Ah, the humble chickpea. If you’re like us, you’ve got a couple of cans roaming around in your cabinets, but aren’t always exactly sure what to do with them. Do they bring you shame for not making your beans from scratch? (We get that, but no shade from us!) Does the liquid in the can kind of weird you out? (It’s called aquafaba, and just WAIT until you see what you can make with it.) Are you not really a salad person and therefore think chickpeas aren’t for you? (We’ve got salads, but also SO much more.) Chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) are seriously underrated, but we’re here to change that. Check out our 20 creative chickpea recipes for ideas—we bet you’ll find some surprises among them.
Let’s start with the classics. Chickpeas have been around for thousands of years, and are some of the backbones of Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean meals (among others!). We’re sure you’re familiar with hummus, maybe even have a favorite brand you gravitate toward at the store, but trust us, nothing beats homemade (ditto that other chickpea fave, falafel). What about a classic Mediterranean-inspired salad? We’ve included a few versions, like our avocado and chickpea salad, our Mediterranean chickpea salad, or our antipasto chickpea salad, but feel free to mix and match your favorite ingredients too. Want something with wilder flavor? Try our papdi chaat (an Indian street food) or our Mulligatawny soup—they pair chickpeas with other ingredients like sweet and sour chutneys and creamy yogurt, to great effect.
Chickpeas are also super important to those following a vegan diet. Not only are they a great source of protein, they’re also the base for some of our craziest plant-based recipes. Check out our vegan meatloaf, our vegan meatballs, or our chickpea “tuna” salad (eerily similar in flavor to a tuna salad). And it’s not just the chickpeas themselves that are superheroes in vegan cookies. Aquafaba, the liquid surrounding canned chickpeas, is a phenomenal replacement for egg whites, in everything from cocktails to chocolate mousse (we swear, it doesn’t taste like beans).
Want even more chickpea inspiration? One of our editors spent an entire week turning canned chickpeas into whatever she could (we’re talking pizza! gnocchi! funnel cake!). I think we were all surprised at how versatile these little beans could be. Check out her two-part journey on YouTube here and here.