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Reasons to Crave Chickpeas & Their Nutritional Content Cooked

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What Are Chickpeas?


You say garbanzo, and I say chickpeas… Let's clear this up. Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same legumes. The beans are called different things depending on location. Most English-speaking countries use chickpeas, while Spain and the United States of America use garbanzo.


Scientifically chickpeas are known as Cicer arietinum, a type of legume belonging to the Fabaceae family. Plants in this family are classified by their fruit, known as a legume or pods. Legumes are elongated or flattened structures that contain seeds. A pulse is the edible seeds of legume plants. These seeds are round and beige, with a firm texture and a nutty flavour.


There are popular types of chickpeas, kabuli and desi. Kabuli is the larger of the two and has a cream colour. Desi is darker and smaller than kabuli and commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Kabuli is more commonly used in Western cooking and is what most of us use to make hummus.


Why Are You Craving Chickpeas?


There could be several reasons why you want some chickpea goodness. Here are the most common reasons:


  1. Nutritional Needs: See the nutritional content, maybe you're lacking something from the list. An iron deficeny or need for increased protein could be it.

  2. Dietary Preferences

  3. Flavor and Texture

  4. Habit and Familiarity

  5. Emotional Eating


Nutritional Profile of Chickpeas


Chickpeas have a rich nutritional profile. They offer Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and essential fatty acids. A single serving of chickpeas provides almost 20 grams of protein. This makes it a great source of plant protein.


The content of chickpeas includes beneficial compounds like aspartic acid and phytic acid. These are linked to muscle control and brain health. Human studies have shown that regular chickpea intake can help in managing appetite under control. This can help in supporting weight management.


Chickpea Nutritional Content


Here is the chickpea nutritional content for 100 grams of cooked chickpeas. This is a guide only as the growing environment and processing will affect chickpea's nutritional content.


Nutrient

Amount

Calories

164 kcal

Protein

8.86 g

Carbohydrates

27.42 g

Dietary Fibre

7.6 g

Sugars

4.8 g

Fat

2.59 g

Saturated Fat

0.27 g

Monounsaturated Fat

0.58 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

1.16 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Iron

2.89 mg

Magnesium

48 mg

Phosphorus

168 mg

Potassium

291 mg

Sodium

7 mg

Zinc

1.53 mg

Copper

0.35 mg

Manganese

1.03 mg

Selenium

3.7 µg

Vitamin C

1.3 mg

Thiamin (B1)

0.116 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

0.063 mg

Niacin (B3)

0.526 mg

Vitamin B6

0.139 mg

Folate (B9)

172 µg

Vitamin E

0.35 mg

Vitamin K

4 µg


Is There a Difference Between Canned and Soaked Chickpeas?


Chickpeas, whether canned or cooked from dried, are a nutritious and versatile legume, offering a rich source of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals.


However, it's worth noting that the sodium levels differ significantly between the two preparations. Canned chickpeas typically contain higher levels of sodium due to the preservation process, with 350 milligrams per 100 grams, whereas cooked chickpeas have a much lower sodium content, with only 24 milligrams per 100 grams.


Therefore, individuals looking to reduce their sodium intake may opt for cooked chickpeas over canned varieties. Overall, incorporating chickpeas into your diet can contribute to a balanced and nutritious eating pattern, supporting overall health and well-being.


Chickpea Nutritional Diversity


Chickpeas have a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. In contrast, other legumes may excel in one or two essential nutrients.


Chickpeas are an excellent choice of legume because they have many nutrients. They can meet different nutritional needs in one food. This makes meal planning and choosing what to eat easier. It also helps you get more nutrients for a healthy diet.


Chickpeas Are a Complete Protein


Chickpeas are a good source of nutrition. Chickpeas contain all nine essential amino acids. This makes them a complete source of protein.


Chickpeas provide all the essential nutrients for repairing and building tissues. They are beneficial for everyone, especially for people on vegetarian or vegan diets.


Chickpeas Boost Our Fibre Intake


Chickpeas are an excellent source of dietary fibre. Fibre is important for maintaining glycemic control and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The soluble fibre in chickpeas helps manage blood glucose levels. They are a healthier choice compared to something like white bread. Including chickpeas in your daily diet can contribute to brain health and reduce the risk of heart disease.


Chickpeas have fibre that helps good bacteria grow in our gut. Fibre makes and keeps our digestive system healthy. Eating chickpeas regularly not only gives our bodies essential nutrients, but it also helps our gut bacteria thrive, which keeps us healthy.


What are the Health Benefits of Chickpeas?

Infographic health benefits of chickpeas

  1. Nutrient-rich: Chickpeas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

  2. Digestive health: The fibre in chickpeas promotes healthy digestion.

  3. Blood sugar control: Chickpeas have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

  4. Heart health: Chickpeas can help lower cholesterol and maintain healthy blood pressure.

  5. Weight management: Chickpeas contribute to feelings of fullness and can help with weight control.

  6. Antioxidant properties: Chickpeas contain antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

  7. Plant-Based protein: Chickpeas are a valuable plant-based protein source.



What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Chickpeas?


Nutrient-rich: Chickpeas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and potassium, as well as B vitamins, particularly folate (vitamin B9). These nutrients are crucial for bone, heart, brain, and overall cellular health.


High in Protein: As a valuable plant-based protein source, chickpeas are essential for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function, making them particularly important for vegetarians and vegans.


Digestive Health: The high fibre content in chickpeas promotes healthy digestion and bowel regularity, helping to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.


Blood Sugar Control: Chickpeas have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they are digested slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This makes them beneficial for blood sugar management, suitable for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels.


Heart Health: The combination of fibre, potassium, and other nutrients in chickpeas can help lower cholesterol levels and maintain healthy blood pressure, contributing to overall heart health.


Weight Management: The protein and fibre in chickpeas contribute to feelings of fullness, which can help with weight control by reducing overall calorie intake and aiding in weight management.


Antioxidant Properties: Chickpeas contain antioxidants such as flavonoids, phytonutrients, and beta-carotene, which protect cells against damage from free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.


Versatility in Diet: Chickpeas can be easily incorporated into various dishes, such as salads, soups, stews, and curries, or processed into hummus, making them a versatile and delicious option for adding nutritional value to meals.


Are Chickpeas High in Protein?


woman flexing

Plant-based Protein: Chickpeas are a great source of healthy protein. Cooked or from a can, they contain about 7 grams of protein per 100 grams. Half a cup is one serving size in the Daily Dozen, equivalent to 7.5 grams of protein.


The recommended daily intake for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound). This amount of protein is considered sufficient for most sedentary adults to meet their basic needs.


However, Dr Greger of NutritionFacts.org clears this up by saying this is the upper limit:


"Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day. So, that's like your ideal weight in pounds, multiplied by four, and then divided by ten."


The example he gives:


"So, someone whose ideal weight is 100 pounds may require up to 40 grams of protein a day. On average, they probably only need about 30 grams a day, which is .66 grams per kilogram, but we say 0.8 or 0.9 because everyone's different, and we want to capture most of the bell curve."


Fibre: Chickpeas are high in soluble and insoluble fibre, promoting healthy digestion, keeping us feeling full, and helping regulate blood sugar levels. 100 grams of cooked chickpeas provide us with 6.5 grams of fibre.


The Daily Dozen half-cup serving size equates to about 6 grams of fibre. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum intake of 25 grams of fibre per day for adults.


Chickpeas can help with weight management. Their high fibre and protein content can help promote satiety and reduce appetite. Including chickpeas in your diet may help you feel fuller for extended periods and reduce your overall calorie intake.


Complex Carbohydrates: Chickpeas are digested slowly and provide a steady release of energy. Chickpeas have a low glycaemic index (GI) rating, meaning they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.


Micronutrients: Chickpeas are rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals play an essential role in the body, including supporting red blood cell production, bone health, nerve function, and immune system function.


100 grams of cooked chickpeas provide a good amount of the daily recommended intake (RDI) (approximately):


  • Iron: 2.89 milligrams of iron, 16 % of the RDI for adult men (18 milligrams) and 9 % for adult women (18 milligrams) who are premenopausal.

  • Phosphorus: 168 milligrams of phosphorus, 17 % of the RDI for adults (1000 milligrams).

  • Potassium: 289 milligrams of potassium, 6 % of the RDI for adults (4700 milligrams).

  • Magnesium: 48 milligrams of magnesium, 12 % of the RDI for adult men (400-420 milligrams) and 15% for adult women (310-320 milligrams).

  • Zinc: 1.53 milligrams of zinc, accounting for 14 % of the RDI for adult men (11 milligrams) and 20 % for adult women (8 milligrams).


Per Daily Dozen ½ Cup Serving (approximately):


  • Iron: 1.98 milligrams (mg), 11 % RDI for adult men, 22 % RDI for adult female

  • Phosphorus: 143 mg, 14% RDI

  • Potassium: 255 mg, 5 % RDI

  • Magnesium: 36 mg, 9 % RDI

  • Zinc: 1.01 mg, 9 % RDI adult men, 13 % RDI adult women


Folate: Chickpeas contain vitamin B9, commonly called folate. In 100 grams of cooked chickpeas, there are approximately 172 micrograms (mcg) of folate. Folate is critical for cell growth and reproduction. Adequate folate helps to prevent neural tube defects and is therefore vital for women trying to conceive or who are already pregnant.


The General RDI for Folate:


  • Infants (0-6 months): 65 micrograms (mcg)

  • Infants (7-12 months): 80 mcg

  • Children (1-3 years): 150 mcg

  • Children (4-8 years): 200 mcg

  • Children (9-13 years): 300 mcg

  • Adolescents (14-18 years): 400 mcg

  • Adults (19 years and older): 400 mcg

  • Pregnant women: 600 mcg

  • Breastfeeding women: 500 mcg


Antioxidants: Chickpeas contain various antioxidants, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and beta-carotene. These compounds help protect the body against oxidative stress associated with chronic diseases and aging.


Are Ghickpeas Gluten-Free?


Yes, chickpeas are gluten-free. They do not contain gluten naturally. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and their products. Chickpeas are legumes and are safe to consume for individuals following a gluten-free diet or those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.


It's important to note that cross-contamination can occur during processing or if chickpeas are packaged or processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing products. If you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity, choose certified gluten-free chickpea products or those labelled gluten-free to ensure they have not been contaminated with gluten.


dry chickpeas

What are the Differences Between Canned and Dried Chickpeas?


Canned Chickpeas:


  • Similar nutrient content to dried chickpeas

  • Contains added salt or sodium

  • Soft texture, already cooked and ready to use

  • Convenient and time-saving option


Dried Chickpeas:


  • Similar nutrient content to canned chickpeas

  • No added salt or sodium

  • Require soaking and cooking before use

  • The firmer texture is preferred by some


Remember to rinse canned chickpeas before using them to reduce sodium content. Both options offer nutritional benefits, but canned chickpeas are more convenient, while dried chickpeas give you more control over cooking and sodium intake.


How do I Cook Dried Chickpeas?


Preparation:


  • Rinse the dried chickpeas thoroughly under cold water to remove debris or impurities.

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of water.

  • Quick soak method: Bring the chickpeas and water to a boil in a large pot. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let them soak for 1 hour.

  • Drain the soaking and rinse water before cooking.


Stove top cooking:


  1. Put the soaked and drained chickpeas in a pot and cover with fresh water. The water level should be about 2 inches (5 cm) above the chickpeas.

  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

  3. Cover the pot partially and cook for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours or until the chickpeas are tender but not mushy. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface during cooking. Cooking time can vary, so it's best to check for doneness by tasting.


Pressure cooking:


  1. Put the soaked and drained chickpeas in the pressure cooker.

  2. Add enough water to cover the chickpeas, ensuring the water level does not exceed the maximum fill line of the pressure cooker.

  3. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas.

  4. Generally, it takes around 20-25 minutes at high pressure. Once cooked, allow the pressure to release naturally before opening the cooker.


To see if your chickpeas are cooked, take some out of the water and allow them to cool, then squeeze them between your fingers. The chickpeas should be soft but still hold their shape. If they're too firm, continue to cook them.


Once cooked, drain the chickpeas, and use them in various recipes like salads, soups, stews, or dips. You can store the cooked chickpeas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days or freeze them for extended storage.


How do I Store Cooked Chickpeas?


Proper storage helps maintain the quality and freshness of cooked chickpeas and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses. To store cooked chickpeas:


Cool down: Allow the cooked chickpeas to cool to room temperature before storing them. This helps prevent excess moisture. Excess moisture can promote the growth of bacteria and reduce the shelf life of the chickpeas.


Drain and dry: Drain the cooked chickpeas to remove any remaining cooking liquid. To remove excess moister, pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel (optional).


Store: Choose an airtight storage container. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work well. Make sure the containers are clean and dry before adding the chickpeas. I like to use glass storage containers unless I plan to freeze food.


If you plan to use chickpeas for multiple meals, now is a perfect time to portion out your specific quantities. Something else to do is label the containers with the cooking date to track freshness.


Put the chickpeas into the fridge, freezer or both, depending on your needs. In the fridge, cooked chickpeas last about 3 – 5 days. Store them in the coolest and most consistent temperature space for the most time. For example, store them at the back of the fridge where it is the coolest, and there is less fluctuation in temperature from the door being opened.


In the freezer, cooked chickpeas can last up to about 6 months. When you need to use them, thaw them in the fridge before recooking them and consume them within a few days.


Incorporating Chickpeas into Your Diet


Chickpeas can be enjoyed in various healthy recipes, such as hummus, salads, and stews. Their nutty flavour and buttery texture make them a versatile ingredient. Whether using dry chickpeas or cans of chickpeas, they are easy to prepare and can be a staple in your meal plan.


chickpea recipe falafel

What are Some Popular Chickpea Recipes?


Chickpeas are incredibly versatile and can be used in many delicious recipes. Here are some popular and tasty chickpea recipes:


  • Hummus: A classic Middle Eastern dip made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Enjoy it with pita bread, raw veggies, or as a spread.


  • Chickpea Curry: A hearty curry dish made with chickpeas, spices, and vegetables. It can be served with rice or naan bread.


  • Chickpea Salad: A refreshing salad combining chickpeas and fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and capsicum (bell peppers) tossed with a citrus dressing. You can add herbs or olives for extra flavour.


  • Roasted Chickpeas: Toss cooked chickpeas with olive oil and seasonings of your choice, then roast in the oven until crispy. They can be enjoyed as is or used as a topping for salads.


  • Chickpea Burgers: A vegetarian or vegan alternative to traditional burgers. Combine mashed chickpeas with breadcrumbs, spices, and herbs, shape them into patties, and cook them on a stovetop or grill. Serve on buns with your favourite toppings.


  • Chickpea Soup: A comforting and nourishing soup made with chickpeas, vegetables, and aromatic spices. It's a hearty and filling option for colder days.


  • Falafel: A popular Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. The mixture is formed into small patties or balls and deep-fried or baked until crispy. Serve on pita bread with tahini sauce and salad.


  • Chickpea Pasta: Substitute regular pasta with chickpea pasta made from chickpea flour. It's a gluten-free and higher-protein alternative that can be paired with various sauces and toppings.


chickpea recipe hummus

Recipe: Easy Hummus


Ingredients:


1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons tahini (optional)

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Iodised salt to taste

Water (as needed for desired consistency)

Optional toppings: paprika, chopped parsley, or a drizzle of lemon juice


Instructions:


In a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, and a pinch of salt.


Blend the ingredients until they are well combined. If the mixture seems too thick, add water gradually, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.


Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Add more lemon juice, garlic, cumin, or salt as needed.


Once the hummus reaches the desired consistency and flavour, transfer it to a serving bowl. If desired, you can garnish the hummus with a sprinkle of paprika, chopped parsley, or a drizzle of lemon juice. I like to use garlic powder and fennel seeds. Serve the hummus with fresh vegetables, pittta bread, or use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps.

Ingredients:


Recipe: Tortilla Wrap Chips (Flour or Corn)


Instructions:


Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F)


  1. Take the tortilla wraps and stack them together to save time.

  2. Using a sharp knife cut your stack of tortillas into triangular or bite-sized chip pieces. The easiest way is to cut the tortillas in half, then cut each half into smaller triangles.

  3. Place the tortilla chips in a single layer on baking paper.

  4. Optional: Lightly spray the tortilla chips with cooking spray or brush them with a small amount of oil so they will become crispy. This step can be skipped if you prefer oil-free chips.

  5. Sprinkle salt or your preferred seasonings (such as chilli powder, cumin, or garlic powder) over the tortilla chips to add flavour.

  6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the tortilla chips turn golden brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can quickly go from golden to burnt.

  7. Once the tortilla chips are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet. They will continue to become crisp as they cool. Serve the tortilla chips with your hummus and enjoy!


More Hummus Recipes


There is no such thing as too much hummus! Here are some more recipes I have tried and enjoyed, put together by Derek Simnett.

Summary


Chickpeas are very healthy and can be used in many ways. I have given you a few examples to get you thinking, but the possibilities are endless. Chickpeas can be used in soups, stews, wraps, casseroles, and more. So, boost your kitchen game and try chickpeas in something new this week. Let me know what you come up with.


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