Pigeon peas are a staple in many Caribbean, Central American, and South American countries due to their high protein concentration.
But if you’re trying to enjoy dishes such as rice and pigeon peas – the classic side dish of traditional Jamaican cuisine – without the legume, then what do you substitute?
Fortunately, an array of options to substitute for pigeon peas can work just as well or even better.
In this article, we’ll look at the best alternatives for your favorite recipe and discuss how they may benefit your health.
Read on to discover which replacement will suit you!
What Are Pigeon Peas?
Pigeon peas, also known as Toor dal or Arhar dal, are a type of small, round legume widely consumed in India and parts of East Africa.
The dried seeds have a nutty flavor and can be used to make curries, soups, stews, salads, side dishes and even desserts.
Pigeon peas are highly nutritious and a good source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
They can be cooked whole or split into two halves for a quicker cooking time.
They are commonly boiled with spices in India to make a gravy-like dish served over steamed rice or rotis (flatbread).
Pigeon peas are also used in other preparations, such as sambar (lentil stew) and dal (lentil soup).
They are a popular ingredient in traditional Caribbean dishes like peas and rice or pelau.
Substitute For Pigeon Peas
Pigeon peas have a unique flavor essential to many dishes, but if not available, cooking can be achieved with substitutes.
Here are some options to substitute for pigeon peas:
Red Lentils, also known as Masoor Dal, are a type of small, split legume and one of the most popular pulses in Indian cuisine.
Red lentils are smaller than other lentils and have a sweet flavor with earthy undertones when cooked.
They cook much faster than other legumes due to their size, making them an excellent time-saving option for busy cooks.
Red lentils are often used in soups, stews, curries, pilafs, and stuffed vegetables.
They can also be used to thicken sauces or mixed with rice dishes.
Red lentils are a good substitute for pigeon peas, as they have similar flavors and textures when cooked.
Both are excellent sources of protein, fiber, folate, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Red lentils are lower in calories than pigeon peas, which makes them a healthier choice for those looking to watch their calorie intake.
Kidney beans are a type of legume that is widely used in many different cuisines around the world.
They are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals, making them very nutritious.
In addition to their nutritional value, kidney beans have a distinctive flavor and texture, making them a great ingredient for preparing many dishes.
When used in cooking, kidney beans can be an ingredient in various dishes.
They are especially popular in Mexican and Indian cuisines, where they are cooked with spices to create flavorful dishes like chili con carne and dal.
Kidney beans can be used instead of other legumes, such as pigeon peas.
This is because they have similar nutritional value and cooking properties to other legumes, making them an ideal substitution.
In addition, kidney beans are much more readily available than pigeon peas, making it easier to find them in stores or online.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are edible legumes packed with nutrition and flavor.
They’re widely available in grocery stores in both dried and canned forms.
They have a mild nutty flavor and can be used in many dishes like soups, stews, and curries.
Due to their nutty flavor, they can be used as a tasty substitute for pigeon peas.
One notable difference between chickpeas and pigeon peas is their texture; pigeon peas have a firmer, more mealy texture than chickpeas, which are softer and creamier.
White beans are a variety of legumes native to the Mediterranean region and America.
They are small, oval-shaped beans with white skins; they can be dried or canned.
White beans are a great source of dietary fiber, manganese, folate, thiamin, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
White beans are also high in fiber and protein, making them an excellent choice for vegetarian dishes.
White beans can make soups, stews, salads, and dips.
They can also be mashed or pureed and used in various dishes, such as casseroles, pasta sauces, and baked goods.
Pigeon peas have a very similar texture, flavor and nutritional profile as white beans, so they can be used interchangeably.
Additionally, white beans are a much more accessible ingredient than pigeon peas, which may only be available in specialty stores.
Green peas, also known as garden peas or English peas, are a type of legume cultivated for thousands of years.
Green peas contain vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium, potassium and fiber.
The small green orbs are sweet when cooked and can be used in various dishes, from salads to soups to stews.
Green peas can also be used as a healthy snack or added to trail mixes or granola bars for nutrition and crunch.
Green peas can substitute for pigeon peas in dishes.
The sweetness of green peas adds an interesting flavor to the dish while providing all the nutrition pigeon peas offer.
Green peas are also easier to find than pigeon peas, making them more accessible for home cooks.
Additionally, green peas are generally much less expensive than pigeon peas.
Black Beans are a nutrient-rich variety of beans that can be used in many different dishes.
They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and low in fat – making them a great choice.
Additionally, they contain essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, thiamin, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
Black Beans can be used in various dishes, from soups to salads to rice dishes.
When substituting for pigeon peas, black beans are an excellent choice because they have similar properties.
They’re both high in fiber and protein, making them beneficial for weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
They also have a mild, earthy flavor that works well in many dishes.
Black Beans may require longer cooking times than pigeon peas, but their fiber content will help keep you feeling full for longer.
Lima beans, or Phaseolus lunatus, are legumes native to Central and South America.
They are starchy and nutty in flavor and resemble buttery green peas in texture.
They contain high levels of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, making them a healthy and nutritious addition to any meal.
When cooked, they can be eaten alone as a side dish or used in various recipes such as soups, stews, and curries.
Furthermore, their creamy texture makes them an excellent addition to salads and dips.
Lima beans can also be dried for use later as they retain their flavor for quite some time.
Lima beans can substitute for pigeon peas in many recipes as they have a similar taste and texture.
Are Pigeon Peas And Chickpeas Similar?
No, pigeon peas and chickpeas are not the same.
Pigeon peas, as do chickpeas, belong to the legume family, but they are two different varieties with slightly different flavors and textures.
Are Pigeon Peas Similar To Lima Beans?
No, pigeon peas and lima beans are not related.
Pigeon peas, or toor dal or red gram, are a small-seeded legume native to India and parts of Africa.
On the other hand, Lima Beans are larger-seeded beans that have origins in Central and South America.
Are Pigeon Peas Similar To Lentils?
No, pigeon peas and lentils are two very different types of legumes.
Pigeon peas have a more nutty flavor than lentils, and their texture is firmer when cooked.
They are also much smaller in size and darker in color than lentils.
Pigeon peas are a tasty and nutritious legume that can be used in various dishes.
However, many other types of legumes can substitute for pigeon peas if they are not available.
Red lentils, chickpeas, green peas, kidney beans, black beans, white beans and lima beans can all be alternatives to pigeon peas.
These legumes are nutritious and can be used in many dishes, making them a great substitution option.
With their versatile flavor and texture, they provide an excellent alternative to pigeon peas in any recipe.