How to Cook Chickpeas (Or Eat Them Out of the Can)

how to cook chickpeasChickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, were originally cultivated in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. This legume is one of the oldest domesticated crops in history.

To this day, chickpeas are a staple food of those cuisines, as well as Indian cuisine.

You may have come across them in dahl or hummus, and deliciously spiced Tunisian and Moroccan tagine meals turn chickpeas into a gastronomic delicacy. Chickpeas have a nutty flavor, but easily accommodate a variety of herbs and spices.

Learning how to cook chickpeas can open up flavors both simple and complex, depending on your interest. Once cooked, extra chickpeas can be stored in your refrigerator for several days.

Why eat chickpeas?

Chickpeas are full of nutrition. With 13 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein in each 270-calorie cup (plus a nice dose of folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc), they are superstars that you can eat right out of the pot or out of the can. Try tossing a handful into your next salad, soup, sauce, or sauté.

How to cook chickpeas

Dried chickpeas can be found in most supermarkets, and are easy to cook. They are usually sold in one pounds bags, which is enough to make two batches.

Start by soaking your chickpeas in a pot of water overnight, then drain and simmer in fresh water for about an hour. Chickpeas are pretty forgiving, so you can keep them al dente or soft.

At this point, they are edible, and could be used in a salad of chickpeas and arugula-lemon pesto.

While you’re at it:

Black beans, navy beans, and cannellini beans are also easy to find. All beans are good beans. If you are buying them canned, look for no-salt-added brands.

And now that you know how to cook chickpeas, you can cook any other beans.

Soak dried beans overnight, then drain and simmer in plenty of fresh water for about an hour. Some beans will take up to four hours, but as long as you keep an eye on them to make sure there is water in the pot, they are effort-free cooking.

A pound of dried beans makes 6 to 8 cups cooked or if you use canned, one 15 oz. can of beans is about 1¾ cups.

Crunchy chickpeas as a snack

Have you tried Crunchy Chickpeas? They’re a delicious and nutritious snack.

“One serving has as much protein as 23 almonds, as much fiber as 2 cups of broccoli and they’re 100% free of nuts, soy & gluten,” boasts The Good Bean All Natural Chickpea Snacks bag.

What a concept! The seven flavors include Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili & Lime, and Mesquite BBQ. A 1 oz. serving (roughly ¼ cup) clocks in at 120 calories and 190 milligrams of sodium. An exception is the Chocolate and the Sweet Cinnamon, which have 100 mg of sodium (and about a teaspoon of sugar). All deliver 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 percent of a day’s iron. Best of all, you’re eating nothing but flavored roasted chickpeas.

Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas are equally delish, but have a bit more sodium (190 to 280 mg).

How to make a Crispy Chickpea Salad Recipe

Toss 2 chopped red bell peppers and 1 3/4 cup of chickpeas with 2 Tbs. of extra-virgin olive oil. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then toss with 4 cups of arugula or baby spinach and 1 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar. Season with up to ¼ tsp. of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes two 3-cup servings.

PER SERVING—Calories: 410 / Saturated Fat: 2.5 g / Protein: 13 g / Carbohydrates: 47 g / Fiber: 11 g / Sodium: 380 mg

Other great chickpea recipes:

What would you say if someone asked you how to cook chickpeas? Do you have a favorite recipe for chickpeas? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in 2013, and is updated regularly. 

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13 Replies to “How to Cook Chickpeas (Or Eat Them Out of the Can)”

  1. Good article but it might have mentioned the great use and value of chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans) as the base for hummus spread and falafel.
    Ernie Geisel

  2. Looks good…..high in carbs for me, I’ll have a half portion. I am a Sr. – type II diabetic….one of a million probably and would appreciate anything you can suggest that is low carb, low (or no) big sugar spike (low GI) I am now trying Paleo diet and am having success with weight loss, improved glucose readings, lower B.P. and sleeping “better”. Sure appreciate your emails….and having a resource to go to with questions

  3. Hi Kate, I often eat a hummus sandwich for lunch with lots of raw veggies on 1 slice of Mestemacher Three Grain Bread. its yummy and very satisfying.

    Thanks for all the information! Judie

  4. I soak a about 1 pound 4 ounces of dry chickpeas, change the water a few times, and cook for 4.5 hours in slow cooker in fresh water that barely covers the beans (no evaporation on slow cooker) and save the cooking liquid to sautee or loosen hummus. Never buy cans. Adore chickpeas!! (Would not want to eat them out of a can; seems gross)

  5. As a native Greek, I’ve eaten chickpeas all of my life and I still use them in many dishes and salads! I love to share your articles with friends and clients, thanks the great information!

  6. you can order organic chick peas from a one garden resource
    on amazon.com..The chickpeas are from Palouse, Washington USA grown by the Mader family
    I have no investment in this, only want to share

  7. I cook chickpeas (and other beans) in the slow cooker. I just put the beans in without presoaking, cover with water and put on high for about 2-3 hours. Perfect!

  8. I am fromTrinidad and have always eaten chick peas as a child growing up. We call it channa. We ate it curried by itself, added it to chicken and potato (curried in roti) and fried chick peas which was a treat sold in cone shaped packages on the street. We didn’t know that it was so good for us. we just enjoyed it and still do.

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