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Chickpeas 101

Everything you need to know about chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), including different varieties, uses, and nutrition information.

Close up photo of chickpeas

Confession: For a very long time I didn’t realize that chickpeas and garbanzo beans were the same thing. But then I discovered there is so much more to learn about chickpeas/garbanzo beans (/Bengal gram/Egyptian pea/chana/the list of names goes on). So let’s do some learning!

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.
Chickpeas on a white background

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.
Close up photo of chickpeas

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!

  1. Soak: Rinse and place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 8 to 12 hours. This is going to help speed up the cooking time and, more importantly, make them more digestible.
  2. Cook: 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.

How to Roast Chickpeas

  1. 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.
  2. Roast: Spread chickpeas onto a greased rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a bit crispy.
Close up photo of chickpeas

Are chickpeas starch or protein?

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).

What are chickpeas good for?

Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein, as well as load of nutrients, like folate and iron!

17 reader-favorite easy vegetarian dinner recipes that can be made quickly and with easy-to-follow steps (including a gyro made from spicy roasted chickpeas and insanely delicious General Tso's cauliflower!)

Chickpea Recipes

We love chickpeas here at Live Eat Learn. Here are a few of our favorite ways to cook with them (see all the chickpea recipes here):

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 signaling. The other 99% supports teeth and bone structure and function.

Hi, I’m Sarah!

Showing you how to make easy vegetarian recipes, one ingredient at a time.  Read more

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Comments (26)

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  1. Jane says:

    That was really interesting! Thank you!! Your blog is absolutely beautiful 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw, thanks so much Jane!! I honestly learn so much by doing these ingredient rundowns each week. Hope you learned a little something too 🙂

  2. MARE REASONS says:

    good run down, but how and what spice do you use when roasting them?

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Mare! I have a post with 2 variations of roasted chickpeas, a cinnamon sugar recipe and a creamy ranch recipe. You can find those recipes here. And I have another recipe that coats the chickpeas in a spicy paprika seasoning to be used as a filling for gyros, and that recipe is here. The general formula is 1 can of chickpeas, 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp seasoning of choice.

  3. Wanda says:

    Thank you. I’m about to try to make my own Hummus…

    1. Sarah says:

      Enjoy, Wanda! 🙂

  4. Mathias says:

    I’d add, when opening a can of chickpeas, if you find the liquid to look jelly/gloppy, throw that can. It may have sat for long on the shelves or there may have been something with the cooking. Normally the liquid should stay liquid pretty much like water. I’ve once got gases after making hummus out of a ‘jellly’ chickpeas can, may not happen always but why take a risk.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the tip, Mathias! I’ve never experienced this but will be on the lookout.

  5. Kevin Berry says:

    The yellow font you use for parentheticals is very difficult to read. I suggest instead italics in the black font. Otherwise, the piece is interesting and informative.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Kevin! I’ll see about making that more readable 😀

  6. Janet says:

    Your information was wonderful. I make a lot of salads with chickpeas. How can I rinse them from the can and get those skins off quickly? I don’t like the skins coming loose in my salads.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much, Janet! Chickpeas are delicious in salads, but those skins sure can be pesky. The easiest way I’ve found is to cover them with a clean towel and gently rub to loosen the skins. They won’t all come off, but a majority will.

  7. Vyvyan says:

    Really useful information and straight to the point.

    1. Sarah says:

      Happy to hear you’re liking it, Vyvyan!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Agree with Jane, so interesting and all the information needed about chickpeas in one post. Thankyou

    1. Sarah says:

      You’re very welcome! 😀

  9. Toby Rosalie Dunn-Stark says:

    Your site is fantastic!

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw, thanks so much Toby!

  10. Phillip Minyard says:

    What volume, drained is in a 16 ounce can of chickpeas? Or a 15 or 15.5 ounce can?

    1. Sarah says:

      About 1.5 cups! 😀

  11. Debbie says:

    Great information! I would like to know if the skin has any nutritional value. Would it be better to leave them on rather than not picking them off?

    1. Sarah says:

      While I’m not sure on this, I think the skin would have a decent amount of fiber which would make it worth keeping on 😀

  12. Mr Patrick Michael Leigh says:

    Judt a little confused how I actually eat tinned chick beans. Do I just stick them the side of a plate, like tinned peas or something, or do I mix them with some thing, like you can mix sweet corn with tuna and mayo. Sorry to show my ignorance.

    1. Sarah says:

      Here are our favorite chickpea recipes to show you the ropes! 😀

  13. Bill Higgins says:

    Will the nutritional value stay the same with Chickpeas cooked vs raw blended in a food processor?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep, should stay about the same!