Why Should Chickpeas Be A Pantry Staple?

by Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: May 25, 2021

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Whatever we call them, we love them! These legumes are so versatile and packed with nutrients. Providing approximately 120 calories, 7g protein, 4g fiber, and moderate amounts of folate and iron per ½ cup makes these a great plant-based protein source for those who don’t eat meat and those who do alike! The combination of protein and fiber in chickpeas keeps us satisfied, and aids in healthy digestion and blood sugar control. Canned or dried chickpeas are also affordable and widely available at most grocery stores. Those looking to get the most “bang for your buck” and reduce food waste should stock their pantry with these beans.

We often think of hummus when chickpeas come to mind, but we can use them in a variety of other ways as well. Check out a few different ways to use chickpeas other than hummus.

Looking to reduce food waste? Don’t throw away that liquid from canned chickpeas! The liquid is referred to as aquafaba (water + bean). Vegans, individuals with an egg allergy or intolerance, and those interested in leading an upcycled lifestyle have been using this as an egg replacement since 2015. Protein and starches from the chickpeas seep into the liquid, giving it a similar structure to egg whites. This means that aquafaba is great for confections like meringues, whipped cream, marshmallows, mousse, and even cocktails and dairy! Try using it in this Vegan Tiramisu or this Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse. Aquafaba isn’t specific to chickpeas but is the preferred legume to use. Black bean liquid may not make the most appetizing desserts. General recommendations for using aquafaba as an egg replacement are:
  • 3 Tbsp aquafaba = one whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp = one egg white
  • 1 Tbsp = one egg yolk

Crunchy Chickpea Snacks
Chickpeas are the perfect bite-sized, nutrient-dense snack! They can be roasted, making them a crunchy snack that will keep us satisfied until our next meal. Chickpeas can also be made into a chip, salad topper, or even granola. Home cooks can use this basic No-Salt Roasted Chickpeas recipe to whip up a batch. Switch up the flavors with different spices for variety. If prepared snacks are more convenient, try these Kroger dietitian crunchy chickpea favorites:
Chickpea Desserts
That’s right. Chickpeas make a great addition or substitution to sweet treats! They add fiber and protein to foods that are usually lacking in nutrients. They can be a convenient choice for those looking to get healthier in general or those eating plant-based or gluten-free. Chickpeas can be used in cakes, doughnuts, dessert hummus, brownies, cookies, and more! Typically, chickpeas are substituted for flour in the form of chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is often used to make pasta as well. Check out these desserts using chickpeas:
Chickpeas are an affordable, widely available, and nutritious food to keep stocked in our homes. They provide nutrients that can help aid our digestion, blood sugar control, and satiety. The legumes themselves and their cooking liquid can be used in various ways in addition to becoming hummus. These variations include crunchy snacks, desserts, and egg substitutes. Grab a few extra cans of chickpeas at the grocery store next time and get cooking! For more personalized nutrition information, schedule a FREE telenutrition appointment with one of our Kroger dietitians here.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Teaching people about the positive things that food can do for the mind, body and spirit, and helping them understand that all foods can fit into a healthy diet is Lisa’s nutrition philosophy. She believes food should be exciting and fun! Lisa encourages celebration of non-scale victories, which focus on what good nutrition can do for your life beyond weight. She loves food, but also loves to break a sweat whether it’s cycling, walking her dog or doing CrossFit.