Rediscovering chickpeas: how to cook them to enjoy their benefits
Chickpeas are widely known as the king of legumes because of their nutritional properties and high protein content.
Middle Eastern countries have been growing them for thousands of years, but chickpeas have become really popular worldwide recently. They’re so versatile they can be used in any recipe you come up with.
At Arctic Gardens, we’ve done our research and want you to rediscover everything they have to offer.
And after you read the article, we promise you’ll include them in your diet more often.
The health benefits of chickpeas
The essential protein
As far as legumes are concerned, chickpeas are the richest plant protein of them all.
In vegetarian or vegan recipes, they’re a great meat alternative.
Studies have even shown that the quality of protein is better in chickpeas than in other legumes. In fact, they have almost all the essential amino acids.
What you need to know
To get all the amino acids in your diet, we recommend serving chickpeas with another protein source like whole grains. Check with your doctor about what’s best for you.
Ally against diabetes
Whether dried or canned, chickpeas help control blood sugar levels, but how?
The fibre in these legumes promotes a balanced increase in blood sugar levels as opposed to spikes and high insulin levels.
Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes benefit from eating this kind of food.
Effect on satiety
Once again, the protein and fibre in chickpeas work hand in hand to keep your appetite under control.
Eating chickpeas will slow down digestion which will help you feel fuller longer and manage a more mindful diet.
A healthy heart
The fibre and nutrients in chickpeas promote heart health.
This superfood will help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.
By including it in your diet more often, you’ll consume good amounts of potassium.
Potassium will help improve circulation and blood pressure. So if you suffer from high blood pressure, this is the perfect pulse for you.
Yup, chickpeas also help fight anemia because they’re a good source of iron.
Iron is vital for functioning. Without it, the body couldn’t send oxygen to its cells, which could lead to anemia.
But that’s not all. Chickpeas also contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron more quickly.
Several studies have proven the positive effects of eating chickpeas to prevent colon cancer.
The high fibre content helps reduce inflammation of the colon membranes, thus improving intestinal flora and promoting good digestion.
How to choose chickpeas
You can find chickpeas in various forms on the market. That’s another why they’re one of the most versatile foods ever.
Did you know?
Canada is one of the world’s leading chickpea exporters. So when buying them, make sure they’re grown here. It’s a great way to support local producers.
One thing to keep in mind when buying dried chickpeas is that they take longer than canned to prepare because they need to be soaked before cooking.
When buying them, choose well-closed beans that are uniform in colour and store them in an airtight container to protect them from humidity.
Meal Prep is a great way to prepare food ahead of time and to plan your meals for the week. You’ll save time even if your weeks are packed.
Don’t forget you can also buy dried chickpeas in bulk. This is a great way to reduce kitchen waste. (Read our article to learn more about the zero waste movement)
It’s recommended that you consume legumes at least 3 times a week for a balanced and varied diet.
But we know that it takes time to cook them, which is why canned chickpeas are a really convenient way to enjoy them more often.
We recommend choosing canned legumes with no added salt and less water because they’re more flavourful.
Oh, and don’t forget to rinse them before eating them.
Chickpea flour is one of the hottest chickpea products around these days.
And yes, you can make all kinds of bread, donuts and even pizza dough with chickpea flour.
The good news if you’re gluten intolerant is that it’s a gluten-free flour so now you can make those pancakes you love so much.
But keep in mind that chickpea flour doesn’t rise, so it’s a good idea to mix it with another flour (rice flour would be a good choice).
What if you grow them?
How to cook chickpeas
To make chickpeas more digestible, remove the thin outer skin, add salt when you start cooking them, then add fines herbes for more flavour.
Our recipe picks
Once chickpeas are cooked, there are endless ways to prepare them. Here are some recipe ideas:
Chickpeas are the star ingredient of this Middle Eastern culinary delight. You can mix them with different spices and add vegetables.
You can also fry or bake them.
The hummus came from the Middle East and is enjoyed in many parts of the world today. Read our article on hummus and become an expert.
Snacks and sweet desserts
If you’re a salty snack lover, chickpeas are a great ingredient for your recipes, too.
They’ll take care of your late night snack cravings.
Bowls and salads
Where would bowls and salads be without chickpeas? The beautiful bowls you find in kitchenware shops really showcase chickpeas.
Couscous is undoubtedly one of the iconic dishes of Maghreb’s traditional cuisine.
And chickpeas play an important role in recipes because of their protein content.
Here are our favourite couscous recipes to motivate you to make them.
Aquafaba is the liquid leftover from cooking chickpeas or the liquid found in canned chickpeas.
It’s the latest trend and is used as a substitute for eggs.
Yup! You can substitute eggs in many recipes, either to make them vegan or if you’re allergic to eggs.
Here are some aquafaba recipes you’ll definitely want to try.
We hope you’ve enjoyed rediscovering the benefits of chickpeas and the different ways to cook them. So go ahead and incorporate them into your diet more often!
Before you go, let us know in the comments what your favourite chickpea recipes are and what other recipes you’d like to try.