Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world. With their mild flavour and buttery texture, there are a multitude of ways to use chickpeas in all kinds of recipes.
Beyond their versatility and taste, chickpeas are nutrient powerhouses! Chickpeas are loaded with:
- Fibre to support digestion, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar balance
- Iron for energy levels
- Plant-based protein, which can help repair tissues, build muscle and connective tissues, balance blood sugar, and support the immune system
- Folate to support the brain and nervous system
- Zinc for immune, skin, and reproductive health
- Studies on chickpeas demonstrate they may help to lower the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, certain types of cancers, and Type 2 diabetes
The Best Way to Cook Chickpeas
Whenever possible, we opt for dried chickpeas and then cook them ourselves. This option is less expensive than canned chickpeas, plus we skip the packaging waste, excess sodium, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the can lining such as bisphenol A. We like to cook them in huge batches, then portion them into containers in the freezer. If dried beans aren’t available or convenient, aim for BPA-free cans (there are even some of our Culinary Nutrition Experts around the world who can get them pre-cooked in glass jars!).
To get started with using dried chickpeas, grab our complete Guide to Cooking Beans here.
Trouble Digesting Chickpeas?
Beans and legumes can be challenging to digest due to their high content of fibre and complex carbohydrates. If you’re not used to eating them, things can get quite musical! There are many ways you can prep and cook chickpeas to lower their gas-inducing factor: learn how right over here.
10 WAYS TO USE CHICKPEAS
In no particular order, here are some of our favourite ways to use chickpeas along with recipe inspiration.
You knew this had to be top on the list of best ways to use chickpeas! Basic hummus includes cooked chickpeas, lemon, garlic, sea salt, and tahini and then you can jazz it up as desired with additional spices, herbs, and veggies like roasted red peppers, artichokes, root vegetables, or dark leafy greens.
Also, be sure to check out our founder Meghan Telpner making hummus with her toddler in this video!
Looking for a crunchy snack to replace potato chips? Toss your chickpeas in oven-safe cooking oil, salt and spices, and roast until they are crispy. Roasted chickpeas are great on their own, packed into lunchboxes as a nut-free option, or can be used as ‘croutons’ atop a salad or soup.
Recipe to Try: Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas by Sondi Bruner
Soups and Stews
One of our favourite ways to incorporate chickpeas is in soups and stews. You can toss chickpeas into virtually any one-pot meal for added protein, texture, flavour, and fibre. Blended chickpeas are a wonderful dairy-free thickener in place of cream or flour for soups and stews, too.
Cookies, Blondies and Brownies
Yes, chickpeas are fantastic in baked goods like chocolate chickpea cookies, blondies and brownies. They have a mild flavour, and add a whomp of protein and fibre to elevate the nutrition of your baked goods. The key to using chickpeas in your gluten-free baking is to blend them really well in a food processor or blender so you can’t detect their texture.
A good salad is more than just lettuce! Our theory is you need at least six or seven toppings in order for a salad to be delicious. We adore adding cooked chickpeas to salads. Or, you can skip the greens entirely and make chickpeas the base of your salad.
Mashed chickpeas, when mixed with cashew cream, avocado, hummus, or vegan mayo, can replicate a fantastic vegan ‘tuna’ or sandwich spread.
Chickpeas, as well as most beans and legumes, are wonderful in veggie burgers because they offer a sturdy, meat-like texture in addition to their health benefits. Burger recipes are easy to make in large batches to stash in the freezer for those days when you want a quick, nutritious meal without a lot of hassle.
Plant-Based Meat Crumble
Pulsing chickpeas in a food processor, or giving them a rough mash until they are crumbly, transforms them into a vegan ground ‘meat’ that you can use in pasta sauces, chili, stews, tacos, meatloaf, etc. Check out these 10 whole food plant-based meat substitutes for more ideas!
Falafels are Middle Eastern fritters made with chickpeas, herbs and spices. Use them in sandwiches, wraps, salads, or on their own as a snack. Falafels are traditionally deep-fried, but you can also pan-fry or bake them.
If you’ve got some dried or canned chickpeas kicking around in your pantry, we hope all of these chickpea recipes have inspired you to put them to good use.