beans
When flavor and texture is all what you are looking for in place of navy beans, cannellini beans are great go-to alternative beans. They are white, firm, and slightly kidney-shaped beans that hold the texture while cooking.
When substituted 1:1 in your recipes, cannellini beans bring a punch of comparable nutty and earthy flavor notes to the recipes. They are more fleshy and meatier than navy beans, yet they still are the best alternative option.
Although these are larger than normal navy beans, you can make palatable bean soups, salads, stews, dips, and curries using cannellini beans. Cannellini beans are also good for making a steaming bowl of baked beans or mashed beans.
Best Buy: Get DG Dry Cannellini Beans to complement your vegan food dishes with a mild nutty flavor and creamy smooth texture. If looking for a canned variety, Organic Cannellini Beans are great to go with as it’s fresh, vegan-friendly, and free from added salt and sugar.
2. Great Northern Beans
Smaller than cannellini beans yet slightly larger than navy beans, great northern beans are a decent second option in place of navy beans. The firm and grainy texture with a mild kick of nuttiness seem irresistible and closer to navy beans.
When used in place of navy beans, great northern beans offer a densely meatier mouthfeel rather than a soft velvety zest. However, they are great to substitute navy beans in a variety of American cuisines, thanks to their similar flavor.
Baked beans, white chili, bean salads, casseroles, and soups are some staple dishes to make with great northern beans. In general, they are good to go with any recipe calling for navy beans. Also check out the best substitutes for great northern beans to get a better option.
Best Buy: Goya Foods Dry Great Northern Beans easy to get and store that you can use whenever a heartier and filling meal is your preference. Whereas, the Bush’s Best Canned Great Northern Beans are better to choose for making diet-specific white chili, soups, stews, and dips.
3. Lima Beans
Lima beans work wonders in all kinds of bean recipes instead of navy beans. In terms of shiny white appearance and velvety smooth texture, lima beans pair the recipe ingredients in a way that even you cannot spot the difference.
Lima beans impart a sweet, nutty, and buttery flavor to any dish with a fluffier texture and soft mouthfeel. Due to the buttery flavor and mouth-melting texture, lima beans are also named butter beans.
The best thing is that baby lima beans are also good to switch navy beans in your coming recipe. The overall flavor is quite similar, yet they are smaller, softer, and contain less starchy content.
Use lima beans in the same ratio as navy beans to make yummy casseroles, soups, dips, and mashed beans.
4. Black Eyed Beans
Black-eyed beans or black-eyed peas are off-white, tender, and medium-sized beans that you can use to replace navy beans. Similar to other kinds of white beans, black-eyed beans are rich in nutty, slightly sweet, and earthy flavor.
Cooking makes the black-eyed beans denser, creamier, and fluffier to feel, similar to navy beans. Both fresh and dried varieties can rescue your bean treat when you find yourself out of a key ingredient, navy beans.
Black-eyed beans are great for making casseroles, savory bean stews, baked beans, and vegan chili. They are versatile enough to switch all kinds of white bean varieties in your respective dream dishes.
Best Buy: Organic Black-Eyed Peas packs a nutty flavor punch similar to navy beans. They are great for weight loss diet and are a rich source of dietary fiber, iron, and vitamin B.
Navy Beans Substitute (Colorful Bean Varieties)
5. Pinto Beans
When the pearly white appearance of beans is not a preference, you can look for other common colorful beans. Among non-white varieties of beans, pinto beans are the ones that can replace navy beans in terms of texture and flavor.
Similar to navy beans, pinto beans offer a nutty flavor followed by earthy taste notes with a soft creamy texture.
You can consider pinto beans good for making memorable bean casseroles, pies, stews, and baked beans. To more, the meatier flesh of pinto beans is ideal to make mashed beans for stuffing and filling.
Best Buy: Iberia Dry Pinto Beans are great to replace navy beans to make baked beans, white chili, and mashed beans. For a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, pick up the Bush’s Best Canned Pinto Beans and go for your beloved bean recipe.
6. Red Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans are again bigger than navy beans and are not similar in appearance. Unlike navy beans, red kidney beans lend a dark reddish hue to the dish and have a more curved kidney-like shape.
However, what makes red kidney beans a good substitute for navy beans? I am sure you are thinking the same. Well, it’s a unique umami flavor and velvety texture of kidney beans that do a magical replacement.
Red kidney beans are great for enjoying alone or as a recipe ingredient in various dishes, thanks to its creamy, nutty, and underlying sweet flavor. Use 1:1 substitution ratio in a recipe where the darker color of kidney beans is welcomed.
Best Buy: Get Camellia Red Kidney Beans for a hearty and creamy mouthfeel similar to navy beans. These are perfect for simmering and slow-cooking dishes like soups, stews, and white chili. Whereas, Bush’s Best Canned Red Kidney Beans are best for diet-specific foods.
7. Fava Beans
Fava beans are another colorful substitution for navy beans that you can find in your local region easily. They are light green, tender, flatter, and slightly bigger than navy beans. The best thing is that you can get both fresh and dried versions of fava beans for your upcoming bean treat.
The similar nutty and earthy flavor with underlying sweet vegetal taste notes make fava beans an optimal alternative for navy beans. To more, the smooth, filling, creamy, and buttery mouthfeel offered by fava beans will never let your recipe outcomes down.
Best Buy: California Garden Premium Fava Beans are canned and ready to eat beans with a flavor quite similar to navy beans.
8. Flageolet Beans
Although flageolet beans are not classified as white beans, they are quite similar to navy beans and other white bean kinds. They hold their texture very well while cooking and therefore are great for long-simmering food recipes.
The overall flageolet bean flavor is not so far from navy beans or cannellini beans. It tastes mildly earthy, nutty, and a bit starchy with a decent buttery and velvety mouthfeel.
Consider 1:1 quantity of flageolet beans to substitute navy beans in stews, bean salads, and side dishes.
Best Buy: Hunza Organic Flageolet Beans are light green and average-sized beans free from preservatives. You can use them instead of navy beans in slow cooking recipes like stews and soups.
Chickpeas are not completely classified as beans or peas, yet they can rescue your beloved bean recipe anytime. Whenever you find yourself out of all the comparable alternatives to navy beans, chickpeas can do the job.
Although the texture and appearance of chickpeas is not so similar or even comparable, they are great option in terms of flavor. Most of the time, the flavor of chickpeas is considered similar to cannellini and navy beans.
You can make your favorite navy bean recipe with chickpeas including bean chili, soups, stews, and bean salads.
Best Buy: Goya Foods Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans are a whole, canned, and flavorful alternative to navy beans. There’s no need to pre-soak and cook beans, just open the lid, season, heat, and serve.
Pick Up The Best Navy Beans Substitute
It’s quite simpler to pick up canned navy beans right among other white bean varieties. However, it becomes pretty hard to put your hands on navy beans when it comes to dried type.
This is because, navy beans look pretty similar to great Northern white beans and cannelloni beans. So, while choosing the best alternative to navy beans you need to consider the following factors.
Appearance: Navy beans are smaller, more circular, and compact beans when compared with other white beans. The bean color is fairly white with a slightly creamy tint. They look shiny with a smooth surface.
So, your chosen substitute must be a white bean with a defined texture and shape. In terms of appearance, great northern beans, cannelloni beans, and pinto beans are the best options for your next bean treat.
Texture: When cooked, the hard and compact texture of navy beans turns into smooth, plumpy, and thicker pulp. Cooked navy beans are quite softer and pulpy to nibble.
Thereby, if you want to enjoy that soft and pulpy texture, go for comparable bean variety.
Flavor: Navy beans bring a decent nutty, earthy, and mildly sweet flavor to the recipes. Since navy beans are one of the delicious white beans, you can get a similar flavor profile using other white beans.
In terms of flavor and final mouthfeel, cannellini beans and great northern beans are closer substitutes to go with.
Are Navy Beans And Great Northern Beans The Same?
No, navy beans and great northern beans are different beans but not so far from each other. The only difference is the bean size and shape. Navy beans are relatively smaller, compact, and slightly circular beans with thicker skin. On the other side, great northern beans are larger, oval-shaped, and meatier with thinner skin. Despite that, navy beans and great northern beans are interchangeable in all heartier bean recipes. After all, they both are white beans with a pearly white appearance and similar nutty earthy flavor.
What Is Similar To Navy Beans?
Navy beans are one of the amazing white bean varieties and are beloved for their unique pearly white color and umami flavor. Navy beans are closely related to other white bean varieties including great northern beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed beans, and lima beans. Thereby, you can also substitute navy beans using any of these similar beans in your coming recipe.
Can I Use Black Beans Instead Of Navy Beans?
In terms of appearance and color, black beans are not a great option instead of navy beans. However, if you are craving a similar flavor and texture to navy beans, black beans can save you. Black beans offer a mild nutty flavor with a soft, creamy, and velvety mouthfeel that will surely complement your taste buds, similar to navy beans.