Chickpeas

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 08. May. 2020

Chickpeas are not only delicious, but healthy to boot.

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  • ...are high in protein. Chickpeas’ rich protein content makes them an excellent ingredient for vegans and vegetarians.
  • ...are packed with magnesium. A 100 gram serving of chickpeas contains around 130 milligrams of this mineral, which plants an important role in the function of nerves and muscles.
  • ...can curb your appetite. In studies, Chinese and Australian scientists found that chickpeas’ high fiber content can help stabilize blood sugar level, keeping you full for a long time.
  • ...can help prevent iron deficiencies. Only 100 grams of chickpeas contain an impressive 6 mg of iron, yet another great element for vegetarians and vegans. The body can only make good use of this iron if supplemented with vitamin C, however, so try to consume some fruit or drink a glass of orange juice after your chickpea meal.
  • ...strengthen the bones. Chickpeas’ contain even more calcium than cow’s milk (124 milligrams per 100 gram serving) and high levels of phosphorus (332 milligrams), which combined can help strengthen the bones and the teeth.
  • ...can help you look and feel young. Chickpeas as anti-aging food? You could certainly say so: at around 3 milligrams of vitamin E per 100 grams, chickpeas help protect the skin from signs of aging and the body cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • ...are an incredibly versatile ingredient. cooked chickpeas (preferably from cans or jars) are suitable for filling salads, and also for soups and stews. Pureed, they can be used to make delicious, classic Middle Eastern spreads, such as tahini or hummus.

What You Should Know About Chickpeas

In Southern Europe, India, North Africa, the Middle East and all Arab countries, chickpeas have long been a significant, inexpensive culinary staple, utilized in many different ways. In Greece, for example, people like to nibble them roasted to make ouzo; in Italy chickpeas are consumed as strongly spiced porridge; in the Middle East, chickpeas become delicious fried balls (falafel), or the foundation of classic, protein-rich dips like hummus or tahini.

Kabuli chickpeas are the most well-known kind of chickpea. This variety is yellowish-beige and about double the size of a pea, and is grown primarily around the Mediterranean, in the Middle East and in Central and South America. Another variety, the so-called "Desi type", is smaller and darker. It is only cultivated in Africa, Asia and Australia, and is generally consumed almost exclusively in those continents as well, as it is hardly ever exported.
 

Origins

Chickpeas have been consumed in the Middle East for at least 8,000 years, and eventually became a staple in North Africa, India and ancient Rome. Today they grow wild like weeds in Asia and southern European countries. Chickpeas are cultivated in many countries, above all India and Pakiastan, North Africa, Spain and Turkey.

Flavor

Chickpeas have a very mild, slightly nutty taste.

Find all our chickpea recipes here.

How Healthy Are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are a miracle ingredient for vegetarians and vegans. A 100 gram serving contains 20 grams of protein, more than many types of meat, and 6 milligrams of iron, an important mineral that is rarely found in vegetables

Chickpeas are also rich in calcium; 100 grams contain 124 milligrams, more than cow’s milk.

And while chickpeas are high in calories, their significant fiber content can curb appetites, making them a good option for even dieters.

Chickpea Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 353
Protein 20 g
Fat 7 g
Carbohydrates 45 g
Fiber 15 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips For Chickpeas

Shopping

Dried or jarred chickpeas are available in every supermarket

Storage

Whether dried or canned, chickpeas keep almost indefinitely in their sealed packaging when stored in a cool, airy and dry place. Once opened, packages should be consumed in keeping with the expiration date.

If you’re buying organic, it is worth checking the chickpeas for small wormholes and disposing of any soiled beans if necessary.

Preparation

Dried chickpeas should be soaked in fresh water for 8-12 hours before preparing, which reduces the cooking time to 1-2 hours. Then pour the water out, replace with fresh water and boil.

If you don’t have 8 hours to spare, canned chickpeas can be prepared immediately. Simply rinse them in a sieve and rain.

What To Make With Chickpeas

Vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike get more than their money’s worth when they cook with chickpeas. Not only as they inexpensive and easy to cook with, but chickpeas are delicious and extremely versatile. 

Many European and Middle Eastern cuisines would be unthinkable without chickpeas as the basis for countless specialities. The list of delicacies with chic peas is long: pureed, chickpeas are the base for delicious hummus dip and fried falafels. Whole, chickpeas are a delicious base for Italian stews.

Chickpeas’ mild, nutty flavor pairs best with strong spices such as cumin, paprika, coriander, garlic, cinnamon and cloves.

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