Health
benefits

An excellent meat substitute

Chickpeas are rich in plant-based protein, starch (a complex carbohydrate), vitamins, and minerals. They are low in fat and are cholesterol-free, making them an outstanding alternative to meat. These dry legumes are one of the most nutritionally beneficial.

Chickpeas are also:

  • a source of vitamin B9 (for cellular renewal, particularly important for pregnant women for fetal development, for growing children, and for convalescents).
  • a source of fiber (bowel movement regulation, satiety)

They also contain:

  • magnésium
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • manganese
  • copper

When is the right
time to eat them?

All year.

Chickpeas are available dry, canned, or in a flour, meaning that they can be eaten year-round. They are harvested in the summer, between July and September.

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Vegetable patch
or urban balcony?

Chickpeas are annuals that grow well in full sun, in sandy, deep, dry soil with a neutral pH (pH = 7).

To learn everything you need to know about growing chickpeas, read the page on growing advice.

Choosing and
storing chickpeas

Choose your chickpeas well:

  • When dry, chickpeas should be very firm and uniform in color.

Properly store your chickpeas:

  • Store both canned and dry chickpeas in a cool, dry place.

Tips and
tricks

How to prepare chickpeas

Dry chickpeas should be soaked (for 12 hours) in cold water before being cooked. Throw away the water used for soaking, as it contains elements that may cause gas.

Soaking is a must! For chickpeas, soaking is important. It has three truly necessary functions, allowing the grains to expand, making them easier to digest, and helping them cook faster.

Don’t forget to rinse canned chickpeas before use.

Cooking times:

  • 90 min: boiled in water
  • 45 minutes: in a pressure cooker

 

Tip for making sure chickpeas don’t remain hard and for making them easier to digest:Don’t add salt at the beginning of the cooking process, but rather at the end. Add aromatic herbs (thyme, bay leaf, oregano), which also add flavor.

Chickpeas go well with…

Usually eaten throughout the Middle East and North Africa, chickpeas are an indispensable ingredient in dishes including couscous, falafel, and hummus.

They can be served in a salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and herbs. Both whole and pureed, they pair well with meats such as lamb and chicken and also with fish such as tuna. Chickpeas can replace potatoes for thickening blended vegetable soups. Cumin is a particularly well-suited seasoning for these legumes.

Chickpea flour, which is gluten free, is used in nearly all Mediterranean countries to make various flatbreads and fritters (such as socca and panisse in the South of France, pannelle in Sicily).

Did you know? The original couscous from the Moroccan desert did not include meat! The dish is a mixture of vegetables, such as onions, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, and chickpeas, cooked in broth. The mixture is served over a mountain of couscous (made of semolina). The plant proteins in the couscous and the chickpeas complement each other, providing sufficient protein. It was only for holidays and distinguished guests that roasted meats such as lamb, merguez sausage, and chicken were added to couscous.

Anti-waste tip: Use the liquid in chickpea cans! It contains beneficial nutrients (including protein), and its texture means it can be used like eggs whites: when beaten with a whisk, it expands! It can be used to replace eggs in mousse or cake recipes for people with egg allergies and for people filled with culinary curiosity

Can everyone
eat them?

pois-chiche-salade-bonduelle

Young children

Children can start eating chickpeas between 15 and 18 months of age, first in a puree.

And everyone else

Everyone likes the mild taste of chickpeas.

To be sure that you fully benefit from pulse proteins, eat a grain product or nuts and seeds with the chickpeas, because they do not contain all the amino acids that the body needs. They are rich in lysine (an amino acid) but have very little methionine (another essential amino acid). As for grain products (wheat, rice, etc.), nuts, and seeds, they contain essential amino acids that pulses lack or contain only in small quantities. So when you combine those foods with chickpeas, you make sure your diet contains excellent-quality complete proteins. It’s the winning plant-based protein combination!

See plenty of other tips for encouraging children to eat vegetables

Where do they come from?
Origins and varieties

Origins: The main chickpea-producing countries are India, Australia, Turkey, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Mexico,and Canada. They are a relatively minor crop in France.

 

Varieties: The different chickpea varieties are all characterized by their irregular shape (round or bumpy) and their creamy color. However, they have distinct colors, ranging from yellow to black, with green, red, and brown in between. Some are doughier in texture, and others have a slight hazelnut flavor.

Did you know? Roasted chickpeas can be used as a coffee substitute.

Our favorite
recipes

Recipes

Couscous

Discovery Eastern countries and their culinary traditions with a dish that will satisfy the taste bu...

Read more