6 Creative Ways to Use Chickpeas (Besides Hummus!)

by | Updated: August 9th, 2021 | Read time: 3 minutes

The pandemic has taught many of us the importance of having versatile pantry staples. And by the end of this article I think you will agree, whether canned or dried, chickpeas deserve that coveted space on your shelf. With the chickpea nutrition information and recipes shared below, you’ll definitely want to stay stocked!

The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cicer, referring to the plant family of legumes. Garbanzo bean is simply the Spanish-derived name, which is why you often hear these two words used interchangeably. There are several different color varieties of chickpeas, however, the round beige color is the most popular in the United States.

Dry Chickpeas in a Wooden Bowl with Wooden Spoon and Scattered Chickpeas on Wooden Table to Represent Chickpea Nutrition | Vitacost.com/Blog

Chickpea Nutrition

Nutritionally, chickpeas are a smart choice because they are low in fat and sodium yet high in fiber and protein. In addition, they are an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin essential during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects and helpful for overall brain development and function.

Most commonly you may have heard of chickpeas being used in Mediterranean cuisine, including popular spreads like hummus. The grocery store has exploded with hummus varieties, including versions mixed with other beans, spicy options and even dessert flavors. Truly no flavor combination is off limits for consumers, which is why the hummus industry is expected to have a $1 billion dollar evaluation by 2026.

Hummus is no doubt a favorite use for chickpeas, so let’s talk about other ways to consume these shelf-stable, heart-healthy, plant-based proteins.

Chickpea Recipes

1. Crispy Chickpeas

Skip croutons and try crispy chickpeas on your next salad, or munch on them for your next road trip snack. They are tiny, crunchy and super satisfying. Roast them at home or purchase at the store – your choice!

  1. Toss chickpeas in olive oil, spices and herbs.
  2. Roast at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Toss chickpeas and roast 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

To purchase crispy chickpeas, look for brands such as The Good Bean or Biena. They offer different flavors and even convenient single serving packages.

2. Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

Right here is your next lunch idea. And I’m not talking chicken on top of a salad, I’m talking about fresh, creamy “chicken” salad. Simply replace your animal protein with chickpeas to create a plant-based version of your favorite recipe.

If you don’t have your own go-to chickpea “chicken” salad recipe, experiment with this combination of chickpeas, celery, green onion, pickles, grapes, bell pepper, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, dill and lemon juice. Let the flavors marinate together and enjoy on a bed of fresh mixed greens or on hearty multigrain bread.

3. Creamy Soups

Ditch the heavy cream or milk and replace with chickpeas (or any white bean, really). Simply blend chickpeas and a liquid of your choice, such as vegetable broth, then add into the soup to give it that creamy look and mouthfeel. An immersion blender works nicely, but any blender will do. This swap is a great trick to remember when adjusting recipes for vegan or dairy-free needs

4. Chickpea Pasta

Pasta alternatives are another popular supermarket trend, and lucky for us they provide another easy way to consume more chickpeas. Brands such as Simple Truth Organic, Tolerant Organic or Explore Cuisine offer chickpea pastas in all shapes and sizes.

While the calories are about the same as traditional pasta, a chickpea version contains double the fiber and protein, allowing you to feel more satisfied with a standard serving. The best part is the chickpea pasta looks identical to traditional pasta, making it an easier health swap for family members to accept.

5. Whipped “Cream”

Yes, you read that right. Make a whipped “cream” using aquafaba, the liquid found in the chickpea can.  Whip the aquafaba with cream of tartar, vanilla and powdered sugar for a quick whipped cream made from all shelf-stable ingredients.

6. Chickpea Meatballs

Chickpea meatballs are easy to meal prep and freeze for quick weeknight meal options. Meatballs are usually kid-approved, which is a bonus for mamas out there, and this vegetarian version is no different.

In food processors, combine chickpeas, breadcrumbs, eggs, spices and olive oil

Roll mixture into balls

1. Cook on stovetop until evenly browned

Serve immediately or cool and freeze for later. Perfect as an appetizer or tossed into any Italian recipe.

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Chickapea Organic Penne Pasta | Vitacost.com/Blog