You can’t go wrong with the humble chickpea. It’s got a delicious, nutty flavour, and is well known to be packed with nutrients.
A can of chickpeas is a store-cupboard staple, and can be transformed into hummus or chucked into a curry with ease, helping up the amount of antioxidants and folates in your diet.
But it’s even more versatile than you might think…
1. You can make coffee from chickpeas
If you’re steering clear of caffeine but still want a hot drink, why not use chickpeas? All you have to do is roast them until they look like the colour of coffee beans, grind them up and use as you would normal beans.
2. They’re incredibly old
According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, one of the earliest recordings of chickpeas was in France in 6790 BCE. Now, the legumes are grown in around 50 countries, with India producing the most.
3. You can use the liquid from the can
When buying canned chickpeas, don’t just chuck out the water inside. Known as aquafaba, this liquid can actually be used in other recipes and is beloved by vegans as an egg replacement. Whip the aquafaba and it will become white and fluffy, just like eggs – use it for plant-based versions of dishes like mousse or meringues.
4. It’s got plenty of names
You might know them as chickpeas, but they’re also known as garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, ceci, Kabuli Chana, Bengal grams – the list goes on.
5. They come in all colours
While you might be used to the beige variety of chickpea, there’s a whole world of different types out there. Black chickpeas have a nuttier, earthier flavour, and there are also red and green varieties to try as well.
6. They work well in desserts
With hummus, falafel and curries, there’s no doubt chickpeas make some delicious savoury meals. But what about desserts? The sweet Filipino delicacy of halo-halo is a layered dish of crushed ice, milk and toppings like coconut, ice cream, ube, tapioca pearls and sweetened chickpeas. This isn’t the only dessert given the chickpea treatment – there’s a growing trend for adding them to brownies, to give that nutty flavour and make the treat a bit healthier.
7. Chickpea flour is often used as a beauty treatment
Otherwise known as gram flour, it can be used as part of an at-home face mask to treat acne, or as an exfoliator to rub off dead skin. You can either buy gram flour or make your own by pulsing chickpeas in a blender.