Substitutes for Pigeon Peas

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Pigeon peas are a popular cuisine all around the globe. They are so well-known that they are also known as the Congo Pea, Angola Pea, and Red Gram. The pigeon pea has been grown for over 3,500 years and is used to make rice and peas, sambar, and a variety of other stews and curries. Continue reading to discover the finest pigeon peas alternative for every occasion!

What Are Pigeon Peas?

Pigeon peas are a kind of legume that is also a bean. These tasty peas may be boiled, steamed, or fried and are used in a variety of cuisines. They are also used to make flour on occasion.

They may be found in Asian, African, and South American cuisines. Common in curries, soups, and other similar dishes, they might be difficult to get in other parts of the globe.

Pigeon peas have a somewhat nutty, almost earthy flavor.

Green Pigeon Peas.

Pigeon peas are classified into two types:

  1. Pigeon peas that have been dried.
  2. Pigeon peas in green.

Dried pigeon peas have a brown look with red highlights. They perform well in curries, stews, and soups because they break down while cooking, making them a great thickener.

Green pigeon peas are often used in salads and rice dishes because they retain their form throughout cooking.

The primary difference between the two is when they are harvested. They are offered as dry or green pigeon peas after harvested.

What’s The Best Substitute For Pigeon Peas? Six Options

Substitute: Flavor: Good for:
Black-Eyed Peas Earthy, Creamy Stews, Soups, Curries, Tagines
Lima Beans Earthy, Creamy Curries and other spicy foods
Pinto Beans Nutty Stews, Chilis, Dips, Burritos
Fava Beans Earthy, Nutty, Creamy Stews and other slow-cooked dishes
Navy Beans Mild, Slightly nutty Soups, salads, southern cuisine
Garbanzo Beans Nutty, Earthy Salads, Stews, Soups

1. Black-Eyed Peas

In the United States, black-eyed peas are a popular substitute for pigeon peas. They are commonly accessible and function well as a rice alternative.

The black-eyed pea, which is often used in African, Caribbean, and certain South American cuisine, complements the tastes of those regions. Therefore it may be used for stews, soups, tagines, and other similar dishes.

The black-eyed pea, like pigeon peas, has an earthy flavor and a rich creamy consistency when cooked properly.

2. Lima Beans

The lima bean, often known as butter beans, is a good substitute for pigeon peas. They, too, have an earthy taste and a creamy texture when cooked.

Lima beans may be used in rice recipes such as chili. They also pair well with curries, although the black-eyed pea is great for any of the curries described above.

3. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a popular replacement that work well in a variety of cuisines ranging from Mexican to Indian. They have a nuttiness to the flavor, making them a suitable taste substitute.

Although their comparable size and appearance to pigeon peas, the texture isn’t necessarily the same, and they’re not as excellent in thickening a meal if that’s what you’re looking for.

4. Fava Beans

Fava beans may be used in place of pigeon peas when you need them to stand up in a recipe. This means they can withstand extended cooking periods and are hence suitable for rice recipes.

Avoid using fava beans in lieu of pigeon peas in stews or other dishes where the pigeon pea adds texture and consistency when cooked down and thickened.

5. Navy Beans

Navy Beans, sometimes known as Boston Beans, may be used in soups and stews. They don’t have a strong taste when compared to other beans, yet this makes them an excellent alternative for pigeon peas in certain cases.

They work nicely in stews, soups, and even certain curries when you want to add texture without changing the taste of the meal.

6. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Garbanzo beans, sometimes known as chickpeas, are an excellent substitute for pigeon peas.

Since they may become incredibly creamy when slow-cooked, they work well in curries, soups, and stews.

Substitutes for Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

They taste nutty and earthy, akin to pigeon peas and pinto beans. When they are undercooked, they might taste harsh. It is something to bear in mind.


There are several acceptable beans that may be substituted for pigeon peas, since they are also a bean. Whether it’s a curry or a stew, there’s always a bean that can do the job. In the list, you should be able to discover one that you can use in every occasion.


What can I replace gandules with?

If you can’t locate gandules, you can use canned pinto, pink, or red beans instead, and it’ll still be delicious!

Are pigeon peas the same as garbanzo beans?

Pigeon peas are an African legume that is particularly popular in Jamaica. Chickpeas, commonly known as garbanzos, are an Asian legume that produces one or two papery tiny pods.

What can I substitute for pigeon peas in Spanish rice?

If you don’t have pigeon peas, try these instead:

Peas with black eyes. Alternatively, yellow-eyed peas. Instead, you may use baby lima beans. OR – To add more flavor, add lentils.

Are pigeon peas the same as lima beans?

Differences between Lima beans and Pigeon peas

Pigeon pea has more Folate, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin B1, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Fiber, Potassium, and Vitamin B5 than Lima bean. Pigeon pea meets your daily Folate requirement 93% better than Lima bean.

Are pigeon peas and black-eyed peas the same thing?

Black-eyed peas, also known as pigeon peas or cowpeas, are legumes that are grown all over the world.

Are pigeon peas and lentils the same?

Yellow split peas are, as the name suggests, peas. They often do not need soaking and cook faster than Toor dal, which are yellow lentils. Toor dal is sometimes known as pigeon peas, which might be confusing. Matar dal is the Indian word for yellow peas, according to the Cook’s Thesaurus.

Are pigeon peas similar to black-eyed peas?

Whole dried pigeon peas resemble black eyed peas in appearance, having a light tan or beige skin sprinkled with little brown specks. They are sometimes available without the skins, in which case they are green. You may also find them split, like with dal, where they will look like split mung beans.

Are pigeon peas the same as edamame?

Edamame is made from pigeon peas, a species of Japanese pea. Those have green pods and hair on the outside of their skin. Before consuming, it must be cooked.

Are pigeon peas the same as fava beans?

Broad beans, Windsor beans, Scotch beans, English beans, straight beans, horse beans, pigeon peas, tick beans, and bell beans are all names for faba beans. If you want to keep things easy, simply name them Vicia faba.

What are pigeon peas called in Mexico?

Peas with Pigeons (Gandules) These delicious “peas” (technically a legume) were originally farmed in Peru and have earned their position as a mainstay in the classic Mexican meal “Arroz With Gandules.” Our small peas are made with only three ingredients: pigeon peas, water, and salt – no additives or preservatives.

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