Tarbais Beans Substitute: We Tested 10+ Options!

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Tarbais beans, renowned for their creamy texture and distinct flavor, are a staple in French cuisine, particularly in traditional dishes like cassoulet. However, what if you find yourself without these sought-after beans?

Fear not, as we explore the world of Tarbais bean substitutes – how to choose the right one, use it effectively, and make comparisons that suit your culinary needs.

10+ Tarbais Beans Substitutes For Your Next Try

Tarbais beans can be substituted with similar types like Cannellini beans for a similar texture and taste. Other alternatives include Great Northern beans or Navy beans, which can be used in recipes that call for Tarbais beans.

Here’s a comparison table provides an overview of the key characteristics of Cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, and Navy beans, making it easier to choose the best substitute based on your culinary preferences and the requirements of your recipe.

CharacteristicCannellini BeansGreat Northern BeansNavy Beans
TextureCreamy and smoothCreamy and tenderCreamy and firm
FlavorNutty with a mild tasteMild and slightly nuttyMild and slightly sweet
SizeMedium-sizedMedium-sizedSmall to medium-sized
ColorWhite or ivoryWhiteWhite
Common DishesCassoulet, salads, soupsCasseroles, soups, stewsBaked beans, soups, stews
Culinary ComplementMediterranean dishesVersatile, adaptable to recipesCommon in American cuisine
Cooking TimeSimilar to Tarbais beansSimilar to Tarbais beansSimilar to Tarbais beans
AvailabilityWidely availableWidely availableWidely available

For those looking to replicate the rich, creamy texture and delicate flavor of Tarbais beans, there are several suitable substitutes available.

Cannellini beans, known for their creamy texture and nutty flavor, make an excellent alternative for dishes such as cassoulet or bean salads.

Similarly, Great Northern beans and Navy beans offer a comparable texture and taste, making them suitable replacements for Tarbais beans in various recipes.

By understanding these alternatives, you can easily substitute Tarbais beans while maintaining the intended flavor and consistency of your dishes.

Let’s expore the best substitutes for Tarbais Beans – 

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are a fantastic alternative to white beans. They are similar in size, shape, and texture, making them suitable for most recipes that call for white beans.

These mild-flavored beans have a delicate creamy texture and work well in soups, stews, casseroles, and even dips.

If you’re wondering how to use Great Northern beans as a substitute, here are a few ideas:

  • Add cooked Great Northern beans to your favorite chili recipe. They will provide a creamy texture and mild taste.
  • Mash cooked Great Northern beans and season them with herbs and spices for a delicious bean dip.
  • Include Great Northern beans in vegetable soups for added protein and creaminess.

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are another excellent alternative to white beans. These large and creamy beans have a slightly nutty flavor, which adds depth to dishes.

Cannellini beans are commonly used in Italian cuisines, particularly in pasta dishes, salads, and spreads.

Here are a few ways you can substitute white beans with Cannellini beans:

  • Use mashed Cannellini beans as a base for creamy pasta sauces instead of white beans.
  • Toss Cannellini beans into salads for a protein boost and a creamy texture.
  • Make a delicious and hearty Tuscan white bean soup using Cannellini beans as the main ingredient.

Whether you opt for Great Northern beans or Cannellini beans, both options will provide a similar texture and taste to white beans, allowing you to enjoy your favorite recipes without compromising on flavor or quality.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a popular and flavorful substitute for Tarbais beans in various dishes. With their smooth texture and rich taste, kidney beans are known for their ability to absorb flavors from other ingredients.

They are often used in traditional dishes like chili, soups, and stews. Kidney beans are also a great source of protein and fiber, making them a healthy choice for those looking for an alternative to Tarbais beans.

Pinto Beans

Another excellent substitute for Tarbais beans is pinto beans. These beans have a creamy texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

Pinto beans are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, especially in dishes like refried beans, enchiladas, and burritos.

They can be easily cooked and mashed to create a smooth and delicious filling for various recipes.

Pinto beans are also packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, and iron, making them a nutritious choice for any meal.

Turtle Beans

Turtle beans, also known as black beans, are an excellent substitute for Tarbais beans in various dishes.

They share a similar taste and texture, making them an ideal alternative in recipes such as cassoulet or bean salads.

Black-eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are another great option to replace Tarbais beans in your recipes. These beans have a slightly nutty flavor and a creamy texture, making them a versatile substitute for dishes like soups and stews.

Navy Beans

Navy beans, also known as haricot beans, are small, creamy-white beans that are a great alternative to Tarbais beans.

They have a mild flavor and a creamy texture when cooked, making them suitable for various dishes such as soups, stews, and bean salads.

Their mild flavor can help them blend well with other ingredients in recipes that call for Tarbais beans.

Lima Beans

Lima beans, popular for their buttery texture and delicate flavor, can also be used as a substitute for Tarbais beans.

These beans are slightly larger and have a rich, starchy taste that can complement hearty dishes or stand out in simple preparations.

With their creamy texture, Lima beans can add a smooth and velvety element to dishes that traditionally include Tarbais beans.


Lentils are a type of legume that come in various colors, such as green, brown, and red.

They are tiny, lens-shaped legumes that cook relatively quickly, making them a convenient and nutritious option.

One advantage of using lentils as a substitute for Tarbais beans is their similar texture.

Like Tarbais beans, lentils have a firm yet creamy consistency that works well in soups, stews, and even salads.

They also absorb flavors well, making them a versatile ingredient in a wide range of dishes.

Here are some reasons why lentils make an excellent non-bean substitute:

  • Lentils are high in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious choice.
  • They are an affordable option and can be easily found in most grocery stores.
  • Lentils are quick-cooking, often requiring less cook time compared to other legumes.


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another fantastic non-bean substitute for Tarbais beans.

These legumes have a slightly nutty flavor and a firm texture, which makes them a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

Chickpeas can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, making them incredibly versatile.

Whether you’re making a hearty curry or a tasty hummus dip, chickpeas can be a flavorful alternative to Tarbais beans.

Here are some reasons why chickpeas make an excellent non-bean substitute:

  • Chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber, promoting a healthy diet.
  • They are widely available and can be found canned or dried in most grocery stores.
  • Chickpeas have a natural creaminess that adds depth to various dishes.

When using lentils or chickpeas as substitutes for Tarbais beans, keep in mind that they may alter the overall flavor profile of your recipe slightly.

However, their unique characteristics can bring a new and delicious twist to your culinary creations.

Give these non-bean substitutes a try and see how they elevate your dishes to new heights!

Butter Beans

Butter beans are large and creamy, resembling Tarbais beans in texture. They have a mild flavor, making them adaptable for use in various recipes such as soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cranberry Beans

Cranberry beans, also known as borlotti beans, are medium-sized with a creamy texture.

While their color differs from Tarbais beans, they can be a flavorful substitute, especially in salads or Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

How to choose the best Substitutes for Tarbais Beans

Choosing the best substitutes for Tarbais beans involves considering various factors, including flavor, texture, and the specific culinary context of your dish.

Here’s a guide to help you choose the most suitable alternatives:

Consider Flavor Profiles:

Tarbais beans are known for their creamy texture and subtle nutty flavor. When choosing a substitute, consider the flavor profile of the dish you’re preparing.

Pinto beans, cannellini beans, or butter beans may offer similar creaminess and a mild taste.

Assess Texture:

Tarbais beans are prized for their creamy and delicate texture. Look for substitutes with a similar creaminess to ensure that the dish maintains its desired mouthfeel.

Cannellini beans, butter beans, or flageolet beans are good options in this regard.

Adaptability to Recipes:

Some substitutes work better in certain recipes than others. For example, pinto beans might be excellent in Mexican dishes, while flageolet beans could be more fitting for French-inspired cuisine. Consider the adaptability of the substitute to the specific dish you’re preparing.

Culinary Heritage:

Pay attention to the culinary heritage of the substitute. If authenticity is important, choose a substitute with a culinary background similar to Tarbais beans.

Flageolet beans, for instance, have French origins and can work well in traditional French recipes.

Experiment with Different Beans:

Don’t be afraid to experiment with various bean varieties. Taste them on their own to understand their individual flavors and textures.

This experimentation will help you discover which substitutes align best with your preferences and the requirements of your recipe.

Consider Color:

While not a critical factor, consider the color of the substitute beans. Tarbais beans are pale with a speckled appearance.

If visual appeal is essential to your dish, choose a substitute with a similar color, such as flageolet or cannellini beans.

Readily Available Options:

Availability is a practical consideration. Opt for substitutes that are readily available in your local grocery store or market.

Common substitutes like cannellini beans, butter beans, or pinto beans are usually widely accessible.

Adaptable in Various Dishes:

Choose a substitute that is versatile and can work well in various dishes. This flexibility ensures that you can use the substitute in a range of recipes, expanding your culinary options.

Consider Regional Alternatives:

Explore beans with regional similarities to Tarbais beans. For instance, if you’re preparing a dish inspired by Southern cuisine, black-eyed peas could be a flavorful and culturally fitting substitute.

Ask for Recommendations:

If you’re uncertain, ask for recommendations from experienced cooks or check reputable culinary sources.

Online forums and cooking communities can provide valuable insights into tried-and-tested substitutes.

In summary, choosing the best substitutes for Tarbais beans involves a thoughtful consideration of flavor, texture, and culinary context.

Experimentation, coupled with an understanding of the unique characteristics of each substitute, will guide you toward selecting alternatives that enhance your dishes with delightful flavors and textures.

How to use Tarbais Beans Substitutes Effectively In Recipes

Effectively using Tarbais bean substitutes in recipes requires attention to cooking techniques, flavor pairings, and adjustments to accommodate the characteristics of the chosen alternative.

Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your chosen substitutes in various recipes:

Adjust Cooking Times:

Different beans have varying cooking times. Adjust your cooking times according to the substitute you’ve chosen to ensure that the beans reach the desired tenderness.

Keep in mind that some beans may require longer or shorter cooking durations.

Experiment with Flavors:

Embrace the unique flavor of the substitute while staying true to the essence of your dish.

Experiment with herbs, spices, and other seasonings to complement the flavor profile of the chosen beans.

For example, if using pinto beans as a substitute, consider flavors common in Mexican cuisine like cumin and chili powder.

Balance Texture:

Pay attention to the texture of the substitute beans. If your recipe calls for the creamy texture of Tarbais beans, make sure the substitute offers a similar mouthfeel.

Adjust the cooking process or incorporate additional ingredients to achieve the desired balance.

Consider Recipe Adaptations:

Some substitutes work better in certain recipes. Adapt your recipe to the characteristics of the chosen substitute.

For example, if using butter beans in a cassoulet, consider their larger size and adjust the proportions and cooking times accordingly.

Complementary Ingredients:

Ensure that the substitute beans pair well with other ingredients in your recipe.

Consider the flavor profiles of accompanying vegetables, meats, and spices to create a harmonious blend. Cannellini beans, for instance, work well with Mediterranean flavors.

Explore Culinary Traditions:

Embrace the culinary traditions associated with the substitute beans. Integrate flavors and techniques that align with the cultural background of the chosen beans. This enhances the authenticity of your dish.

Use in Casseroles and Stews:

Beans are often used in casseroles and stews where their creamy texture and ability to absorb flavors shine.

Whether you’re making a cassoulet, chili, or bean stew, the substitute beans can effectively absorb the essence of the dish.

Incorporate in Salads:

Substitute beans can be a delightful addition to salads. Use them in cold salads with fresh vegetables, herbs, and vinaigrette to create a refreshing and nutritious dish.

Try in Bean Soups:

Experiment with substitute beans in bean soups. The creamy texture of the beans can enhance the overall richness of the soup.

Adjust the cooking time to ensure the beans are fully cooked and contribute to the soup’s hearty consistency.

Blend in Vegetarian Dishes:

Beans are commonly used in vegetarian dishes. Incorporate the substitute beans into vegetarian recipes like bean burgers, bean-based dips, or grain bowls for a protein-rich and satisfying alternative.

Garnish or Side Dish:

Use substitute beans as a garnish or side dish to complement the main course. This allows you to showcase the unique characteristics of the beans without overpowering the entire dish.

Remember that the key to effective use lies in experimentation and adaptation. Taste and adjust as you go along, allowing the flavors and textures of the substitute beans to shine in your chosen recipes.


Choosing, using, and comparing Tarbais bean substitutes involves a delicate balance of flavors, textures, and culinary traditions.

Whether you’re crafting a classic cassoulet or experimenting with new recipes, understanding the nuances of each substitute empowers you to create dishes that captivate the palate.

Embrace the versatility of these alternatives, and let your culinary journey with Tarbais bean substitutes be a delightful exploration of flavors and textures.

Happy cooking!

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