substitutes for mung beans

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Are you making a dish that calls for mung beans and you can’t seem to find it? Are you looking for suitable substitutes for mung beans? If you are, then you will love this list of 6 mung bean substitutes that are worth trying.

substitute for mung beans

Mung beans are also known as green gram and are a type of legume that is native to India. These beans are tiny and tender with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and are used popularly in dishes like salads, soups, casseroles, stir-fries, and even on their own. They’re also very popularly sprouted and the mung bean sprouts are used in salads, stir-fries, and served with meats.

But, what if you’re making a dish that calls for mung beans but you have none on hand? You may be wondering if there are other options that you can use in place of these little green mung beans.

The answer is yes! There are quite a few beans and legumes that work in place of mung beans.

Most aren’t an exact flavor match, but they are similar whether it be in terms of the look of the bean, the flavor, or how it’s used in preparing recipes.

Therefore, the best substitutes for mung beans include black mung beans,  peeled mung beans, adzuki beans, strawberry beans, borlotti beans, and lentils. Each of these beans will be discussed in more detail below.

digital substitution charts

Best mung beans substitute options

Black mung beans

black mung beans

Black mung beans also called black gram or vigna mungo are a great substitute for the more popular green gram. They’re quite similar, but black gram has a more earthy flavor. This bean is often used to make curries, bean paste, and even soups and stews.

These black mung beans can also be sprouted and used in the same way that you would use green-sprouted mung beans.

A 1:1 substitute for black mung beans to green mung beans is ideal.

Peeled split mung beans

Peeled split mung beans

Peeled split mung beans are another good substitute for mung beans. They’re mild and slightly sweet as well and they have a soft texture when cooked. Use these beans to replace mung beans in dishes like salads, curries, soups, and more.

Adzuki beans

Adzuki beans

Adzuki beans also called red mung beans can also be used to replace mung beans in a pinch. These beans are mostly red, but they do have a beany, mild, nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

Use them in place of green gram in dishes like soup, curries, stews, and even bean paste. They can also be sprouted.

Strawberry beans

Strawberry beans

While these beans don’t look anything like mung beans, they can be used as a substitute. This is so because strawberry beans also have a slightly sweet, mild flavor with a smooth, creamy flavor. Use these beans for soup, stews, and as a side for meats.

Borlotti beans

Borlotti beans

Like cranberry beans, borlotti beans are another good alternative for mung beans. These beans have a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a smooth texture and can be used in soups, stews, salads, and more.



Lentils are very easy to find therefore they make another good substitute for mung beans. Also, lentils have a mild, nutty flavor. They’re also more peppery and earthy which adds other flavors but these seeds can be used in curries and soups. Even though they do not have a 100% similar flavor to mung beans.

FAQs about mung beans

Are mung beans the same as yellow lentils?

No, they are not the same thing. Mung beans are small, round green beans from the legume family while yellow lentils are small, flat disk-like, yellow seeds from the legume family. While both of these foods have a mild, nutty flavor, they look completely different. 

Are mung beans called anything else?

Yes, they are. Besides the name mung beans, they’re also called green gram, munggo, moong, and maash.

Final thoughts

Mung beans are great for making delicious recipes like coconut mung bean stew, hearty mung bean soups, mung bean noodles, and even mung bean pancakes. But, without green gram, it does not mean that you cannot make these yummy dishes. Thankfully, there are 6 easy ways to replace green gram (or mung beans) in many of these recipes!

And, while it is best to use the exact ingredients recommended when making a recipe, sometimes exact ingredients aren’t available and you have to make do with what you have! These green gram substitutes give you the opportunity to use other ingredients to get similar results. So, if you have any of these in your kitchen then continue on with your recipe, and happy cooking!

Are you making a dish that calls for mung beans and you can't seem to find it? Are you looking for suitable substitutes for mung beans? If you are, then you will love this list of 6 mung beans substitutes that are worth trying.

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