If I had to pick a favorite legume, it would be the chickpea – no contest! Chickpeas are magical. Not only are they cute and delicious but they are one of the most versatile foods out there. Garbanzo beans can be used in so many ways and each time, they take on a completely different personality, look and taste.
We can use chickpeas to make appetizers, snacks, salads, burgers, soups, stews, entrees, and even desserts. They can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory recipes and in many different forms. Dried chickpeas can be processed into chickpea flour for a gluten-free option that can be used in cooking and baking. If you use canned chickpeas, keep the brine because that’s a whole other kind of magic.
Chickpeas are enjoyed around the globe and whether you call them chickpeas, garbanzo beans, ceci, besan or chana dal, we can all agree that chickpeas are a delicious source of protein. If you only think of hummus or falafel when you think of chickpeas, get ready to be surprised! Here are 10 things you won’t believe you can do with chickpeas with recipes from our Food Monster App!
1. Serve Sensational Starters
Source: Mini Quinoa-Chickpea Cakes
Chickpeas may be little but they make small dishes that are big on flavor. Want to be the hit of the party? Just serve or bring any or all of these three starters: Mini Quinoa-Chickpea Cakes that are covered with a creamy roasted red pepper cashew cream sauce, Chickpea Balls made with melon and pumpkin seeds, and crispy, spicy and addictive Chickpea Fries.
You may not think of legumes when you think of snacks but chickpeas make for some of the most addictive noms. It’s true, when you roast chickpeas, they become the most delicious, crunchy snack. You can make them in a skillet or roast them in the oven. Flavor them with your favorite spice blend or make several different types to satisfy everyone. Try these Toasted Chickpeas, Ginger Garlic Chickpeas, Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas, Roasted Chickpeas with Chipotle and Lime, and Oven–Roasted Chickpeas with garlic and cumin. Just remember to make a lot because they are going to disappear quickly!
3. Amp Up Salads and Bowls
Not only can chickpeas add flavor and texture to dishes but they bump up the protein which can turn a simple salad into a satisfying meal. Forget the croutons and add chickpeas to an already composed salad like this Cashew Creamy Spinach Salad with Roasted Chickpeas, Protein-Packed Vegan Salad with Quinoa, Chickpeas, Lime and Cilantro, Smoky Chickpea and Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado and this Superfood Salad with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chickpeas, Kale, Sprouts and Seeds.
Chickpeas can also be the main ingredient in a salad. Try this Lemony Chickpea Salad, Vegan, Gluten-Free Chickpea Waldorf Salad, Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad, Warm Potato Salad with Spinach and Chickpeas and Tangy Vegan Curried Chickpea Salad. Add them to any power bowl like this Chickpea Quinoa Bowl with Coconut Barbecue Sauce.
4. Make Cookie Dough
What? Make cookie dough out of chickpeas? Yes!! Chickpeas can be the base of an egg-free cookie dough that you won’t be able to get enough of. We all know that cookies are delicious, but sometimes the best part of baking cookies is eating the cookie dough itself. This Egg-Free Cookie Dough is sweet, creamy and surprise – made from chickpeas. It’s healthy so it’s not only okay to lick the bowl, you can eat the whole bowl if you want. The only thing better than chickpea cookie dough with chocolate chips is having yummy brownie brittle to scoop it up with. This Brownie Brittle With Chickpea Cookie Dough is like having a chocolate cracker, a perfect edible transport system, for the cookie dough you won’t believe is made with chickpeas.
5. Have a Burger Bash
Source: Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers
One of the first veggie burgers I ever made were chickpea burgers. Since chickpeas are so mild in flavor, they take on the flavors of whatever ingredients you cook them with so be liberal with the spices and herbs. You can make burgers out of just chickpeas or pair the garbanzo beans with other yummy ingredients. Burgers you have to try are these Tempeh Chickpea Patties, Falafel Burgers with Avocado Sauce, Spinach and Homemade Burger Buns, Zucchini Chickpea Burgers, Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers with Apricot Mustard and Rosemary Fries, Spicy Cauliflower Burgers, and Chickpea Millet Burgers with Butternut Squash.
6. Bake Some Bread
When you’re gluten-free, finding bread that has a good taste and tender texture is a challenge. Luckily, chickpea flour is a gluten-free alternative that makes really yummy breads and tortillas. This Chickpea Flatbread is made with just chickpea flour and water, this slightly dense and crunchy bread can be flavored with your favorite herbs and spices to make it your own. Flatbreads can be stuffed with yummy fillings like my Kale Parathas, used to make tacos like these Smoky Socca Tacos With Peach Salsa or used as a base for pizza like this Socca Pizza. It’s fast, easy and there is no yeast required to make The Most Delicious Mediterranean Chickpea Bread, Sprouted Chickpea Bread or these Herbed Chickpea and Sesame Crackers.
7. Batter Up
Source: Vegan Fried “Chicken”
Chickpea flour can be used to replace eggs in dishes where eggs are the main ingredients. You can make this Chickpea Flour Scramble, Chickpea Omelets with Mushrooms, Greens and Vegan Swiss, and Mini Quiches with Spinach, Tomato and Vegan Cheddar with Lemon Cashew Cream. Chickpea flour lets you make light and airy crepes which can be savory like these Easy Garden Veggie Protein Crepes, Chickpea Blinis with Grilled Vegetables and Lemon Cream or sweet like these Maca, Almond and Orange French Crepes.
When you need a batter to coat French toast, tofu or tempeh, or veggies to make pakora or tempura, chickpea flour is a great choice. Just mix it with water or non-dairy milk and you can make this Vegan Fried “Chicken,” Spicy Chipotle Onion Pucks, Challah French Toast, Vegan “Fish” and Chips, Tofu Francaise, Broccoli and Onion Pakora and these Healthy Baked Vegan Pakora. For tips and recipes about all things egg-free, see Who Needs Eggs? Here’s How to Make Vegan Omelets, Frittatas, Quiches and Crepes.
8. Something Fishy
Chickpeas are the perfect ingredient to make vegan versions of your favorite seafood dishes. When mashed, chickpeas can be formed into various shapes. Because their flavor is mild, chickpeas can be given a “fishy” taste by using ingredients such as Old Bay seasoning, dill, seaweed, and lemon. Try using chickpeas to make this Chickpea “Tuna” Salad, Vegan Crab Cakes with Sweet Balsamic Mayo, Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Melt Sandwich, and these Phish Burgers.
9. Just Desserts
Source: Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies
Chickpeas and chickpea flour are great choices when making desserts. I use chickpea flour all the time when I make cakes, muffins and cookies for a gluten-free dish with lots of protein. Remember, chickpea flour does have a strong flavor, so be mindful of that while baking lighter desserts. Try substituting with a milder flour on a 1:1 ratio to avoid to dense of a chickpea taste – unless that’s the flavor you’re going for! You’ll love these dreamy Soft-Batch Snickerdoodles made with chickpeas and tahini. They’re delightfully nutty, sweet, cinnamon-y, and absolutely packed with protein to keep you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all day long. The chocolate layer in these 3 Layer Chocolate Strawberry Cakes is made from chickpeas – really! These Khaman Dhokla are light and fluffy cakes made with chickpea flour. They are savory, sweet and spicy all at the same time. If you like brownies and blondies, you’ll love these Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies. Made with chickpeas, cashew butter, and oats, these blondies are dairy-free, gluten-free and oil-free for a guilt-free snack anytime.
10. Replace Egg Whites
Source: Mango Macarons
Aquafaba is all the rage. Did you know you can take chickpea brine – the liquid left in the can after you remove the chickpeas – to make vegan meringue? I know! It’s incredible. Learn how in All About Aquafaba: 13 Amazing Recipes Made With Chickpea Brine. Then check out the recipes for Vegan Meringue! and use your new creation to make other amazing desserts like 3 Ingredient Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse, Mango Macarons, Chocolate Dipped Maple ‘Meringues,’ Lemon Meringue Pie, Rich Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tart With Vanilla Meringue and these Raspberry and Elderflower French Macarons.
I told you chickpeas are magical! Of course, they make delicious falafel and hummus but we can do so much more with them. Have fun exploring all the magic of chickpeas.
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