Chickpeas aren’t a new thing – they appear in recordings in Turkey in 3500 BCE. India produces the most chickpeas worldwide – the smaller, darker, irregular shaped variety is popular there. I couldn’t possibly list all their wondrous benefits in one post but here are 5 reasons to love this little legume.
1. Canned = convenient and nutritious
Canned chickpeas retain a lot of their nutritional value and are comparable to dried ones that you cook from scratch. It’s easy to find canned chickpeas with no added salt in the UK but you can also rinse well in water to remove up to 40% of the sodium. If you can, choose BPA (Bisphenol A) free and organic cans.
2. Extremely versatile
Add chickpeas to homemade burgers, hummus, “tuna” style sandwich spreads, stews, curries, soups and pasta. Chickpea flour or gram flour is higher in protein, fibre and iron than wheat flour and can be used for savoury Indian style pancakes, vegan frittatas or in baking.
3. One cup of chickpeas = 40% of your daily fibre requirement
One cup (164g) of boiled chickpeas gives you 12g of fibre and 15g of protein (around 1/3 of the average adult woman’s daily protein requirement).
4. Zero waste: use the aquafaba
Don’t throw away the canned liquid or the water you cook chickpeas (or any beans or lentils) in! This liquid is called aquafaba and it has emulsifying, thickening and binding qualities. Think of a vegan “egg” without the cholesterol or saturated fat. 1 tablespoon aquafaba = 1 egg yolk. It works well in vegan dressings, desserts or to thin homemade hummus.
5. Bang for your buck in terms of nutrients
There are too many positives to mention with research showing benefits of legume consumption for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Chickpeas are packed with micronutrients including zinc, folate and iron as well as extremely affordable.
Do you love chickpeas? Let me know how you enjoy them in the comments below. I love them in baked falafel as seen in the cover photo (Credit: Nonie Tuxen).