Chicka-Chicka-Chickpeas!

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

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

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!

Chickpeas

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.
  • Canned: 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!
  • 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.

Chickpeas

How to cook dry chickpeas

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. 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.

Close up photo of chickpeas - Everything you need to know about chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), including different varieties, uses, and nutrition information.

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!

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.

More information about chickpeas

Comments (10)

  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…

  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.

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