Chickpeas and bread in a bowl

5 ways to cook chickpeas and why chickpeas are so good

Chickpeas are one of the cheapest, easiest to find and most popular pulses. Here are 5 great ways to cook chickpeas by chef Jenny Chandler.
  Published:  24 Aug 2017    |      2 minute read

There are already so many reasons to love these eco-friendly legumes - are you ready to enjoy some more?

Start your chickpea recipes by...

... cooking up a big pot of chickpeas – about 1 kg of dried pulses gives you well over 2 kg of the cooked stuff to play around with.

Do you need to soak chickpeas? Not if you get the tinned version. But if you're buying dried chickpeas, soaking is best. I soak the chickpeas overnight, drain them and then cover in water before simmering until tender. Once ready I season the pot with a little salt, allow the peas to cool and then keep them in the fridge to dive into over the next 5 days.

1. Chickpeas in smoothies

Green vegetable smoothie in glass with fruit next to it
A vegetable smoothie is a great way to help you get your five a day.

Adding a couple of tablespoons of cooked chickpeas to any fruit/vegetable smoothie not only gives a wonderfully creamy result but makes it more nutritious and keeps you feeling full for longer.

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2. Chickpeas in soup

Chickpeas in sieve in bowl next to lemon, onions, chillies mint and stock cube
Making a delicious, protein-filled chickpea soup
Credit: Jenny Chandler

My easy student standby soup takes about 15 minutes to make. Just fry some onions and a little garlic in some olive oil. Add chickpeas, a few chilli flakes and enough vegetable stock to cover. Cook for 5 minutes and then whizz until smooth and season with fresh mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

3. Chickpea salads

Vegan chickpea salad with warmed leaves on a plate
High-protein, vegan chickpea salad
Credit: Jenny Chandler

I like to warm some crushed garlic in extra virgin olive oil and then stir the chickpeas around in the oil before adding to a salad. Try this super easy chickpea salad recipe from Jamie Oliver.

4. Roast vegetable hummus

Chickpeas in a bowl alongside a small dish of homemade hummus
Hummus - just one of the things you can make from chickpeas
Credit: Jenny Chandler

If you want hummus, you'll need chickpeas. Blend an equal weight of chickpeas and roast veg together (carrots, beetroot or butternut squash work well) with extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. You could even make your own tahini to add a really authentic taste. There are loads of hummus recipes online that offer step-by-step guides to turning your chickpeas into amazing hummus.

5. Chickpeas and greens

Vegetarian dish of chickpeas and greens on a bed of polenta
Credit: Tiny Banquet Committee

This is a great recipe for chickpea lovers on cold winter days. Fry onions and garlic in olive oil and then add chickpeas along with some spinach, kale or Savoy cabbage and allow the veg to wilt over a medium heat. Sprinkle with plenty of grated parmesan, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.

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5 reasons why chickpeas are great

I've been excited about chickpeas for years.

But having been named as The European, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, Special Ambassador for Pulses (there’s a mouthful) – I've been reminded how bonkers it is that these miraculous little power-houses are so under utilised.

If you need a reminder of the nutritional and sustainability benefits of chickpeas then read on.

  1. Served with a cereal such as rice or wheat they make a great alternative source of protein to meat.
  2. Chickpeas are packed with fibre and complex carbohydrates so that you digest them slowly, keeping you full for longer (less snacking).
  3. They are super cheap, especially if you cook your own.
  4. Pulses have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any food group and actually enrich the soil.
  5. Chickpeas are incredibly versatile – and taste great. If you need more ideas, try these 30 amazing chickpea recipes at home.

This is the third in a series of blogs from Jenny Chandler, author of Pulse and Cool Kids Cook.

Find out more about sustainable foods and what to eat for the environment.