When it comes to versatile sources of high-quality protein, few foods can beat chickpeas. Also referred to as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are part of the legume family. They are a plant-based food and are considered to be nutritional powerhouses. High in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, they’re also inexpensive and easy to prepare. Not sure what to do with this superfood? A few high protein chickpea recipes in your meal rotation can help you get a delicious, nutritious and economical meal on the table with ease.
Join Our Newsletter
Get our best recipes and health tips delivered right to your inbox!
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
The beauty of chickpeas lies not only in their health benefits but in how easy they are to prepare and how many ways you can enjoy them. Before getting into how to use chickpeas in recipes, here is a rundown of their nutritional benefits:
A half-cup of chickpeas contributes to the daily values (DV) of these important nutrients (based on a 2,000 calorie diet):
- Dietary fiber – 68% DV
- Protein – 38% DV
- Iron – 34% DV
- Magnesium – 28%
- Potassium – 25% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 25% DV
The same half-cup of chickpeas contains 0% DV of cholesterol, 1% DV of sodium and 3% DV of saturated fat, making it a very heart-healthy food.
How to Prepare Chickpeas
You can buy chickpeas in a can or dried. Canned chickpeas are already cooked and can easily be added to recipes without having to do anything to them first. Most people like to drain and rinse them before using, but some chickpea recipes suggest using the liquid that canned chickpeas come in.
Dried chickpeas must be cooked before eating. When you cook them from dried, you can control the texture, as well as the flavor and amount of sodium they contain. Wondering how to cook dried chickpeas? They can be cooked on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. If cooked on the stove, the chickpeas will first need to be soaked before cooking.
Cooking dried chickpeas is very economical – one cup of dried chickpeas makes at least three cups of cooked chickpeas. But whether you pop open a can or cook them from dried, you will be ready to add this healthy source of protein to any chickpea bean recipes of your choosing. Or you can eat them as-is – they’re good on their own, too!
Want to know more about this versatile food? Here are answers to common questions about chickpeas.
Are canned chickpeas as nutritious as dried ones?
Both are very nutritious but canned chickpeas may have more sodium than you want to consume. If you prefer the convenience of canned chickpeas, look for “low in sodium” or “no salt added” varieties. Rinsing and draining chickpeas will also remove some of the salt.
How can I store cooked chickpeas and how long do they last?
Canned chickpeas can last in the pantry indefinitely. Dried chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container and can last in the pantry for about 12 months. Once cooked, chickpeas should be refrigerated and used within 5 – 6 days. You can also freeze cooked chickpeas by placing them in a storage container or airtight bag. For maximum taste quality, eat them within 6 months once frozen.
Can I freeze chickpea-based dishes?
Most dishes made with chickpeas, such as stews, soups or curries, will freeze well once cooked. If you portion out the dishes before they’re cooked, you’ll have individual servings to grab and go whenever you need them – perfect for meal prep!
Are chickpeas suitable for a gluten-free diet?
Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free so they can easily be incorporated into a gluten-free diet.
Ready to get cooking? Here are some healthy chickpea recipes that are sure to please!
Chickpea Salad Recipes
If you’re new to eating chickpeas, these chickpea salad recipes are a great introduction to this versatile food. Canned chickpeas make it a breeze to turn this plant-based protein into a fresh and light meal that’s full of flavor and nutrition. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Chickpea and Tomato Salad – This healthy salad is made with chickpeas and other Mediterranean-inspired foods, including tomatoes, olives, feta and fresh herbs. It’s light, bright and bursting with flavor.
Chickpea Soup Recipes
Soups and stews also lend themselves well to the addition of chickpeas. When cooked in these dishes, the chickpeas add a bit of creamy heartiness and up the protein content of this comfort food. Here are a couple of unique flavors worth trying.
Spinach and Chickpea Soup – Chickpeas pair well with spinach and orzo in this broth-based soup that gets a punch of brightness from the addition of lemon. Great as a starter or a light meal, this chickpea soup recipe is easy to make and is sure to satisfy.
Chickpea Lunch Ideas
Can chickpea recipes help you enjoy a delicious and nutritious lunch? They sure can! In addition to salads and soups, these tasty chickpea sandwich recipes can breathe new life into your midday meal. Give one of them a try!
Veggie Chickpea Sandwiches – If you’re looking for something to change up your usual egg salad or tuna salad sandwich, this sandwich filled with chickpeas, avocado, veggies and pickles may be just what you need. It’s loaded with nutrients and has a satisfyingly zippy taste.
Chickpea Dinner Ideas
Looking for chickpea recipes for dinner that are hearty and filled with protein? These meatless meals are loaded with taste. They can be the star of the show on meatless Monday, or enjoy them on any day of the week.
Eggplant Chickpea Stew – This Mediterranean-inspired stew includes chickpeas, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and a host of spices to create a warm and comforting meal that will fill you up but won’t weigh you down.
Chickpea Snack Ideas
Do you need a healthy alternative to salty, crunchy snacks? Try a chickpea-based snack instead of reaching for chips and dip. You may find packaged chickpea snacks and hummus in the store, but there’s nothing like making your own.
Crispy Chickpeas – These crispy baked chickpeas get a burst of flavor from cumin and cayenne pepper. They’re crunchy and a bit addicting, but the good news is that they’re loaded with protein, fiber and other nutrients so you don’t need to feel too guilty if you can’t stop at just a few.
Chickpeas may be new to you but they are one of the most popular vegetarian foods around the world. They can be prepared in limitless ways and work well with many different flavor palettes. From breakfast through dinner, as well as in between meals, chickpeas can fill you with satisfying tastes and an abundance of healthy nutrition. Why not give one of these chickpea recipes a try? You can also find more dried and canned chickpea recipes on Health eCooks.