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    10+ Perfect Pigeon Peas Substitutes (#4 is Surprising!)

    When your recipe calls for pigeon peas, and you can not find them anywhere, do not stop cooking because here we will tell you some good pigeon peas substitutes that will fulfil your recipe amazingly. 

    Some of the closest substitutes for pigeon peas are green peas, lima beans, sugar snap peas, navy beans and fava beans. You can add chickpeas, black beans, lentils, black-eyed beans, yellow-eyed beans or edamame beans. 

    This post will cover the 10+ pigeon peas substitutes that will help you with the replacement easily.

    Let’s find out which is the best one for your recipe. But, before jumping into the details of these substitutes, you should know some important factors about pigeon peas. 

    What are Pigeon Peas?

    Pigeon peas are a variety of perennial legumes cultured for more than 3,500 years in India and later gained popularity in Africa and the Middle East. 

    The growth of these peas occurs in the summer and fall months, so that clears your mind from thinking that they are not similar to green peas that come in winter. 

    In your recipe, you can use pigeon peas in any form: fresh, canned, or dried. 

    If we talk about their benefits, then pigeon peas are high in:

    • Protein
    • Vitamins
    • Minerals 

    You can eat it the way you like, the main course or a side dish. Pigeon peas work great in any recipe. 

    What do Pigeon Peas Taste Like?

    When it comes to flavour, the nuttiest earthy taste accurately describes pigeon peas. 

    Although, they are not sweet enough like green peas because pigeon peas are not peas; they are bean-style legumes. 

    But, the flavour of pigeon peas works great in rice, stews, soups, salads, and even as a main dish. 

    The taste may vary depending on the peas’ colour, which changes according to their growth. When they are fresh, they are green peas, which will deliver a sweet taste. 

    But, when they turn into brown & purple coloured peas, pigeon peas are fully matured now. 

    Best Substitutes for Pigeon Peas 

    If you want to replace pigeon peas in your recipe or can not find them, you can always look for other amazing options that will give a pleasing taste and satisfy your cravings.

    Let’s find out which substitute will align with your liking!

    1. Green Peas

    Green Peas
    Image: Freepik.Com

    Green pea is the closest substitute that is super easy to find worldwide. It might be your first choice too. We often use it in winter in different recipes. 

    They are the same legume, but surely there is a difference between beans and peas. 

    Do you know that green peas are also known as sweet peas? Because they create a perfectly mild and sweet flavour in any recipe, you will make it. 

    Some countries might have green peas available all year, but in some other globes, they only arrive between spring and summer. 

    You can also make Spaghetti Aglio with Green Peas for your main course.

    2. Lima Beans

    Lima beans

    Lima beans are another great pigeon peas replacement that you can go after. You can use them in stews, soups or curry because they work best with their nutty flavour. 

    Ensure you cook them well because lima beans take longer than pigeon beans and require more water to absorb as they have a bit of hard skin.

    Also, they work in the replacement for a large number of pigeon peas, which makes a good option for your recipe too.  

    3. Sugar Snap Peas 

    Sugar snap peas
    Image: Freepik.Com

    Sugar snap peas can also be a nice substitute for pigeon peas in recipes like soups, curry, rice, stews, and salads. 

    Normally, you can find these beans during the winter and late spring. They are easy to find and make a perfect replacement as they are sweet and flavorful. 

    4. Navy Beans

    Navy beans

    Navy beans are one the perfect pigeon peas substitutes because of their small size, which is best for all recipes. 

    They are also called “pea beans” because they resemble green beans’ in size and taste. That makes them an excellent alternative for pigeon bean recipes. Moreover, navy beans are also a great replacement for chickpeas.  

    You can serve navy beans in the recipes you want, either as a side dish or a main dish. Also, they are very easy to find, available at any store near your place.

    5. Fava beans

    Fava beans

    Fresh fava beans are the best if you are looking for an alternative that allows you to eat raw, especially in salads. They are also the same as sugar snap peas but a bit nuttier in flavour, which is excellent. 

    Remember that fava beans need more time and effort to cook to become softer, but overall they make a great substitute for pigeon peas. You should try it out!

    Salads, stews, curry, rice, or serve it with grilled chicken, fava beans will work best in these recipes. 

    6. Chickpeas

    Image: Freepik.Com

    Chickpeas will also work as pigeon peas substitutes, but only if you are looking for a specific recipe, like curries. You can also make a stew with chickpeas and spinach.

    Chickpeas deliver an excellent nutty flavour and texture in curry recipes and salads, pasta, soups, and casseroles.  

    The best part about chickpeas is that they are available all over the world at any store near your place and are affordable.

     Also, chickpeas are a great source of:

    • Protein:14.5 grams
    • Folate: 71% of the
    • Fats: 4 grams 
    • Fiber: 12.5 grams
    • Carbs: 45 grams 

    7. Black Beans

    Black beans
    Image: Freepik.Com

    Black beans are suitable for all recipes, for example, rice meals, soups, burgers, pasta, meat dishes, curries, and many more. 

    The light and mildly nutty flavour with a soft and creamy texture will surprise you! So, it is safe to substitute black beans for recipes that call for pigeon peas. 

    8. Lentils 

    Image: Freepik.Com

    Lentils will also do the right job as an alternative to pigeon peas, especially in soups. They are softer in texture and are best suitable for stews and soups-type recipes. You can add them to salads, meat or vegetable recipes. 

    They are amazingly versatile and super easy to find at an affordable price. Lentils come in three different colours: red, brown, and green.

    Brown lentils provide an earthy taste, red beans are sweet-flavoured, and green ones are fiery. Compared to all these three lentils, most people prefer red lentils. 

    You can try out green lentils if you are cooking something spicy. The taste is surprisingly amazing! 

    Most importantly, lentils are easy to cook and will not take much time like other alternatives. It takes 15-20 minutes, so they are best for fast-making meals. 

    9. Black-eyed Beans

    Black-eyed beans

    Black-eyed beans are easier to find; that’s why sometimes people use them as a substitute for pigeon peas. They come in both dry and canned forms.

    If you are low on budget, dry black-eyed beans are undoubtedly the best choice. Also, these two legumes look alike so if you are looking for a replacement that looks similar, try black-eyed beans.

    One thing that makes them different is their taste. Black-eyed beans serve a thick and creamy texture with an earthy flavour. 

    You can substitute them for soup, stews, chillis or salads. But, if you are cooking something light–for instance, rice, pasta or casseroles then you can try other replacements. 

    10. Yellow-eyed Beans

    Yellow-eyed beans are similar to black-eyed beans, but they are known as the prettier version of beans. You can substitute them in the same recipes as black-eyed beans. 

    These beans are mild and sweet flavoured with a creamy texture which will work in various recipes that call for pigeon peas. They are also related to kidney beans in some ways. 

    Yellow-eyed beans are also a great source of fibre, vitamins and protein, so you can also use them as a healthy substitute for pigeon peas. 

    11. Edamame Beans

    Edamame beans
    Image: Freepik.Com

    Edamame beans deliver the same sweet and nutty taste as pigeon peas, but you can not use them in raw food recipes

    They are green-coloured beans which makes them similar to pigeon peas, but you can also use them as a replacement for peas of any kind. 

    Also, these beans might not be a great choice because the availability of edamame beans is low. You can not find them easily around the globe. 


    When you run out of pigeon peas or can not find them, the abovementioned substitutes will help you fulfil your recipe. 

    Read out all the substitutes and find the one which will best suit your dish, depending on your cooking style. We hope you found a replacement that best befitted your recipe!

    Related questions

    Are pigeon peas good for health?

    Yes, pigeon pea has a healthy, nutritious background. It is high in protein, vitamins, and fibre. 

    Moreover, it contains anti-inflammatory resources, which help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. 

    Is it okay if we replace pinto beans for pigeon peas?

    You can use pinto beans as a pigeon peas alternative. But remember that they have a slight difference in taste. You will need to add some spices and seasonings to balance the flavour when using pinto beans.  

    What makes pigeon peas similar to black-eyed beans?

    Well, they both are technologically different varieties of beans but what makes them similar is the taste and image. 

    They look alike and deliver a mild and nutty flavour with a soft texture that you can use in recipes like soups or stews and even as a side or main dish.

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    Areena is a talented writer at The Foodnom, where she enthralls readers with her captivating food-related content.

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