5 ways to cook chickpeas and why chickpeas are so good

Jenny Chandler

08 June 2016

Chickpeas are one of the most universally available and popular of pulses - so here are 5 great ways to make the most of chickpeas.

Start 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.

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: Smoothies  

Green smoothie with fruit

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: Soup  

Jenny Chandler's chickpea soup ingredients

My 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: Salads

Jenny Chandler's chickpea salad

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. 

 

4: Roast vegetable hummus

homemade hummus and 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.

 

5: Chickpeas and greens

Chickpeas with wilted chicory and parmesan

Chickpeas with wilted chicory and parmesan, by Tiny Banquet Committee

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 just come back from Rome - where, rather amazingly, I attended my appointment ceremony 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. They 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. They are incredibly versatile - and taste great.

This is the third in a series of blogs from Jenny Chandler, author of Pulse and Cool Kids Cook. Check out her amazing lentil tips here.

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chickpea broth served in a bowl with ingredients