Learn About Chickpeas

Author: Chef Toby

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What are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are a type of legume, or bean, that are very popular in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and India. Also known as garbanzo beans, these are round, tan-colored balls that are the size of a small marble. They are usually found dry or canned. 

What Do Chickpeas Taste Like?

Chickpeas are mild and nutty in flavor, making them a great base for stronger spices and seasonings.

How Can You Eat Chickpeas?

Chickpeas can be eaten in a variety of ways. Dried chickpeas must be soaked before use, but canned chickpeas can be used directly after draining. They can be added to soups, stews, salads, and spreads. Chickpeas can also be baked with seasonings and turned crunchy, making them a great addition to salads, soups, or just to be snacked on by themselves. 

Dried chickpeas can also be ground and turned into chickpea flour, which can be used as an alternative to wheat flour by those with gluten or wheat sensitivities. 

Learn About Chickpeas

Where Can You Buy Chickpeas?

Canned chickpeas can be found at most grocery stores, near the canned beans. Dried garbanzos can be harder to come by, and can be found at health food stores or well-stocked supermarkets. 

How Do You Store Chickpeas? 

Canned chickpeas and dried chickpeas should be stored in a cool, dry place. Dry chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container to keep them fresh for up to six months. Canned chickpeas that have been opened can be stored in an airtight container inside of the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Fun Fact About Chickpeas:

While the majority of the chickpeas seen at U.S. grocery stores are tan, there are other varieties that come in different colors such as green, brown, black, and red.

Did You Know?

Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, which is a dip commonly eaten in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It is made by blending the hummus with tahini, or sesame seed puree, lemon, olive oil, and seasonings such as garlic, paprika, and cumin. It is also the main ingredient in Middle Eastern falafel, and Indian chana masala.

Recipes Using Chickpeas

Chickpea Hummus

This classic dip tastes even better when made at home! In a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute. Then, add olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the mixture, and blend again. Once the ingredients are incorporated, add in canned, drained chickpeas in batches. Blend in cold water in small amounts to adjust to consistency.

Watch our video on how to make hummus.

yummy hummus recipe
How To Make Hummus Video

Curried Chickpeas

Bring Indian flavors into your kitchen in a flash with quick curried chickpeas. In a skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add in a drained can of chickpeas, canned tomato sauce, water, and curry powder. Add chopped cilantro and simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve with steamed rice for a complete meal.

NOTE: Make your own curry powder by combining spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Authentic Falafel

In a large glass bowl, soak dried chickpeas in water and baking soda. Let the chickpeas sit for at least 24 hours. In a food processor, combine the drained chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, dill, olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, and baking powder. Blend the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated and turn into a dough. Roll small balls or patties of the dough and fry them in a saucepan filled with hot oil until golden brown on the outside. Serve the falafel with pita bread, yogurt sauce, and cucumbers.

Roasted Chickpeas

In a colander, drain a can of chickpeas, and lay them on to a clean dish towel to pat them dry. Transfer the chickpeas into a bowl and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the seasonings of your choice, (we really love paprika and garlic powder.) Spread the beans onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until the beans are crispy.

Creamy Tomato Soup

This dairy-free tomato soup lacks no creaminess, thanks to canned chickpeas! In a stockpot, sauté onion, garlic, and olive oil until fragrant, and then add chopped fresh tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, a thyme sprig, and a bay leaf. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and cooked thoroughly. Add in balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, to taste. Remove the herbs and add a can of chickpeas. Blend the soup with a hand blender until smooth, and serve the soup with toasted croutons.

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