(Last Updated On: March 9, 2022)

What Are Chickpeas?

When I first started eating plant-based, I heard a lot about chickpeas. But I didn’t know much about them. I asked a lot of questions such as, are chickpeas healthy? What are recipes I can make with them? And What are chickpeas? Look no further for your ultimate guide to chickpeas and why you should include these amazing beans in your diet!

What Are Chickpeas?

These little round spheres are known as Garbanzo beans or Chana. They are a type of legume, which means a plant that bears its fruit inside a pod. Other legumes are peas and lentils. They were originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Although there are other colors, the most common form you will see in stores are the beige chickpeas. They come in both dried and canned forms.

Are Chickpeas Healthy?

Chickpeas are packed with nutrients and are a protein powerhouse, and 1 cup of chickpeas has more protein than 2 eggs! Chickpeas are also high in fiber, so you will feel full and satiated for a longer period of time.  This means less snack cravings, which is a big bonus.  They are also a significant source of iron, providing 25-50% of our daily needs. Additional health benefits from eating chickpeas include improved blood sugar, bone strength maintenance, low blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do chickpeas have aquafaba?
Aquafaba is actually the name of the cooking liquid or brine from beans and other legumes like chickpeas.  Even the water from tofu and peas is considered aquafaba.  It is referenced a lot because it is commonly used in plant-based cooking as an egg replacement.

How do I cook my own chickpeas?
I prefer soaking and cooking my beans and legumes over buying them in a can, if I have the time. See my handy guide here for how to cook chickpeas.

Where can I find chickpeas?
Although chickpeas can come in colors such as green, black and brown, the most common type of chickpea is ‘Kabuli-style’.  These are the type you will find in the grocery store and are little beige spheres, found near the canned beans and vegetables, labeled ‘Chickpea’ or ‘Garbanzo’.

How do I use chickpeas in recipes?
Chickpeas are extremely versatile.  You are probably most familiar with hummus, which is found in several styles and flavors in grocery stores.  I make the oil-free hummus you see to the right on a regular basis. Hummus can be eaten with pita bread, vegetables as a dip, or on sandwiches and wraps.  However, beyond hummus there are so many possibilities for chickpeas.  See below for a few ideas!


Smashed Chickpea Avocado Salad for Sandwiches

I make Chickpea Avocado on a regular basis. It’s filling, nutritious, light and refreshing. This Chickpea Salad recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod is so quick, simple and delicious. Perfect for a quick lunch.

Simple Chickpea Curry

If you’re looking to get a little more crazy with the chickpea recipes, you can make my simple Chickpea Curry recipe which is an easy one to throw together!

Easy Chana Masala

Or, you can try your hand at this Chana Masala by Minimalist baker. It’s a not-to-difficult but a good stretch meal to try. If you love Indian food like us, I say put this on your list for a hearty dinner or lunch and it will knock your socks off.  As always, we omitted the oil.  See our oil-free post for tips on cooking without oil.