If you’re fond of hummus and falafel, then you are likely familiar with chickpeas.
These are little beans that are mostly available in beige color.
They can be mixed into salads or stews, and used as a substitute for kidney beans in your favorite recipe of chili.
You don’t need to follow elaborate recipes to enjoy chickpeas because they can simply be roasted, seasoned with your choice of spices, and eaten by the spoonful.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what chickpeas are, what they taste like, and some ways they can be used.
What Are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are also commonly known as garbanzo beans and are widely used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
They come in a variety of colors –red, green, black, and brown. Brown chickpeas are famous for being used as a base ingredient in hummus and falafel.
In India, they’re mostly enjoyed in curries and a spicy dish called ‘chana masala’.
Types of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are mostly available in two forms in your local grocery store: dried and canned.
These chickpeas are pre-cooked, which means you can consume them right out of the can. It’s advisable to rinse them before using them to get rid of excess salt.
Dried chickpeas, on the other hand, need to be cooked before they’re consumed. They can be stored for a year in an airtight container.
The longer they’re left in storage, the longer they’ll take to get properly cooked.
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What Do Chickpeas Taste Like?
Chickpeas taste quite like beans, considering they’re legumes themselves. Most people compare their flavor to cannellini and pinto beans because they’re starchy.
They’re also known to have an earthy taste with nutty undertones.
How to Use Chickpeas
If you wish to make falafel or hummus with chickpeas, you don’t even need to cook them. All you need to do is soak them in water until they’ve significantly softened.
Most recipes, however, require canned chickpeas that are already cooked.
Here, we’ll take a look at how to cook dried and canned chickpeas and how to roast them to perfection.
Cooking Dried Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas are the easiest and least expensive chickpeas you can get your hands on.
Here’s how you need to prepare before adding them to your favorite recipe:
- Add the dried chickpeas into a large bowl and fill it with cold water. Let them soak for around 8 to 12 hours. I suggest leaving them in your kitchen overnight. Soaking is necessary to expedite the time it takes to cook them and make them easier to digest.
- After they’ve soaked for a long time, drain the water and then add them into a stockpot full of water. Let them simmer in the water for an hour or until they’ve turned soft.
- After they’ve cooked, remove the stockpot from the heat and use a colander to drain the water. Cooked chickpeas can be refrigerated for up to three days.
I personally prefer roasted chickpeas because they’re delightfully crispy and only take about half an hour in the oven.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Empty a can of chickpeas into a tray and pat them dry with paper towels. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top and toss them gently to make sure the oil is evenly distributed.
- Spread them on a well-greased baking sheet and place it inside the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll know if you need to remove them from the oven after they’ve slightly browned and become crispy.
- After they’re roasted, season them with spices, and then serve.
Using Canned Chickpeas
Canned chickpeas are cooked so you can use them the same way you’d use cooked chickpeas.
If you don’t want them to taste super salty, you should rinse them in water before adding them to a salad or a sandwich.
Throw them in a blender or a food processor until they’ve become a thick, creamy paste.
You can use an unopened can of chickpeas for a long time. An opened can is safe to consume within 3 to 5 days or it’ll go bad.
If it has developed a pungent odor, you need to discard it immediately.
The bottom line
Now that you’ve learned all about chickpeas and how to cook them, feel free add them into your favorite recipes for added flavor and texture.
You can also use them to make falafel and hummus or enjoy roasted chickpeas as a snack in between meals.