Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans are a versatile little pulse. They come as dried beans, pre-cooked in cans and even have their own name of flour – gram flour. They can be used in a wide variety of dishes that are hot and cold, sweet or savoury. A good source of plant-based protein, chickpeas also pack a nutritional punch containing a good amount of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and fibre.
For the International Year of Pulses I’m profiling some of the many varieties of pulses available, covering their nutritional value, preparation and storage as well as a variety of recipes for inspiration. First up, the humble chickpea.
Nutrition facts about chickpeas
From their dry state, chickpeas do demand a time commitment to prepare them properly. Or at least some forward planning. They need to be soaked in plenty of water overnight, drained then brought to the boil in a pot with fresh water, simmering for approximately 1 1/4 hours until tender.
If you fail to pre-soak your chickpeas, you’re probably looking about about a four hour cooking time! Canned chickpeas are a suitable (and much more convenient) alternative, just look for varieties that have minimal salt added and ensure you rinse well before using in your recipe.
Not only does pre-soaking make chickpeas quicker to cook, it makes them more digestible and improves their nutritional value. Presoaking reduces the amount of phytate present in the beans. Phytate binds to nutrients like iron and calcium reducing how bioavailable they are. By presoaking, more of these nutrients becomes available for your body to absorb – particularly important for vegetarians and vegans.
Storing and freezing chickpeas
Cooked chickpeas can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container or plastic resealable bag, without any liquid. For longer storage, chickpeas can be frozen and stored in the freezer for 1 year.
To freeze chickpeas, spread the cooked chickpeas in a single layer onto a baking tray covered in baking paper and freeze for 30 minutes. Once they are semi-frozen they can be then poured into an airtight container or resealable bag without fear of the beans sticking, allowing for easy use in the future.
More than hummus, chickpeas can be used in a wide variety of recipes! Check out some of the following:
- Chickpea chocolate chip cookies
- Chickpea blondie cookies – Nics Nutrition
- Chocolate chickpea protein brownies – Nics Nutrition
- Choc orange protein brownies – Zanna Van Dijk
- White chocolate pecan blondies – Zanna Van Dijk
- Cinnamon and honey coated chickpeas – The Culinary Jumble
- Maple roasted chickpeas – Great Food Lifestyle
- Spicy roast chickpeas
- Tandoori roasted chickpeas – The Organic Dietitian
- Chickpea crackers The Chef Salad
- Crispy sriracha lime chickpeas – Healthy aperture
- Lemon basil roasted chickpeas – The almond eater
- Honey roasted chickpeas with turkish seasoning – Fox Valley Foodie
Bread, dough & batter
- Natural protein smoothie – Sprouted Fig
- Chocolate chickpea shake – The Flaming Vegan
- Blueberry white chocolate bean smoothie – A Stool at the Counter
- Berry bean smoothie – Tiny Green Mom
- Green smoothie fresh mint cucumber garbanzo beans
- Sweet potato chickpea risotto – Expert Dietitian
- Chickpea quinoa burgers with halloumi – Souvlaki for the Soul
- Baked dakos with spiced chickpeas, tomato and feta – Ottolenghi
- Chickpea sauce with greek yoghurt – Serious Eats
- Chickpea salad with feta and mint – Jamie Oliver
- Chickpeas zucchini burger – Kiip Fit
- Kale Caesar salad recipe with chickpeas – Teaspoon of spice
Dips & Spreads
- Chickpea porridge – Green spirit adventures
Share your favourite chickpea recipes below!