9 Best Substitutes for Beans in Chili

substitutes for beans in chili

Depending on your reasoning for substituting beans in your chilli recipe, there are a variety of options available to you. Try out a few different combinations from the following list to find which one works best for you. Here, we’ll go through several alternative chilli recipes that don’t call for the use of beans.

9 Best Substitutes for Beans in Chili

  1. Gluten-Free Grains

Rice, quinoa, and amaranth are excellent options for those who can’t eat gluten. Protein content might be an important consideration when choosing a plant-based protein source.

Using grains instead of beans is a no-brainer.

  • One cup of cooked grains can be added to your chilli towards the end of the cooking process. (If you like, you may boil the grains with the chili for added taste).
  • The dried grains and water you add to your chilli after the veggies have been sauteed should be half a cup.
  • Allow the grain to cook for at least 15 minutes.
  • Cook until you achieve the desired texture.
  1. Tofu

Is there any tofu in your pantry? You may then substitute it for the beans in your chilli. Tofu may be used in any dish because it lacks a unique flavour. If you cook it in a flavourful meal, it will absorb it. Compared to whole soybeans or other legumes, tofu has a lower carbohydrate content since it is manufactured from soymilk. The protein content is also high.

  1. Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)

TVP is another option to explore as an alternative. When looking for a meat-free bean substitution in chilli, it is a typical option to consider. TVP resembles ground beef so closely that you may not be able to tell the difference. It’s also high in fibre and protein, and it’s a great value for the money. TVP is made with soy flour as the primary ingredient. It, on the other hand, is not fermented like beans. Therefore, if you have difficulties digesting beans, it is possible that you will also have difficulty consuming TVP.

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a great alternative to beans in chilli since they are both nutritious and delicious. Nuts such as cashews and walnuts are high in both fat and protein content. It should be noted, however, that they are the costliest of the several options accessible to you. If money is a consideration, sunflower seeds are an excellent alternative since they are reasonably priced. To give your chilli combination an extra layer of flavour, roast half a cup of almonds before adding them into it. Having said that, they will still be wonderful if consumed in their raw form.

  1. Edamame, Lentils, or Split Peas

Check out this list of three legumes that are fantastic substitutes for beans in your cooking. Lentils, split peas, and edamame are quick-cooking alternatives to beans that have a bean flavour. Make chilli by putting in 3/4 cup split peas or lentils. Cook until the leftover liquid and spices are absorbed by the meat. Alternatively, you might prepare them ahead of time and add them to the chilli just before serving. After you’ve done cooking the chilli, toss in a frozen bag of edamame to finish it off. If you are attempting to reduce your carb intake, this is not the pick for you because these legumes have a carb count that is quite similar to that of beans.

  1. Tempeh

Tempeh is a popular Asian food. It is similar to tofu in that it may be substituted for beans in recipes. It’s better for you and simpler to digest, but it’s less well-known than other options. It is made by pressing together a mixture of fermented soybeans. Tempeh may be used to any dish by chopping it into little pieces. Then add it to the chilli towards the end of the cooking time.

  1. Beef or Pork

If you enjoy eating meat, you may use this ingredient in your chilli recipe, whether it contains beans or not. Meat, such as beef or pig, is the most apparent bean substitute since it is high in protein, low in carbs, and easy to prepare. However, there are other bean alternatives.

  1. Cauliflower

Are you looking for a vegetarian or vegan option? Because of its many uses, cauliflower is a favourite among vegans. A surprising number of vitamins and minerals may be found in it as well. Cauliflower may be used as a replacement in chilli by pre-steaming the vegetable. After that, cut it up and add it to the chilli mixture. Make your chilli thicker by smashing the florets before adding them to it.

  1. Peas

Peas, whether canned or frozen, are a delicious side dish to serve with beans. Because they contain less calories and are easier to digest, they require no preparation. A comparable texture to beans may be found in these seeds. As soon as your chilli is through cooking, add a whole can or 1 cup of frozen peas to thaw and heat through before serving.


Cooking chilli without the use of beans is feasible. Other ingredients may be used to create a variety of wonderful chilli variations. Choose one of the recipes from the list above to create a chilli that is delicious, nutritious, and pleasurable all at once.

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