What can I use instead of borlotti beans? The best substitutes for borlotti beans are red beans: pinto, Mexican, red kidney, and Anasazi beans. White beans are good alternatives, including Great Northern beans, navy beans, and cannellini beans. Try black beans as an unusual substitute.
Borlotti, or cranberry beans, with speckled red and brown skins, belong to the red bean family. They are common in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish cuisine. Borlotti beans are deliciously creamy and nutty, often combined with bold flavors, in rich soups, stews, and salads.
Here are the eight best substitutes for borlotti beans.
The Best Borlotti Beans Substitutes
The best substitutes for borlotti beans are pinto beans.
Also classified as red beans, pinto beans have beautiful beige dappled skins and are called painted, speckled, or strawberry beans.
Like borlotti beans, pinto beans are rich in fiber, protein, manganese, copper, and vitamin B. They are an ideal protein source for vegetarians.
Pinto beans are the original choice for refried beans and appear in Mexican and Peruvian dishes. The beans have become popular in the US, primarily used in Tex-Mex cuisine.
With their velvety texture and creamy flavor, pinto beans have a thin skin, so they cook down to softness, making them perfect for soups.
Pinto beans can replace borlotti beans in most recipes, especially baked beans, chili, rice dishes, curry, dips, and stews.
Use equal quantities of pinto beans as borlotti beans, noting that pintos are smaller and have a slightly more delicate flavor.
Red Mexican Or Chili Beans
Small red Mexican or chili beans are another delicious replacement for borlotti beans.
These tasty beans are typically used in Mexican cuisine. They get their name as chili beans from being used in chili con carne – they are not spicy tasting.
Hearty and filling, small red beans look and taste like their larger cousins, red kidney beans. They are similarly rich in protein, fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and phytonutrients.
Mexican beans have a lovely nuttiness and are particularly good in long-simmered, well-seasoned bean dishes.
Replace borlotti beans with small red beans in dishes like Cajun red beans and rice with andouille sausage, chili, and Caribbean red bean and pork stew.
Use small red beans in equal proportions to borlotti beans.
Red Kidney Beans
Another member of the red bean family, red kidney beans are an excellent substitute for borlotti beans.
Originally from South America, red kidney beans are an ancient staple food. They have beautiful dark mahogany skins, characteristically hearty flavor, and firm texture – although their name comes from their unfortunate similarity to organ meat.
These beans are some of the most nutritious legumes, packing a fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B punch.
Use red kidney beans instead of borlotti beans in succotash, chili, refried beans, stew, or pickled three-bean salad.
They are also ideal for the American south staple, red beans and rice, and make fantastic veggie burgers.
Replace borlotti beans 1:1 with red kidney beans.
Anasazi beans are a terrific substitute for borlotti beans.
Cultivated for over 1,000 years by the Anasazi people of the American South-West, these oval-shaped beans have distinctive burgundy skins, spotted with white.
They were traditionally grown alongside corn, using the sturdier plant as a climbing trellis and enriching the soil. Today, they are marketed as heirloom vegetables.
Anasazi beans are related to pinto and other South American red bean varieties. They share their nutritional value, forming part of a heart-healthy, low-fat diet.
Also known as New Mexico cave beans and Jacob’s Cattle beans, these red beans have a mild, sweetish flavor with a delightful nuttiness. They are notably quick cooking.
Replace borlotti beans with an equal quantity of Anasazi beans, especially in refried and baked beans, soups, and stews.
Great Northern Beans
Great Northern beans are a versatile alternative to borlotti beans.
These medium to large-sized beans are commonly used members of the white bean family and contain protein and fiber.
They are particularly rich in B vitamins, including thiamin, folate, niacin, and riboflavin.
Great Northern beans work well as a borlotti bean substitute in soups and baked casseroles (like cassoulet); both varieties break down, forming a delicious broth.
They make tasty dips and spreads but are unsuitable for salads.
Use Great Northern beans as a volume-to-volume replacement for borlotti beans.
Another white bean, navy beans, are a tasty substitute for borlotti beans.
Known as navy beans because of their association with the US Navy, these small beans (or peas) have a particularly long shelf life and high nutritional value.
They are a perfect source of protein when cooked with rice, so they are an excellent meat alternative.
Navy beans have a mild, slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture, pairing well with robust flavors. With their rich, smokey flavor, Boston baked beans are traditionally made with navy beans.
Like borlotti beans, navy beans cook down soft and become mashable without being mushy or watery. They can, therefore, replace borlotti beans in refried bean dishes and soups.
Use navy beans in slow-cooked stews with bacon and sausage, honey-glazed baked beans, or campfire beans.
Replace borlotti beans with the same amount of navy beans.
Cannellini or white kidney beans can be a handy alternative to borlotti beans.
Cannellini beans are large, hearty, and filling, packed with protein, potassium, magnesium and low-fat fiber.
Cannellini beans have a creamy texture and mild flavor, retaining their shape when cooked and absorbing flavors from other ingredients.
Replace borlotti beans with cannellini beans in traditional Italian and Portuguese soups and stews. They are perfect in salads or as a simple Tuscan-style side dish, simmered with garlic, olive oil, and sage.
Use equal quantities of cannellini beans to replace borlotti beans.
Black beans or turtle beans are an exciting substitute for borlotti beans.
Common in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, black beans are unusually high in protein and antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give black beans their distinctive color.
Black beans are medium-sized, thin-skinned beans with a delightfully earthy flavor. Their taste can stand up to vibrant ingredients like hot chili peppers, garlic, onions, cumin, and cardamom.
Replace borlotti beans with black beans in soups, stews, refried beans, rice dishes, and chili.
They also make delicious dips and salads. However, take care not to overcook black beans as they soften quickly and can lose shape.
Use black beans in a 1:1 ratio with borlotti beans, with the proviso that the color of your dish will change – black beans leach their color into the sauce or soup.