Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have a rich history dating back to ancient times. It is believed that they were first cultivated in the Middle East around 7,000 years ago and were a popular food source for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, chickpeas are widely used in various cuisines around the world, particularly in vegan and vegetarian diets.b
Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to any plant-based diet. They are also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, curries, and even desserts. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to add more plant-based foods to your diet, chickpeas are an excellent ingredient to have in your pantry. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the nutritional benefits of chickpeas, how to cook them, and some awesome recipes to try.
Chickpeas Nutritional Breakdown
Chickpeas are packed with essential nutrients that make them a valuable addition to any diet. They are low in fat, high in protein, and an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown of chickpeas:
1 cup (164g) of cooked chickpeas contains approximately:
- 269 calories
- 14.5g protein
- 4.2g fat
- 45g carbohydrates
- 12.5g fiber
Health Benefits of Chickpeas:
- High in protein: Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them an ideal food for vegans and vegetarians.
- High in fibre: The high fibre content in chickpeas helps to improve digestion and keep you feeling full for longer periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals: Chickpeas are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for maintaining good health.
- Lowers cholesterol: Studies have shown that the fibre in chickpeas can help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Regulates blood sugar levels: The high fibre content in chickpeas also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, making them a good food choice for people with diabetes.
How to Cook Chickpeas
Cooking chickpeas is easy and can be done with or without soaking them first. Soaking the chickpeas can help to reduce cooking time and make them easier to digest. Here are the steps for cooking chickpeas:
- Rinse chickpeas and soak them in water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Drain the soaking water and rinse the chickpeas again.
- In a large pot, cover the chickpeas with fresh water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and let the chickpeas simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.
No Soak Method:
- Rinse chickpeas and add them to a large pot.
- Cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and let the chickpeas simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until tender.
Can Cooked Chickpeas be Frozen?
Yes, cooked chickpeas can be frozen for up to 6 months. To freeze chickpeas, allow them to cool completely and then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Label and date the container, and store in the freezer until ready to use. When ready to use, thaw the chickpeas in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cold water for a few hours.
Can Cooked Chickpeas be Left Out Overnight?
It is not recommended to leave cooked chickpeas out overnight at room temperature as they can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. It’s best to refrigerate cooked chickpeas within 2 hours of cooking and consume them within 3-4 days. If you need to store chickpeas for a longer period, freeze them instead.
Roasted chickpeas are a delicious and healthy snack option that can be enjoyed on their own or added to salads, soups, or grain bowls. Here are the steps for roasting chickpeas:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and your choice of spices (such as cumin, chilli powder, or smoked paprika).
- Spread the chickpeas out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
Are Roasted Chickpeas High in Calories?
Roasted chickpeas can be high in calories, depending on how they are seasoned and prepared. One cup of roasted chickpeas contains approximately 210-240 calories, so it’s important to enjoy them in moderation as a snack or a garnish rather than a meal replacement.
Are Roasted Chickpeas Gluten-Free?
Roasted chickpeas are naturally gluten-free, which makes them a great snack option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. However, it’s important to check the labels of any seasonings or spices used to make sure they are also gluten-free.
Are Roasted Chickpeas Good for Weight Loss?
Roasted chickpeas can be a good snack option for weight loss because they are high in protein and fibre, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals. However, it’s important to keep in mind that roasted chickpeas can be high in calories if they are seasoned with added oils or sugars.
Are Roasted Chickpeas Crunchy?
Roasted chickpeas can be very crunchy when they are roasted properly. To achieve a crispy texture, make sure to dry the chickpeas thoroughly before seasoning and roasting them. You can also experiment with different seasonings and cooking times to find the perfect level of crunchiness.
Are Roasted Chickpeas Healthy?
Roasted chickpeas are a delicious and healthy snack option. They are high in protein and fibre, and can be seasoned with a variety of spices to add flavour without adding extra calories. However, it’s important to keep in mind that roasted chickpeas are often seasoned with added salt or sugar, which can increase their calorie content. It’s best to enjoy roasted chickpeas in moderation and choose unsalted or low-sugar options whenever possible.
Spices and Seasonings for Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a versatile ingredient that can be seasoned with a variety of spices and seasonings to create delicious and flavourful dishes.
Here are some popular spices that go well with chickpeas:
- Cumin: This warm, earthy spice is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine and pairs well with chickpeas in hummus, curries, and roasted chickpea snacks.
- Coriander: This citrusy and slightly sweet spice is often used in Indian and North African dishes and pairs well with chickpeas in curries and stews.
- Smoked paprika: This spice adds a smoky, slightly sweet flavour to chickpeas and is a great addition to roasted chickpea snacks.
- Turmeric: This bright yellow spice has anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It pairs well with chickpeas in curries and roasted chickpea snacks.
How to Sauteé Chickpeas
Sautéing chickpeas is a quick and easy way to add protein and fibre to your meals. Here’s how to do it:
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add drained and rinsed chickpeas to the skillet and season with your choice of spices (such as cumin, coriander, or smoked paprika).
- Cook the chickpeas, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until they are golden brown and slightly crispy.
- Serve the sautéed chickpeas as a side dish or add them to salads or grain bowls.