Chickpeas are actually a legume, often called a garbanzo bean. They may be bought dry and in bags, or ready to use in a can. If you buy your chickpeas in a can at the grocery store then you would most likely be familiar with the common sight of a cream coloured, round bean. This is known as the “kabuli-type” chickpea. There is another variety known as the “desi-type” chickpea that is either tan to black in colour and slightly irregular in shape. For the sake of simplicity I will use the term chickpea for both types.
Chickpeas are a good source of fiber, with only 1/2 cups being needed to meet our daily requirement. Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy colon, and helps to control our blood sugar levels, and can lower our fat and cholesterol.
But what can you do with chickpeas? Since they are a bean, they are great in soups and stews. Coming from a can, you would add them close to the end of your cooking time, just to warm them up a bit. In salads they make a beautiful garnish and add a soft texture with a slightly nutty taste.
Below, I have included 2 recipes for chickpeas: One that gives them a crunchy texture with a hint of spice that makes them a great alternative for snacking. The other is a basic hummus that can be spiced up with extra garlic, cayenne pepper or your favourite seasoning. This works great served as a dip for veggies or chicken strips, spread on fajitas or sandwiches, as a thickener for stews, or when thinned out more, as a salad dressing.