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.
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!
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!
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.