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Chances are, you have eaten chickpeas before without knowing it. They don’t have the most distinguishable taste in the world but they are subtle and help out where it matters. They are most commonly known for their use in making hummus as they are the main ingredient. Chickpeas can also be used as a substitute for a lot of other types of beans. So, now that you know you have been secretly consuming them, what do chickpeas taste like?

Yellow corn on glass bowl

What are chickpeas / garbanzo beans?

Chickpeas are commonly known as garbanzo beans in Spanish-speaking areas around the world. They are a legume of the plant family Fabaceae and are grown for their seed which is very high in protein and fiber. This makes chickpeas very helpful to someone who is on any vegetarian or vegan diet. The beans come in different colors such as red, green, black, and brown. The brown chickpeas are most often used for making great-tasting hummus and falafel. As mentioned, chickpeas have a lot of other names such as;

  • Chickpeas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Indian peas
  • Egyptian oea
  • Bengal gram
  • Chole

Unless you are growing your own chickpeas then you will be getting them at the store. They come in two types at the store which is; dried chickpeas and canned chickpeas.

Dried chickpeas

The word ‘dried’ may give you the assumption that you can eat them as a snack but this is wrong. After buying dried chickpeas, you will need to hydrate them before use. They should be safe to store for up to a year, and once you are ready to use them just simply leave them in a bowl full of water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda for around 8-12 hours. After this, you will want to drain them into a saucepan and cover them again with water and bring it to a boil. After 45 mins – an hour the chickpeas will be ready to use in any dish you want.

Canned chickpeas

Canned chickpeas come pre-cooked and ready to use, which means you can throw them right into any dish as soon as you open the can. However, the brine that they were left in may leave them with a bit too much of a salty taste so it is advised to rinse them first.

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas can be eaten as a vegan-friendly snack and are also sold relatively cheaply at any store. They can come in the form of roasted or double roasted, and may also vary in flavorings depending on the brand. Roasted chickpeas have been cooked properly and then dry roasted similar to peanuts. They are cooked chickpeas so they are safe for consumption and make a very tasty high protein and high fiber snack. For flavoring, they may have been drizzled with olive oil before roasting.

How do chickpeas taste?

Chickpeas taste very differently depending on how you cook them. On their own, they have a nice nutty and earthy flavor that sticks around for a while and they also have a hint of that bean flavor that is often associated with any member of the legume family. If chickpeas have been mashed, they still taste the same but will now have a delicious and creamy, grainy texture.

Roasted chickpeas can be an incredible side dish but can also help add texture to any other dish when they are in a dried form. They will have the same base flavor as normal chickpeas but when roasted they can have a deep smoked flavor added to them, as well as any other flavorings such as salt and pepper that may have been added during the roasting process.

The texture of dry roasted chickpeas is similar to that of standard dried peas. The shell or layer on the outside will flare a bit which makes a satisfying crunch when you bite down, similar to any other dried legumes that you may eat. The nutty flavor is still there and they taste a lot like pinto beans. Any additives will only help the flavor as it pairs so well with everything. If they are salted and drizzled with olive oil, then chickpeas can be a very addictive snack that keeps you coming back for more.

Nutritional value of chickpeas

The nutritional value for chickpeas is very high in plant-based protein and also incredibly high in fiber. Alongside this, chickpeas are also linked with a lot of other health benefits such as bone health and blood pressure. In one cup of chickpeas, there is 12.5g of dietary fiber and 39g of protein, which is incredibly high.

Bone health

There is a lot of iron, calcium, and other micronutrients found within chickpeas, and all of these can play a role in keeping your bones healthy and also helping prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Blood pressure

One of the best ways to prevent high blood pressure is by limiting your intake of sodium, salt and instead, increasing your potassium intake significantly. Chickpeas are a good source of potassium and a cup of them will provide 474mg of potassium. If your blood pressure is of importance then you should be wary of canned chickpeas and check their sodium content before you eat them.

Heart health

The nutrients in chickpeas such as fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium all support your heart health. FIber is essential to this as it helps decrease the risk of heart disease and it lowers the cholesterol levels in the blood. On top of this, chickpeas have no cholesterol.

What are chickpeas used for?

Chickpeas can be used in many dishes from many different cuisines such as Jewish, Italian, and philippine cuisines. The use of chickpeas is almost endless as they add such a great flavor to any dish and also help improve the texture by miles as they can be so crunchy, but also so creamy if prepared properly.

While it may seem trivial, chickpeas were also used in the first world war as a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Alongside this, the main uses of chickpeas are;

Looking at all of this may have your mouth watering and you may be wanting to start using them, which is great! And to help you out, here is how you can make some delicious homemade hummus that you can dip carrot sticks, breadsticks, and other delicious snacks into.

Making Hummus

Hummus is insanely easy to make and requires few ingredients. The procedure of making the hummus is also simple and can be done by anyone no matter their experience in the kitchen! The ingredients you will need for the perfect hummus are;

  • Chickpeas (dried or canned)
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Ground cumin and salt
  • Olive oil

These are the main ingredients and nothing is too difficult to find except the sesame seed paste, which may prove challenging but most supermarkets should have it. You can by all means add other ingredients to this if you think it will help, it is common to use spices as well to give it some heat, olives and pine nuts are also added in post to give it an extra bit of flavor while also adding texture. The garnishing used at the end can also make the hummus look and taste so much better. For this, I recommend paprika and olive oil.

Preparing the chickpeas

If you are using canned chickpeas then you will want to rinse them off and dry them with a paper towel. Dried chickpeas will need to be hydrated and cooked first which can be done by covering them in cold water in a large bowl overnight. Once they are hydrated either boil them in a pot for an hour or cook them in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. The liquid found in canned chickpeas and the liquid found after cooking chickpeas from scratch should be saved as it can be an important ingredient later on in this recipe.

Making your own hummus

The rest of this method is so simple that all you have to pay attention to is the order in which you add your ingredients. First, to a food processor, you will want to add your tahini and lemon juice and start whipping them until a creamy paste that is lighter in color appears.

After this step, it is time to add either your water or the liquid you got from your chickpeas. It is essential that you let your food processor run for about a minute after the introduction of each ingredient. Once you have introduced the water or chickpea liquid and ran the processor for a minute, it is time to add another ingredient and run it again for another minute. Keep doing this until you have added all ingredients. When adding the chickpeas, it may be beneficial to peel them first so that your hummus is even more creamy and soft.

Once every ingredient has been added and whipped for a minute, it is time to put it into a dish and serve it. Add a fancy swirl in the middle with a spoon and drizzle olive oil and splash some paprika on it. Then you are ready to serve it and enjoy your very own homemade hummus.

Chickpeas are percet for vegan diets

Chickpeas should 100% be introduced to your diet whenever they can be as they are so tasty and also healthy. Hummus is just the start of what you can make with them, and it is well worth the time to go and see what you can do with them from now on.

FAQ – What do chickpeas taste like?

Are chickpeas really good for you?

Chickpeas are so healthy for you. They are filled with fiber and plant-based protein which makes them perfect for any vegan or vegetarian who needs more protein in their diet. They also have other good nutrients in them and help reduce cholesterol.