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Pantry staples: chickpeas

How to use up those random ingredients in your press!

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Have you got a rogue tin of chickpeas lying around in your pantry? Here's all you need to know about this tasty legume, plus a couple of ways to use up those tins.

In our pantry staples series, we look at the ingredients that most people usually have in their presses – chickpeas, beans, noodles and the like. This time it's chickpeas, a popular Middle Eastern ingredient that is known for its high protein and fibre content.

Chickpeas, which are known as garbanzo beans in Spanish, originated in the Middle East over 7500 years ago. The legume was first cultivated around 3000BC but wasn’t spread to other countries until the 1500s when Spanish explorers came across the chickpea on their travels. They brought the chickpea with them on their further voyages and the rest, as they say, is history!

Hummus made with chickpeas, image: Getty Images
Hummus made with chickpeas, image: Getty Images

Read more: Sweet potato rosti, grilled halloumi and poached eggs

Chickpeas are now hugely popular around the world, with millions of people enjoying the legume every day. We’re big fans of chickpeas in all of its forms – hummus, roasted or as falafel, if it contains a chickpea, we’ll eat it!

While lots of people buy tinned chickpeas, dried chickpeas can be bought in bulk which is often a cheaper alternative, but requires a bit more work. Dried chickpeas need to be soaked in water overnight before they can be used, then drained and rinsed (like their tinned counterparts). After this, the chickpeas should be cooked: place them in a pot with twice their volume of water, bring them to the boil, then simmer for about an hour until they’re tender. Tinned chickpeas need to be drained and rinsed before they can be used, but they’re already cooked so you don’t need to follow the above process.

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A really versatile ingredient, chickpeas can be added to almost any dish for some extra protein and flavour. They’re also really important in vegan and vegetarian diets as they provide much-needed plant-based protein, fibre and healthy carbs. We particularly like chucking a tin of chickpeas into curries, soups and stews to add in some extra protein.

Looking for some recipe ideas to use up your tins of chickpeas? Check out a few of our favourites below.

Asador’s Chickpea and Carrot Burger

This recipe is from Asador Restaurant in Dublin. To create a blend of textures the burger is made from a combination of raw and cooked carrot, with chickpeas for added bite. Tinned chickpeas are used here, blended with the carrots, but if you want even more added texture, leave a few of the chickpeas whole in the mix.

Vegan Aquafaba Meringues

This liquid that you drain off from chickpeas, known as aquafaba, is usually discarded but we recommend you keep it! It is great for vegan baking and whips up particularly well to create a fairly stable vegan meringue base. Once you've mastered this recipe, you'll be a pro at vegan pavlovas, meringue kisses and more – there really are endless ways to use aquafaba!

Papdi Chaat

This recipe for papdi chaat, or crispy fried whole wheat coins with black chickpeas, comes from Sunil Ghai of Pickle Restaurant on Camden Street. Chaat refers to any type of fried crispy snack enjoyed as appetisers. In India, they are eaten in the early evening on the streets before families share their dinner. The crispy Papdi ‘coins’ are served topped with mildly spiced black chickpeas.

Keep an eye on the website next week for the next part in this series!

What’s your favourite way to use chickpeas? Let us know in the comments below.