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Check Out Chickpeas

True or false: Garbanzo bean is another name for chickpea.

True. Garbanzo bean and chickpea refer to the same legume.

Chickpeas are a type of legume called pulses. Pulses also include lentils and dry peas.

Chickpeas originated in the Mediterranean and now are eaten worldwide. The bean typically is tan, but it also comes in variations of yellow, red and dark green. The two main types are large, light-seeded or small, dark-seeded.

Consuming pulses, such as chickpeas, regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides 269 calories, 4.3 grams (g) total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 12.5 g fiber and 14.5 g protein. They also provide iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and other minerals.

The dietary fiber content in pulses is what helps decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Dietary fiber is essential for healthful digestion and regular bowel movements, and aids in the production of healthy gut bacteria.

Nutrition experts recommend 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories per day, or 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day. Amounts may vary depending on your energy needs.

One cup of chickpeas will provide 12.5 g of fiber, which is about 50% of the daily recommended intake. Be sure to drink plenty of water when consuming a high amount of fibrous foods.

Chickpeas also are associated with boosting heart health. The dietary fiber assists with lowering blood cholesterol and LDL levels. Dietary fiber also provides a feeling of fullness. That means we may consume fewer calories, which could prevent overeating and obesity.

Garbanzo beans can be purchased dried, canned or in products such as chickpea-based pastas, chips and other snacks. Chickpeas have become a staple for entrees, salads, dips and spreads, such as hummus.

Canned chickpeas are convenient and ready to use. Simply rinse and drain the canned pulses in a colander to reduce the sodium content. Then you can use the chickpeas in a recipe.

To prepare dry chickpeas, remove any small stones, then place the chickpeas in a strainer and rinse with cool water. The chickpeas require time to soak prior to cooking. The following methods can be used to soak chickpeas:

  • Traditional slow soak: Cover 1 pound of chickpeas with 10 cups of water and refrigerate six to eight hours or overnight.
  • Hot soak: Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, add 1 pound of dry chickpeas and return to a boil. Allow to stand at room temperature for two to three hours.
  • Quick soak: Bring 10 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 pound of dry chickpeas. Boil two to three minutes. Allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.

After soaking, drain and rinse the chickpeas. The next step is to measure 2 cups of water for every cup of chickpeas. Simmer for 1½ to two hours.

Store dry chickpeas in a sealed container and place in a cool, dry location. Cooked beans should not spend more than two hours at room temperature. Refrigerator the leftovers and use within three days.

Pair this savory chickpea recipe with vegetables or whole-wheat crackers.

Savory Hummus
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 Tbsp. tahini*
 ¼ c. lemon juice
 3 cloves crushed garlic
 1 tsp. salt

Puree chickpeas in blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. The final product should be thick and smooth. Serve with carrot sticks and other vegetables, pita chips or whole-grain crackers, or use as a spread on sandwiches.

*Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. You often can find it in the international foods aisle or with the nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.).

Makes 12 servings. Each serving has 70 calories, 3 g fat, 3 protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 200 milligrams sodium.

For more information about chickpeas, visit the NDSU Extension publication “Pulses: The Perfect Food, Healthy to Eat, Healthy to Grow; Peas-Lentils-Chickpeas (FN1508).

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Sources: Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service food and nutrition specialist, and McKenzie Schaffer, Extension program assistant

This project was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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