Looking for a satisfying snack with a dose of health benefits on the side? Put down those chips and introduce yourself to chickpeas.
What’s a Chickpea?
Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, chickpeas are nutrition powerhouses that will fill you up without filling you out. These small, round legumes with a nutty taste and buttery texture are consumed worldwide, particularly in dishes like hummus, Moroccan stew and curry. The most common variety of chickpea in the U.S. is the cream-colored “kabuli-type”, but the dark-colored “desi-type” is popular in other parts of the world. You can enjoy chickpeas year-round either dried or canned as a vegan and gluten-free way to boost your daily intake of fiber, protein and so much more.
Chickpeas vs. Garbanzo Beans
A rose by any other name—is still a rose. Yes, chickpea and garbanzo refer to the same bean. Why the confusion? Chickpea is the English name and garbanzo is the Spanish name. Most U.S. grocery stores stock them under both names, but they’re one and the same.
Healthy Reasons to Eat Chickpeas
These little legumes are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. Some of the key reasons you’ll want chickpeas in your diet include high levels of:
Fiber: Helps manage diabetes, decrease the risk of heart disease, aid in digestion and reduce the urge to snack.
Protein: An important aid in helping maintain the health of the body’s tissues, as well as a key plant-based protein source for vegetarians. (If you’re a vegetarian, try these recipes, too.)
Selenium: Aids in liver function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds.
Manganese: A natural sunblock that helps protect against damaging UV light.
Choline: Works to reduce chronic inflammation.
Folate: Helps prevent the formation of cancer cells from mutated DNA.
3 Tasty Chickpea Snacks
Roasted chickpeas are a healthy snack and a snap to make. Here are three delicious flavor variations, but try creating your own custom version by using your favorite herbs and spices.
The Base Recipe
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a 15x10x1-in baking sheet with foil. Drain and rinse two cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Spread in a single layer over foil. Remove any loose skins. Bake until crunchy, 40–45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Immediately toss the hot chickpeas with your favorite oil and spice mixture. Cool completely. Dig in!
Whisk 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
Whisk 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest and 1 tablespoon of curry powder.
Whisk 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper.
See how easy it is to make the recipes above—plus get a bonus recipe for Chili-Lime Chickpeas!
And here are more delicious chickpea recipes to add to your recipe box.