Pigeon peas, also known as gungo peas or Congo peas, are a popular ingredient in various cuisines around the world, especially in the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.

They are beloved for their versatile taste and texture that lend well to a wide range of dishes. But what happens when you run out of pigeon peas or if you’re catering to specific dietary needs, ingredient availability, or flavor preferences?

That’s where substitutes come in. In this guide, we delve into the world of pigeon pea substitutes that can seamlessly replace the ingredient in your cooking adventures.

👅 Flavor Profile

Pigeon peas have a unique flavor that is earthy, mildly sweet, and slightly nutty. When it comes to texture, the cooked peas have a smooth and somewhat creamy consistency that is satisfying to bite into.

They are often used in stews, soups, and rice dishes, providing a distinct taste and texture profile.

🔄 6 Best Pigeon Peas Substitutes

French green lentils

Green Lentils

Green lentils have a similar earthy flavor to pigeon peas and a satisfying bite that holds up well in various dishes. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio for pigeon peas. However, keep in mind that lentils cook faster, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Ratio: 1:1


Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, offer a slightly nuttier taste and can mimic the texture of pigeon peas, especially when cooked. Substitute them on a 1:1 ratio. Chickpeas may take a bit longer to cook, so plan your recipe accordingly.

Chickpeas substitutes here.

Ratio: 1:1

Black Eyed Peas

Black-eyed Peas

These beans have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that can replace pigeon peas in many recipes. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio. However, their cooking time is shorter than that of pigeon peas.

Ratio: 1:1

green peas

Canned Green Peas

Canned green peas provide a similar sweetness and have a somewhat softer texture. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio, but remember to adjust the cooking time as canned peas are already cooked and only need to be heated through.

Ratio: 1:1

kidney beans

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans can be used as a substitute due to their similar texture and slightly sweeter taste. Substitute them at a 1:1 ratio, keeping in mind that their cooking time is longer than pigeon peas.

Ratio: 1:1

cannellini beans

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are another option with a similar texture and slightly nuttier flavor. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio, and adjust your cooking time as cannellini beans tend to cook faster than pigeon peas.

Ratio: 1:1

⤵ Other substitutes

Lima Beans

Also known as butter beans, lima beans have a buttery texture and mildly sweet flavor that can work as a substitute in some dishes. Use a 1:1 substitution ratio.

Navy Beans

Navy beans offer a slightly different flavor but can replicate the texture of pigeon peas. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio.


Soybeans have a nuttier flavor and firmer texture, but can work as a substitute in some applications. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio.

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans can serve as a pigeon pea substitute due to their similar texture. However, their flavor is slightly different and can change the overall taste of the dish. Use a 1:1 substitution ratio.

💡 Tips and guidance

When substituting for pigeon peas, it’s crucial to consider the specific application in the recipe. For example, in stews or soups, lentils or beans with a similar texture and flavor profile, such as green lentils or chickpeas, would be the

best substitutes. However, in salads, green peas or black-eyed peas may offer a more similar taste and texture.

It’s also essential to adjust cooking times based on the substitute. For instance, lentils cook much quicker than pigeon peas, while chickpeas may take longer.

Remember, the goal of using substitutes is to mimic the original ingredient’s contribution to the dish as closely as possible, whether that’s in terms of flavor, texture, or both. So don’t be afraid to mix and match and experiment with different substitutes. As they say in the culinary world, the kitchen is your playground!


Although pigeon peas have a distinct flavor and texture that contribute significantly to various dishes, numerous substitutes can step in when they are not available or suitable. Whether you’re seeking alternatives due to dietary restrictions, ingredient availability, or personal flavor preferences, there’s a substitute that can deliver similar results. Happy experimenting with these pigeon pea substitutes and may your cooking journey bring you heaps of flavorful experiences!

Alex Bayev Photo
About me:

Hi, I'm Alex. I love to cook and bake, and I'm always looking for new recipes to try. I started this blog — to collect and share most delicious and easy recipes in one place. I remember, how many questions recipes raised to me, when I started cooking. To make sure that doesn't happen to you, I take step-by-step photos of the cooking process for every recipe so you can see how all the steps are supposed to go together, even if you're not following my recipes exactly.

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