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11 Adzuki Bean Substitutes, Health Benefits, Recipes, FAQs

This blog post shares tips on how to substitute Adzuki beans in recipes. Adzuki beans are high in fiber and protein to be an important part of a healthy diet. However, they are relatively uncommon in Western recipes.

Different types of beans can be substituted for Adzuki beans in recipes. One option is the kidney bean which is also high in protein and fiber. Another option is to use red beans or pinto beans which are both high in protein but less so when it comes to fiber content.

Read on to find more options!

Health Benefit of Adzuki Bean You Should Know

Adzuki beans (other names: azuki bean, aduki bean, red mung bean, or sweet bean.) are a staple in Asian cuisine and are also very nutrient-dense! They make a delicious substitute for black or green beans, as well as chickpeas.

One hundred grams of adzuki beans contain:

  • 810mg of protein
  • 665mg of fiber
  • 2264mg potassium
  • 67mcg folate  
  • 61mcg iron
  • 35mcg magnesium  
  • 474.4mg copper
  • 2.6mg zinc
  • 0.3mg thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • 0.5mg vitamin C

Adzuki beans are also high in antioxidants, such as vitamin E and lutein, protecting against heart disease and eye diseases such as cataracts (preventable through eating lots of vegetables!).

Adzuki beans are about 50% protein, 20% starch, and 30% sugars. The high amount of fiber aids in digestion, and the high protein content helps build muscle.

Which Common Bean Is a Good Substitute for Adzuki

1. Kidney Beans

kidney beans

Kidney beans [1] make great substitutes for Adzuki beans as they have similar taste and texture. These legumes are called “Kidney beans” because they are Kidney-shaped. Sometimes Kidney beans are mistaken for red beans, probably because of their color.

You can use kidney beans in stews, chili, rice, meat, and other non-sweet recipes. Make sure to soak kidney beans before use because they are more formidable.

Note that kidney beans contain a toxic protein called lectin [2], so it’s essential to parboil for at least 20 minutes before cooking to annul its effect.

2. Red Beans

red beans

Red beans are a top choice for adzuki substitutes because they have the same color, and they are both small-sized.

Sometimes they can be confused with each other because many people refer to Adzuki beans as “Red adzuki beans” or “Red beans.” But the difference is in the taste. It’s stronger, so you may not get a “beans perfect” taste of Adzuki, but it still works as a replacement.

You can use red beans in chilies, curries, pasta, salads, and soups.

3. Pinto Beans

pinto beans

In most parts of the USA and the Northern areas of Mexico, Pinto beans are pretty popular. Pinto beans have the same texture and taste as Adzuki beans; nutritionally, they are also similar.

Both pinto and adzuki beans contain folate, vitamins, and antioxidants, so they work great when interchanged.

Pinto beans have a creamy and earthy flavor in dishes like burritos, rice combinations, dips, soups, and more.

Further Reading: 17 Healthy & Tasty Pinto Beans Substitutes

3. Black Sesame Seeds

black sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are tiny, greasy seeds that come in various colors. They can be brown, white, black, grey, red, and gold.

The most popular and commonly used are the black and white seeds. The vast difference between both seeds is the more robust flavor of the black seeds, and it has a more bitter taste and nutty flavor.

Black sesame seeds can be a suitable replacement depending on the taste you aim to achieve with Adzuki seeds. It’s also a source of sesame oil. If you intend to use Adzuki seeds as filling, black sesame seeds work great as well!

You can use black sesame seeds in sweet and savory baked foods, stir-fries, soups, sushi, salads, or pastes.

4. Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans

Cannellini beans are like kidney beans, except for their color. They are known as “white kidney beans” because they have the same shape.

Regarding their use as replacements for Adzuki, they work just perfectly, and you only have to worry about the color, as they are white. If you don’t mind, go ahead and pleasurably explore this creamy and nutty flavored legume.

Confidently add cannellini beans to your pasta, salads, soups, stews, or other foods.

5. Black Turtle Beans

black turtle beans

Black turtle beans are mildly sweet, and they are pretty soft legumes. They are rich sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Black turtle beans are excellent sources of low fat, and they are cholesterol-free, so they have immense health benefits.

You can use Turtle beans in recipes for burritos, tostadas, stews, and other dishes. They absorb the flavor of the ingredients or spice they are prepared with, giving you a full taste of your meal. They are also delightful when served on their own.

6. Mung Beans

mung beans

Mung beans are small, sweet green beans that you can replace adzuki beans in sweet and savory foods.

A key thing about Mung beans is that they are excellent protein sources, so most people substitute them for meat in their dishes, making them a great vegetarian choice.

Apart from proteins, they have significant health benefits, as they are sources of vitamins, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Mung beans’ sweet flavor makes them perfect ingredients in sugary dishes. You can also use them in stir-fries, pastries, noodles, soups, salads, and many more.

Note that you must soak your beans and cook them properly, as half-cooked mung beans can cause diarrhea or nausea.

7. Fava Beans

fava beans

Fava beans [4], also known as broad beans, are springtime legumes grown in pods. They have a shell, so you must peel them before using them.

Although slightly bitter, they are also creamy, buttery, mildly sweet, and less starchy. Like mung beans, fava beans are rich in proteins, iron, contain antioxidants, and give other fantastic health benefits.

They can be fried, steamed, roasted, sauteed, or even eaten raw. So, you can use fava beans in salads, soups, or stews dishes.

8. Chestnuts


Chestnuts are sweet and nutty flavored nuts. They have great nutritional benefits as they contain folate, vitamins, proteins, and many other health benefits, similar to adzuki beans.

In sweet and savory meals, chestnuts are delightful adzuki beans substitutes. You can use chestnuts in cakes, pasta, soups, pies, sauce, poultry, etc.

It doesn’t matter if you prepare chestnuts by roasting, deep-frying, or grilling; you can be confident you found a suitable alternative.

9. Cranberry Beans

cranberry beans

Cranberry beans are beautiful bean seeds with a beige-pink appearance with reddish-brown spots. Their color is distinct from other bean types, and so is their taste.

They also are a great source of proteins, fiber, folate, copper, iron, and other minerals.

Cranberry beans have a nutty, sweet flavor and soft texture, making them perfect for soups, stews, and salads.

Ensure you cook your cranberry beans properly before you eat.

10. Oats


Are you surprised that non-leguminous foods can substitute for adzuki beans? Well, you shouldn’t be surprised, sometimes when you select a substitute, the nutritional benefit might be the main reason.

In the case of Oats, they are good sources of proteins and fiber so that you can substitute them for a different taste, yet the same nutrients.

You can have oats with fruits, as they make excellent breakfast, and you can also substitute them in your recipe.

11. Quinoa Flakes

quinoa flour

Quinoa flakes are our last non-legume recommendation for adzuki replacement in your recipe. Quinoa flakes contain similar nutrients like fiber, proteins, and antioxidants. They are also gluten-free, a healthy choice for everyone.

You can add quinoa flakes to your pasta, rice or even enjoy them as snacks on their own (when coated with peanut butter).

Adzuki Beans Recipes

So, how to cook adzuki beans? Here are some recipes for you. Note that you can use any of the adzuki beans substitutes for these recipes.

Adzuki Bean Soup

Adzuki Bean Curry

Adzuki Bean Paste

Adzuki Bean Mochi

FAQs About Adzuki Beans

What does red bean taste like?

To put it simply, the flavor of red bean is nutty and slightly sweet. It tastes like a mix of sweet and sour beans.

Mung bean vs red bean: what’s the difference?

In terms of nutritional value, mung beans are better than red beans. Mung beans contain more protein and fiber while being lower in calories. On the other hand, red beans have higher levels of selenium and magnesium in addition to a healthier fat profile.

There are also no major health risks associated with eating either type of legume (though Mung beans have the potential for aflatoxins).


As you can see, you don’t have to be worried when you run out of adzuki beans. You can replace them with other healthy options.

Beans are good sources of proteins, fiber, and minerals. They are also low in fat and contain folate, vitamin B6, iron, and zinc.

Based on this information, we strongly recommend using beans more often in your diet. And when you substitute them with other foods as healthy alternatives, feel free to mix and match the new elements for your recipe.

You may like: Top 11 Bean Sprout Substitutes for Your Asia Recipes

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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