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:
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:
- Sauteed Greens and Chickpeas
- Chickpeas with Arugula-Lemon Pesto
- Artichoke Saute
- Pan-Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Salad
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.