As seems routine, the United States has been far behind in adopting and appreciating the chickpea/garbanza/ceci bean yet they have existed in the Middle East since 3000 B.C. They are actually a fruit but behave like a legume. The U.S. has grown and exported these beans for some time. Now, we have learned to hang onto more of them once we realized hummus is very good for us and quite tasty.
Chickpeas are best known for being high protein. They also possess more fiber than most beans, are healthy for diabetics and rich in antioxidants, zinc and folate. They are credited for lowering cholesterol.
The Kabuli is the more popular beige chickpea; the Desi variety are smaller and darker with a rougher coating. Chickpeas, the beans, are available dried or canned. They are a rare instance where, once rinsed, they retain their nutrients and taste just as well as fresh cooked.
Store dried chickpeas in a dark, dry place for up to a year; store cooked chickpeas for up to three days.
Chickpea flour is used to make Mediterranean local flat breads and popular with those cooking gluten-free. As beans are protein, and “bean flour.” it gues us a new way to eat more nutrition-packed breads.
- Dried chickpeas are best soaked overnight before cooking for up to two hours. Do not overcook. Use in:
- Soups, stews
- Hummus (Middle Eastern dip made with sesame paste)
- Falafel (Middle Eastern deep-fried patty)
- Roasted/popped as snack
- Stir fry
- Any dish suitable for beans