Great northern beans are as great as they sound, with a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with many different dishes. Used mainly in soups and stews, these beans are a favorite among health enthusiasts and nutritionists as they are an excellent source of protein and fiber.
However, it’s not always possible to have these beans stacked up at home, right? Plus, how long can you have the same beans every single day? Just because you don’t have northern beans doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good protein intake- all you have to do is find the best substitutes for great northern beans. Luckily, we’ve done that for you in the following list!
11 Best Substitutes For Great Northern Beans
Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, navy beans are a perfect nutrient-dense substitute for great northern beans. Many health enthusiasts prefer using these beans instead of the northern beans because they have a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio. Navy beans are also commonly used in baking as they tend to hold their shape well and don’t turn mushy like other types of beans.
However, you can also use these beans in soups, salads, and casseroles. When it comes to flavor, these navy beans don’t disappoint. They are slightly sweeter than great northern beans and have a nutty undertone that makes them a perfect candidate for any dish.
How to substitute: When using this option, go for a 1:1 ratio. Navy beans have the same texture as great northern beans, so they won’t pose any problem in the recipes.
2. Cannellini Beans
Also known as white kidney beans, cannellini beans are a go-to option for many home cooks and professional chefs. These beans have a mild flavor with a hint of nuttiness that makes them extremely versatile, especially when it comes to soups and stews.
They are also a bit creamier in texture than great northern beans, so if you’re looking for that extra bit of richness in your dish, then cannellini beans should be your first choice. In terms of nutrition, these beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein. They also contain iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
How to substitute: Since cannellini beans are slightly creamier than great northern beans, you might want to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup. Other than that, feel free to use them in any dish that calls for great northern beans.
Found in almost every household pantry, chickpeas are a popular legume that can be used in various dishes. From hummus to salads and even desserts, there’s nothing that these beans can’t do- which is why they’re among the best substitutes for great northern beans.
Chickpeas are slightly larger than great northern beans and have a nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. However, that is not why they’re so famous among nutritionists. Their protein and fiber content is what makes them a favorite among health-conscious individuals.
How to substitute: When substituting great northern beans with chickpeas, it’s important to remember that the cooking time will be different. Chickpeas take longer to cook, so make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
4. Lima Beans
Lima beans are one of the most popular substitutes for great northern beans, and it’s not hard to see why. These beans have a similar texture and flavor profile as great northern beans, making them the perfect candidate when it comes to switching ingredients.
They are also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins-a complete win-win in our eyes. One of the main reasons home cooks prefer using lima beans is because they are more readily available than great northern beans.
How to substitute: You can use lima beans as a 1:1 replacement for great northern beans. These beans have the same texture and flavor, working perfectly in any dish.
5. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are very similar to great northern beans in both color and texture, but their earthy flavor sets them apart from the latter. These beans are mainly used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, but their popularity has slowly risen in the last few years.
Like most other beans on this list, Pinto beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. One reason we think this is a great substitute for great northern beans is because of their versatility. You can use them in soups, salads, or even side dishes.
How to substitute: Pinto beans can be used as a 1:1 replacement for great northern beans. There is no need to adjust the recipe, as these beans have similar cooking times.
6. Marrow Beans
Famously known as the “butter bean,” marrow beans are genuinely one of the choices for many professional chefs when they run out of great northern beans. These beans have a rich and creamy texture that makes them perfect for soups and stews.
They also have a nutty flavor that pairs well with other ingredients. Marrow beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins- making them a healthy and delicious alternative. You can easily find a can of marrow beans in your local grocery store.
How to substitute: One gram of marrow beans can be substituted for one gram of great northern beans. These beans add an extra creamy texture to the dish, so make sure you study the recipe beforehand.
7. Cranberry Beans
As the name suggests, cranberry beans are beans with a beautiful cranberry color. The white contrast makes it stand out from the crowd for sure. But don’t be deceived by their beauty; these beans are also packed with nutrients.
Cranberry beans have a slightly nutty flavor and firm texture, making them the perfect ingredient for soups and salads. You can find these beans fresh, frozen, or canned- and similarly, you can use them in whichever way is most convenient for you. Just remember to soak these beans if you’re using fresh ones; otherwise, they’ll take forever to cook.
How to substitute: One gram of cranberry beans can replace one gram of great northern beans. Their cooking time is slightly longer, so make sure to adjust the recipe accordingly.
8. Fava Beans
For those of you looking for an alternative to great northern beans that are low in calories but high in protein and fiber, fava beans are a perfect choice. These beans have a nutty underlying flavor but are sweeter than northern beans.
Hence, they can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Fava beans are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, making them a healthier alternative to other substitutes on this list. You can prepare fava beans in a variety of ways, either as a side dish or as the main ingredient. These might also be used to enhance the taste of soups and stews.
How to substitute: Use the same amount of fava beans as you would great northern beans. Keep in mind that these beans have a shorter cooking time, so adjust the recipe accordingly.
9. Rattlesnake Beans
If you’re looking for an alternative to great northern beans that has a similar texture but a more robust flavor, look no further than rattlesnake beans. These beans get their name from their dark color and snake-like shape. They have been commonly used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine and have a nutty flavor with hints of chocolate.
Rattlesnake beans are a choice for those who have dietary restrictions as these beans are not only low in carbs and rich in protein but also completely gluten-free. Every soy-intolerant individual considers this their top choice!
How to substitute: You can use rattlesnake beans as a 1:1 replacement for great northern beans.
10. Black-eyed Peas
Also known as cowpeas, black-eyed peas are a type of bean that is often used in soups and stews. These beans have a slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture, making them a perfect substitute for great northern beans in desserts and stews. They are a nutritional powerhouse with calcium, iron, folate, and protein all packed together.
What makes us choose these beans over and over again is that they are readily available almost everywhere. They’re also nut-free, gluten-free, and soy-free! All in all, a healthy and nutritious choice.
How to substitute: You can replace great northern beans with black-eyed peas on a one-to-one basis. Alter the taste by adding or reducing water in stews according to your taste.
11. Black Turtle Beans
Another excellent substitute for great northern beans is black turtle beans. These beans are tiny compared to great northern beans, but they pack a nutritional punch with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. What makes them stand out is their rich flavor- including hints of chocolate and spice- both things we absolutely love.
Black turtle beans can absorb flavors very well, making them an ideal ingredient for stews and chili. You can find these beans either dry or canned, and they have a relatively long shelf-life.
How to substitute: You can use the same amount of black turtle beans as you would great northern beans in any recipe.
We hope these substitutes for great northern beans prove to be as tasty as they sound! Some of these beans are great for dietary restrictions, while some have a creamier texture, so pick whichever you like and go for it!