Chickpeas seem to be the chic new food everyone is talking about. So what is the big deal? Are chickpeas really all they’re cracked up to be?
From classic questions about garbanzo beans vs chickpeas to chickpeas nutrition, this article has all the answers. Plus, easy-to-make chickpea recipes will be sure to make possible the health benefits of chickpeas without all the fuss.
Read on to learn more about chickpeas and get our favorites recipes.
What Are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are a type of bean in the plant family called legumes. This plant family produces edible seeds such as peas. Like its close cousins that include kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts, chickpeas are particularly high in nutritional value.
All over the world, chickpeas are known as an excellent source of nutrients. They may differ in color or type by region, but they all offer the same impressive array of vitamins and minerals. In fact, many cultures consider chickpeas a staple.
Are Chickpeas Garbanzo Beans?
Known all over the globe, chickpeas go by two main names. Many people know chickpeas by their Spanish name, garbanzo beans. Essentially, both names describe the same bean and are used interchangeably.
Based on where in the world they are being used, their name and preparation method may differ. But whether called garbanzo beans or chickpeas, the nutritional value they provide is identical.
Offering many vitamins and minerals, chickpeas are rich in the following nutrients:
• B vitamins
• Poly- and mono- unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and oleic acids)
Potential Health Benefits
Chickpeas have many properties that make them an excellent addition to many diets, including heart-healthy, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. When eaten as part of a plant-based diet, the rich nutrient profile of chickpeas can play an important role in protecting against and preventing chronic conditions. These include:
• Colorectal cancer
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
Chickpeas have a low-glycemic index and low glycemic load. They also contain amylose, a resistant starch that digests slowly and helps to prevent sudden surges in blood sugar and insulin levels. This can be especially important to those with diabetes or battling the effects of obesity.
By adding bulk to meals, chickpeas also provide protein and fiber to help with weight management. High-fiber foods are shown to improve lipid levels and offer a feeling of being full while simultaneously delaying the digestion process.
Speaking of digestion, garbanzo beans are good for gut health as well. They help reduce inflammation by containing a soluble fiber that is fermented in the colon. This helps to keep things regularly moving and prevents cancerous effects by protecting the colon's cell wall.
Really, chickpeas are one mighty legume suitable for a widespread of diets!
Chickpeas are available in many varieties and are often inexpensive and easy to incorporate into last-minute meals and recipes. Get them dried, fresh, canned, or at a local farmer's market. Garbanzo bean-based recipes are also great for gatherings with friends and family since they are generally vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
From side dishes to the main course, chickpeas are a flexible ingredient to use in so many recipes. Here are some of our favorites!
Roasted Garlic Hummus in Cucumber Cups
Great hummus is a staple in the Middle East and this roasted garlic hummus in cucumber recipe will not disappoint. This simple and easy recipe is great to share or simply enjoyed as a daily snack, as it is a good source of protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
Also feel free to customize the recipe to liking, including delicious combos of tomato, goat cheese, and Kalamata olives. Pair with pita chips, baby carrots, and other fresh veggies or smear onto a sandwich or wrap.
Curry Roasted Butternut Squash & Cauliflower with Chickpeas
While there are many culinary versions of curry, this chickpea curry recipe is seasoned and roasted to perfection! The roasted cauliflower and butternut truly shine but the sauteed, curry-spiced chickpeas might be the star of the show.
Really, every mouthful is a burst of flavor, fresh, and an unmatched amount of spice!
Healthy Green Falafel
Falafel is essentially a ball or patty of ground chickpeas or fava beans seasoned with fresh herbs, often coloring the interior green. The patties are commonly deep-fried, but this falafel recipe calls for a light pan fry with heart-healthy oil.
Stuff falafel to pita bread with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and other favorite veggies. Add feta cheese and tzatziki, tahini, or another sauce as desired.
The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to chickpeas, which is why we cannot possibly list them all in this article! The following list of ideas can inspire even more chickpea recipes:
• Add to a salad, soup, or stew
• Prepare crispy baked chickpeas for a delicious snack
• Mashed into a chickpea salad sandwich, a plant-based spin on tuna and chicken salad with chickpeas
• Make veggie burgers or meatless meatballs
• Simply season and roast for a tasty snack
• Use as an alternative to flour by mashing and incorporating into pasta, rice, and other homemade snacks such as chips and fries
• Use the chickpea liquid (called aquafaba) as a thickening agent in baking as an alternative to egg (3 tablespoons = 1 whole egg)
No matter how the chickpea is used, it is sure to provide a delicious and nutritious element to any meal!
The Nutrition Source. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans). Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chickpeas-garbanzo-beans/. 2020.