By Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.
Chickpeas (also known by their Spanish-derived name, Garbanzo beans) are a member of the pulse family. They pack a powerful nutritional punch, and are a home-grown Canadian superfood!
4 Reasons to Love Chickpeas
- A high protein option that’s low in fat: One half cup of cooked chickpeas provides 9 grams of plant-based protein and only 3 grams of fat, which makes them a great protein choice for your next meatless meal.
- Better blood sugar control: Chickpeas have a low glycemic index, which means they are a great food choice for stabilizing blood sugars, as well as supporting consistent energy and appetite regulation throughout the day.
- Nourishing a healthy gut: Chickpeas are rich in fibre, and in particular a type of soluble fibre called raffinose. These fibres are fermented in the colon and produce beneficial compounds that support regular bowel movements and promote overall health.
- Rich in iron: Critical for oxygen transport in the body, iron is an important nutrient! Chickpeas are a great source of iron, particularly for vegetarians, with one half cup of chickpeas providing 3 gram of iron, which is 25 percent of the daily requirement for men, and 11 percent of the daily requirement for women ages 19-50.
Tips for Buying Chickpeas
Chickpeas can be found at your local grocery store in dried or canned form. If buying the dried variety, make sure you rinse and sort them before cooking.
If buying canned chickpeas, look for cans that are not dented or have bulging lids. When you are ready to use your canned chickpeas, simply drain in a colander, rinse under cold water and add to your recipe! Note that one can (400g/15oz) typically gives you 1.5 cups of chickpeas once drained.
When stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place (like your pantry), dried chickpeas will keep for a very long time. However, it’s best to use them within a year of purchase to avoid them becoming too dry, which can lengthen cooking time substantially.
You can also freeze cooked chickpeas or canned chickpeas that have been drained in a colander and rinsed under cold water. Simply place them into airtight freezer bags or containers.
How to Cook Chickpeas
Canned chickpeas are ready to go right out of the can! Drain and rinse to remove some of the sodium (you can also look for low sodium or no salt added versions) and then use however you’d like.
Dried chickpeas require a little more time investment. To save time and help reduce any bloating that may come with eating chickpeas (usually due to the higher oligosaccharide content), pre-soak your chickpeas. Cover dried chickpeas with water and let them sit for 3 hours or overnight. Drain, and then add 1 cup of chickpeas to 3 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 60-90 minutes (cooking time is reduced by 25% when you pre-soak).
Pro tip: don’t discard the water from your canned chickpeas or the water you used for soaking/cooking. This starchy liquid is called aquafaba and can be used as an egg white substitute in vegan baking.
5 Strategies to Add More Chickpeas to Your Diet
- Add canned or roasted chickpeas to a green salad, pasta salad or potato salad for added texture and protein.
- Blend chickpeas with canola oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini for a quick hummus that pairs great with cut veggies or crackers as a balanced snack. You might also want to try this beet hummus for a twist on the traditional recipe.
- Make falafel! Mash cooked chickpeas with cumin, garlic, and coriander and separate into small balls – bake or pan-fry until crisp. Serve in a pita or wrap with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and tahini yogurt dip.
- Saute chicken and chickpeas with garlic, onion, and spices, add tomato sauce and simmer for a super simple Indian Butter Chicken with Chickpeas. Serve with basmati rice or naan and veggies.
- Combine chickpeas with celery, green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice and spices for a quick chickpea salad sandwich. Serve on whole grain bread with greens and pickled onions for an elevated school or work lunch.
Looking for more ways to include chickpeas in your weekly menu? Check out some of these healthy recipes:
These sweet and spicy Sriracha honey roasted chickpeas make the perfect healthy snack.
This potato, green bean, chickpea, tomato and mozzarella salad features a tangy lemon vinaigrette for a delicious alternative to traditional mayonnaise-based potato salads.
This easy Shakshuka with chickpea dish is the perfect nutrient-packed breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner that is ready in as little as 30 minutes.
These chickpea burgers are a tasty alternative to traditional meat burgers. Perfect for a quick and easy weeknight or weekend meal.
Your house will smell incredible as the chickpeas simmer away in the spicy, garlicky tomato sauce.