Whether you call them "chickpeas," "garbanzo beans" or the "beans that make hummus," you're probably familiar with chickpeas. And their versatility is becoming as popular as cauliflower (well, almost).
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And now's the perfect time to get on the chickpea bandwagon: One cup of cooked chickpeas gives you around 265 calories, 15 grams of plant protein and 13 grams of fiber. You'll also get 71 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for folate, a B vitamin that can help prevent a certain type of anemia (called megaloblastic anemia) and is super important for women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant because it can protect against neural tube defects.
Now that you're convinced to stock up, try these healthy tips to get you cooking with chickpeas in no-time:
- Look for low-sodium chickpeas if you're buying them in a can. Rinse them before eating to remove any excess sodium.
- Save the water from your canned chickpeas. It's called aquafaba and it's often used as a vegan alternative to cream to make whipped cream. It also mimics whipped egg whites and adds fluffiness to desserts.
If it's the protein you're after, these chickpea recipes will give you more than a chicken thigh, clocking in at 16 grams of protein or more per serving.
1. Smashed Chickpea Club Sandwich
- Calories: 524
- Protein: 21 grams
Smashing your chickpeas leads to a hearty sandwich filling that has more texture than hummus. You get 21 grams of plant-based protein with this sandwich. And with 17 grams of fiber, you are more than halfway to the recommended daily amount of 25 grams for women and 38 for men, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Not used to all that fiber? Gradually increase your fiber intake to avoid some uncomfortable digestive woes and drink plenty of water to keep that fiber moving through your system.
Get the Smashed Chickpea Club Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Virgin Bloody Mary Hummus With Flatbread
- Calories: 417
- Protein: 16 grams
Drink, anyone? With a mix of pantry staples and condiments and a 10-minute prep time, you can make this hummus any day of the week. If you're worried about the sodium content on this one, try reducing the amount of celery salt and opting for low-sodium tomato juice.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to prevent high blood pressure and less than 1,500 milligrams per day if you already have hypertension.
Are You Getting Enough Protein?
Get the Virgin Bloody Mary Hummus With Flatbread recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Smoky Harissa Chickpea Twice-Baked Sweet Potato
- Calories: 340
- Protein: 17 grams
This sweet potato checks off all of the nutrition boxes: It's low in calories, high in plant-based protein, high in fiber and provides a good amount of beta-carotene, iron, folate and calcium.
The iron in the chickpeas isn't well absorbed in the body, but when you pair it with a food that has vitamin C, your body keeps hold of that iron much better.
It just so happens that a baked sweet potato has about 25 percent of your DV of vitamin C, so these are a match made in heaven.
Get the Smoky Harissa Chickpea Twice-Baked Sweet Potato recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Curried Cabbage Pockets
- Calories: 473
- Protein: 18 grams
If you need an easy wrap that is good to enjoy at home or to-go, this one's got you covered. This wrap is the complete package meal clocking in at under 500 calories and packing more protein than chicken as well as 17 grams of fiber.
The chickpeas and cabbage combined lend you about 15 percent of the DV for potassium per serving. Potassium is pretty impressive; it helps remove sodium from the body, according to the American Heart Association, and that's good news if you're trying to watch the salt in your diet.
Get the Curried Cabbage Pockets recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Greens, Fruit and Chickpea Wrap
- Calories: 543
- Protein: 23 grams
This one's a salad disguised as a wrap that won't leave you wanting more. The full serving of chickpeas in this recipe help contribute to the 9 grams of fiber. If you need to cut back on salt, omit the cheese and cut the salt the recipe calls for in half (you won't miss it).
Use a whole-wheat tortilla to get more whole grains and fiber into your diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest making half of the grains in your diet to increase fiber and overall nutrition.
Get the Greens, Fruit and Chickpea Wrap recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Pistachio and Chickpea Crunch Salad
- Calories: 421
- Protein: 24 grams
This salad comes together in just 5 minutes. Pack the salad separately from the dressing and you now have a lunch that travels well and can last all day in a cooler without getting soggy.
Not only will you get an impressive 24 grams of plant protein, but you'll also get a whopping 23 grams of fiber — that's almost a full day's worth! — thanks to the legumes, pistachios, gluten-free crackers and veggies.
If you want to add even more crunch and flavor to this salad, try roasting your chickpeas first with this recipe.
Get the Pistachio and Chickpea Crunch Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
- USDA: "Chickpeas"
- National Institutes of Health: "Folate"
- National Institutes of Health: "Iron"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Fiber"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?"
- USDA: "Baked Sweet Potatoes"
- USDA: "Red Cabbage"
- American Heart Association: "How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure"
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020
- USDA: "Cucumber"
- USDA: "Yellow Bell Pepper"