Confession: Until I sat down to write this chickpea rundown, I hadn’t actually put together that chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing…And that, friends, is why this is a two-way learning kind of place. I’m learning something new every day.
And I’m realizing there is so much more to learn about chickpeas/garbanzo beans (/Bengal gram/Egyptian pea/chana/the list of names goes on). I mean, I know they’re used to make hummus, I know they’re tasty on salads, and I know they’ve got mad protein, but that’s the extent of my chickpea knowledge. So let’s do some learning.
Variations of Chickpeas
We can break this “variations” section into two parts. There are different varieties of chickpeas which vary by the plant itself, then there are varying forms you may find these legumes in your grocery. So first, here are a few varieties you may find around the world:
- Kabuli: Large and beige with a thin skin, these are increasingly common in American groceries. They have a mild nutty, creamy flavor.
- Desi: Small and dark with yellow interiors, these guys are most popular worldwide. They have a thicker, more nutritious seed coat than the Kabuli-type beans.
- Green: These are younger chickpeas with a sweet flavor, almost like green peas.
At your grocery, you may find chickpeas:
- Dry: You may find dry chickpeas in the bulk section of your grocery or with the canned goods. These should be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. The longer they’re stored, the more moisture they’ll lose and the longer they’ll take to cook. To cook dry chickpeas, first rinse them, then place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 4 to 12 hours. This is going to help speed up the cooking time and, more importantly, make them more digestible (a.k.a. prevent flatulence…lookin’ at you, sisterface). Once they’ve soaked, drain that water, throw them in a stock pot with more water, and simmer for about an hour, or until tender. Once cooked, chickpeas will stay good in the fridge for about three days.
- Canned: Canned chickpeas retain their flavor well and cook quicker than dry chickpeas. Just be sure to rinse them off before chowing down to wash out excess sodium!
- Flour: Indian and Italian cuisines both incorporate chickpea flours into a lot of dishes, from curries to pastas! In fact, India is crazy about chickpeas and produces more than any other country in the world.
Chickpea nutrition information
per 1 cup (164g) mature seeds, boiled without salt
- Calories: 269
- Carbohydrates: 45g
- Fiber: 12g, 50% Daily Value (DV)
- Protein: 15g
- Fat: 4g
- 71% DV of Folate (Vitamin B9): A water-soluble vitamin that helps make DNA & RNA and metabolize amino acids.
- 28% DV of Phosphorus: A mineral that works with calcium to form calcium phosphate, the foundation of bones and teeth. Also plays a role in energy metabolism as part of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
- 26% DV of Iron: A major component of hemoglobin, the proteins that make up red blood cells and carry oxygen around the body. This is a non-heme source, meaning it does not come from an animal. It is not absorbed as well as heme iron.
- 17% DV of Zinc: A mineral important in strengthening your immune system, healing wounds, and maintaining your sense of taste and smell.
- 13% DV of Thiamin (Vitamin B1): A water-soluble vitamin that turns your food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose). People at risk for deficiency include those with Crohn’s Disease, alcoholics, and those undergoing kidney dialysis.
- 11% DV of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): A water-soluble vitamin that works behind the scenes as a coenzyme in many important reactions within your body, including protein metabolism and red blood cell formation, among countless other functions.
- 8% DV of Calcium: 1% of the calcium in your body plays a vital role in vascular contraction/dilation and nerve transmission and signalling. The other 99% supports teeth and bone structure and function.