Are chickpeas actually healthy? And why should we be eating more of them? Everything you need to know about chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), including different varieties, uses, and nutrition information.
Health benefits of chickpeas
Chickpeas are a staple in the world of legumes. But are they as healthy as we think? In short, yes.
Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein, as well as load of nutrients, like folate and iron! I’ll put on my nutritionist brain and break it down! (This information is per 1 cup (164g) of canned or cooked chickpeas)
Chickpeas are middle of the road in terms of calories – they’re not low calorie, but also not packed with calories. Chickpeas contain a similar amount of calories as most peas and beans like it (helloooo healthy legumes).
Chickpeas are not a low carb food, so they’re not suited for a keto diet. But with loads of complex carbs and fiber (see below), they’re a great addition to most other types of diets!
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, and have 50% of your Daily Value (DV). This means that chickpeas can can make you to feel full, helping you to eat less and lose weight.
Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Like many plant-based proteins, they don’t contain all the essential amino acids that we need, but they are rich in a few, including lysine and arginine
While not completely fat-free, chickpeas are relatively low fat.
71% Daily Value of Folate
Chickpeas are rich in folate, which is a water-soluble vitamin that helps make DNA & RNA.
28% Daily Value of Phosphorus
They also contain a good amount of phosphorus, the mineral that works with calcium to help build strong bones and teeth bones and teeth.
26% Daily Value of Iron
For a vegetarian diet, any plant source with this much iron is a huge win! Chickpeas are high in iron, which is a major component of hemoglobin, the protein that makes up red blood cells and carry oxygen around the body.
17% Daily Value of Zinc
They also contain zinc, the mineral important in strengthening your immune system, healing wounds, and maintaining your sense of taste and smell.
Phew! That’s a lot of chickpea nutrition. If that didn’t fill you in, here are answers to some common questions about chickpeas!
Both! Chickpeas contain both starches and proteins. But while they may be a starch, they are a great source of fiber and have a lower glycemic index than it’s other starchy veggie counterparts (like potatoes).
Though chickpeas are not necessarily low calorie, they are a good source of both fiber and protein. These will make you feel full and satiated, which could help you eat less later!
No, according to the USDA, ½ cup of canned chickpeas contains 20g of carbs and 14g of net carbs. Chickpeas are not a good fit for a ketogenic or other low carb diet.
Types of Chickpeas
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.
How to Buy Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas: 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.
Canned chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked chickpeas. You can eat canned chickpeas straight out of the can! Just be sure to rinse them off before chowing down to wash out excess sodium!
Chickpea 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. (Here’s how to make chickpea flour!)
How to cook dried chickpeas
Cooking dried chickpeas is an affordable and easy way to get more chickpeas into your diet. Here’s how to transform your dried chickpeas into soft, edible deliciousness! Here’s our complete guide to cooking dried chickpeas!
Is there a good chickpea substitute?
Chickpeas aren’t for everyone, we get it. Common chickpea substitutes are white beans, kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans. If you are looking for a low carb substitute, try soybeans or edamame (young soybeans) to cut your net carbs by about half.
How to Roast Chickpeas
- Flavor: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Pat dry chickpeas with paper towel, removing any skins that may come off. Gently toss chickpeas with oil (1 tablespoon per can of chickpeas) and any spices you like.
- Roast: Spread chickpeas onto a greased rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a bit crispy.