substitute for fava beans

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Are you out of fava beans? Do you need some fava beans for a recipe now? Or maybe, you just can’t find these beans at the store. If you’re in any of those situations, here are 7 great ways to substitute for fava beans in most recipes.

substitute for fava beans

Fava beans are also called faba beans, broad beans, pigeon beans, Windsor beans or horse beans and is a type of bean that is used in many Mediterranean dishes.

Fava beans grow in what looks like large green pea pods and can be identified as being large green beans that are encased in a tough white-clear outer skin that needs to be removed before the beans are eaten.

Once cooked, these beans have a nutty, buttery, earthy and slightly sweet flavor and can be described as having a silky smooth texture.

Fava beans are used either sautéed, stewed roasted boiled, or to make falafel, soups, stews, pestos, salads, and more. They are sold fresh in the pods, dried, frozen, canned, or even fresh sealed in cold packs and are thus quite easy to come by.

However, if you are making a recipe that has Faba beans as an ingredient, but you have no Fava beans then you can use the beans listed below as worthy substitutes.

Best fava beans substitutes

Cannellini beans

Canellini beans

While cannellini beans are meaty and fluffy rather than buttery, these beans do have a nutty flavor which makes them a good sub for fava beans, especially dried fava beans. 

Use cannellini beans to replace broad beans in recipes like soups, stews, and even salads. 

1 cup of cannellini beans is a good substitute for 1 cup of fava beans or a 1:1 ratio. And if you want to read more about cannellini beans and their substitutes check it out here.



Chickpeas are another great fava beans substitute. Chickpeas work in certain recipes as it is slightly nutty and creamy. Note that chickpeas also have a bean-like, earthy and starchy flavor and it can also be slightly grainy so this will affect certain dishes.

However, it does work in dishes like falafel, soups, stews, and salads.

Use 1 cup of chickpeas as a replacement for 1 cup of fava beans or a 1:1 ratio. Read more on chickpea substitutes here.

Kidney beans

Kidney beans

If you have kidney beans as a suitable fava beans substitute. Kidney beans also called red kidney beans are meaty and slightly sweet, with a mild flavor that can work in many dishes.

Use red kidney beans as a suitable replacement for dried fava beans. While you may not get the signature creaminess of broad beans and the bolder flavor of fava beans with red kidney beans, you can use them in soups, stews, and even salads.

1 cup of red kidney beans can be used as an alternative for 1 cup of fava beans.

Black beans

black beans

Black beans are also a good substitute for faba beans. Like kidney beans, these beans are mild, but they also have a velvety-smooth texture, which is similar to the texture of fava beans. Black beans as a substitute are a great option as they’re very common and likely in your kitchen now!

Black beans work in soups, stews, salads, purees, and even other vegetarian dishes. 

Use 1 cup of black beans in place of 1 cup of broad beans.

Butter beans

Butter beans

Butter beans, like fava beans, have a buttery flavor with a smooth velvety texture which makes them a good fava beans alternative in a pinch.  They even look somewhat similar.

While butter beans lack the slight sweetness of broad beans, they do make a good swap in dishes like vegetable stews, soups, chowder, beans salads, mash, dips, and even in certain casseroles. Read more about the substitutes for butter beans here.

Green peas

Green peas

Fava beans and green peas are both members of the pea family, and so faba beans can be replaced with green peas easily. It also does not hurt that they are both green, even though they are not the same shape or size.

Green peas is also much sweeter than fava beans, and obviously will not impart that distinct flavor that pigeon beans have, but it can work in certain salads, soups, stews and even stir fries. Especially great for visual appeal.

Use 1 cup of green peas to replace 1 cup of fava beans or a 1:1 ratio.



Edamame is another really good substitute for fava beans. Edamame which has a mild, buttery and slightly sweet flavor is one of the closest fava bean substitute options available. 

Edamame is also green -so the dish won’t look drastically different- although it does not have that annoying whitish outer skin that faba beans have. Edamame, like pigeon beans also comes in frozen pods, canned and fresh.

Like broad beans, you can use edamame beans to make stir fries, roasted, steamed or used to make pestos and dips. 

1 cup of edamame beans is enough to replace 1 cup of fava beans in a dish.

Final thoughts

There you have it! Seven popular beans and peas that can be used in most dishes that call for broad beans. So, if you’re about to make a recipes like pesto or even a sopp and you realize that there are no more fava beans, there is no need to fret. Just grab one of the substitutes mentioned above and proceed with your dish! Happy cooking!

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