Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are tiny but mighty protein-packed wonders. Their subtle nutty flavor lends well to soups, curries, salads and more. Though grabbing a ready-to-use can of beans might be tempting, learning how to cook chickpeas will pay off in many ways.
A legume, which originated in the Middle East, many cultural dishes still rely upon chickpeas today. In his book “Beans: A History”, Ken Albala stated that chickpeas date back 10,000 years and that the name "garbanzo bean," is of Spanish origin. Though less commonly found, chickpeas come in colors other than the usual beige shade. There are also red chickpeas, brown chickpeas, and even black chickpeas.
According to Albala, chickpeas were commonly enjoyed as an after-dinner snack in the Mediterranean region. Chickpea flour, a staple in many gluten-free kitchens, also holds a long history. Near Nice, France, chickpea flour is still used to this day to create socca, a crepe-like dish. Similarly, near Genoa in Italy, chickpea flour formed farinata which is very similar to socca.
With the wide variety of uses chickpeas hold, they certainly prove themselves worthy of a spot in every chef’s kitchen.
Just one cup of chickpeas contains an impressive 39 grams of protein. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of manganese, folate, copper, fiber, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition linked chickpeas with weight loss, improving cholesterol levels, managing diabetes, reducing risk of prostate and stomach cancer, and maintaining digestive health.
How to Cook Chickpeas
Learning how to cook chickpeas is easy and stress-free when following our step-by-step guide. Dried beans are more inexpensive to buy and lack the BPA-residue that canned beans often have. Plus, by cooking them from scratch, you can infuse them with flavor and control their texture.
Add dried chickpeas to a large bowl. Sort through and remove any stones or shriveled beans.
Soak your chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of water. The water should cover the chickpeas by two to three inches. In the morning, or after eight hours, the beans will have expanded in size. Drain and rinse the beans.
Stove Top Method:
Add three cups of water for every one cup of beans to a large pot. Add one teaspoon of salt and cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 60 to 90 minutes, or until beans have softened and can be pierced easily with a fork.
Instant Pot Method:
If using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you shouldn’t soak the beans for as long to prevent overcooking. Soak the beans for about five to six hours. Cover the beans with water and cook for ten minutes. If you didn’t soak the beans, cover the beans with water and cook for 30 minutes.
Skim off any excess foam and then drain the chickpeas. Store any leftover chickpeas in an airtight container for up to five days.
Now that you've learned how to cook chickpeas, put them to use in one of these tasty recipes!
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Hearty Vegan Vegetable Soup Recipe with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas
Images via Karissa Bowers