What are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are legumes. Also widely known as garbanzo beans, humans have consumed chickpeas for thousands of years. Originating from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, chickpeas are now an important food plant worldwide, especially in India, South America, and Africa.
Nutritionally, it is high in fibre and protein and a great source of folic acid and iron. Chickpeas are quite hearty and, therefore, a great ingredient to fill up any dish.
What Do Chickpeas Taste Like?
Flavour: Like all legumes, chickpeas have that familiar bean flavour. Words like nutty and earthy are also used to describe its flavour.
However, chickpeas have their own distinctive taste that can only be described as “chickpea” flavour. Not helpful, I know! If you’ve never tried, you’re just going to have to, and perhaps you can give me a better description!
Texture: Chickpeas are creamy and slightly grainy. They are slightly soft, and sometimes the papery skin separates from the flesh, which adds another layer of texture.
Can I Eat Chickpeas Out of a Can?
Canned chickpeas are cooked, so yes, you can eat them straight out of a can. We would advise that you drain it first and give it a bit of a rinse before you do. It helps to remove the brine and that excess sodium.
How to Cook Dried Chickpeas?
Dried chickpeas are fantastic to have in your pantry as they last a long time, so you can always have them when you need them. The only thing about eating dried chickpeas is that it does require a bit of planning and not something you can have on a whim.
Rinse the dried chickpeas and soak them in a large bowl of cold water for about 8 to 12 hours. Overnight would be best. This makes the dried chickpeas digestible.
After that, drain the chickpeas, place them in a saucepan or stockpot and cover with water. Boil for about 1 hour until they are soft enough to consume.
You’re probably thinking, this is too much work. Hence the popularity of canned or vacuum-packed chickpeas.
How to Slow-Cook Chickpeas
Perhaps an easier way to cook dried chickpeas is in the slow cooker as it eliminates the overnight soaking process. Wash the dried chickpeas and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
450 g or 1 lb of dried chickpeas to about 7 cups of water will do the trick.
How to Roast Chickpeas
Have the oven on at 200°C or 400°F. Ensure the cooked chickpeas are dry, either cooked from their dried form or out of a can. If there is any skin coming off, remove them and discard.
Toss the chickpeas in some olive oil or the oil of your choice and place on baking parchment in a roasting pan or sheet pan, and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes.
What Goes Well with Chickpeas?
Fruit and Vegetables
Arugula, avocado, beetroot, cabbage, canary melon, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, cherry, cranberry, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, grapefruit, guava, honeydew, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, lemon, lettuce, mandarin, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pomegranate, pomelo, potato, pumpkin, radish, raisin, rockmelon, spinach, strawberry, sweet potato, turnip.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Basil, cardamom, cashew, chervil, chives, coriander, mint, nutmeg, parsley, peanut, pine nuts, pistachio, rosemary, sage, sumac, tarragon.
Protein and Other
Bacon, buffalo mozzarella, bulgur, butter, chocolate, curry, feta cheese, fish, goat cheese, gruyere, honey, mustard, pasta, pork, prosciutto.
How to Use Chickpeas in Salads?
Adding chickpeas, as they are, into salads is an incredibly popular thing to do. Apart from flavour, it’s done often as it also helps to make a leafy salad heartier.
Roasting chickpeas is another great way to add a different element to your salads. Even better when roasted in some spices such as cumin, garlic powder, paprika or cayenne pepper for added flavour.
Chickpeas are also present in different forms that we have been eating for a long time. Chickpeas are used to make staples such as hummus and falafels. You may just like these salads:
- Easy Vegan Falafel Salad with Hummus
- Dutch Carrot Salad with Hummus and Soft-Boiled Eggs
- Crispy Kale Salad with Hommus Dressing
Salad Recipes with Chickpeas
Pairing a classic homemade Italian salad dressing with simple staples such as chickpeas and broccoli makes for an easy side salad to serve with dinner. This chickpea avocado salad has the perfect balance of creamy textures, delicate leaves and roasted flavours. Enjoy!
Sauté some rustic Swiss brown mushrooms in butter and add some wholesome chickpeas, bitter radicchio and fresh snow pea sprouts for a delicious salad to have with any main meal.
What could be more scrumptious than whole roasted baby cauliflower? Combine them with spiced chickpeas and beetroot tahini, and you’ll have a Middle Eastern-inspired salad that won’t disappoint.
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