Remember when chickpeas were relegated to a small container tucked into the restaurant salad bar? Then there was hummus. Who knew that was chickpeas?
These days, there’s no keeping chickpeas in the corner. They’re so popular, you can find endless recipes that feature or incorporate chickpeas online and in cookbooks.
One reason: These legumes, also known as garbanzo beans, are a nutritional superhero. They’re considered both a vegetable and a protein. One cup has 14.5 grams of protein. They’re a complete protein too, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids that help your body function like a well-oiled machine.
They pack plenty of filling fiber—12.5 grams per cup—plus calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. They have all the right stuff it takes to help you lose weight, improve your heart health, avoid constipation and help control your blood sugar, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
They’re also incredibly versatile. They can easily be turned into bread, pasta and baked goods, plus they are super tasty in soups, salads and stir-fries.
But if you only know them as a denizen of the salad bar, how do you make them part of your regular meal rotation? Here are 20 easy (and delicious!) chickpea recipes to help!
This Easy Chickpea Salad recipe couldn’t be simpler: Mix a can of low-sodium chickpeas with diced celery, chopped red onion and red pepper. Then toss it all in a dressing of light mayo and Dijon mustard. Add some fresh parsley and black pepper, then dig into this 139 calorie side dish or lunch.
Here’s your go-to if you’re a vegetarian or just like to celebrate “Meatless Monday” on a weekly basis. Finely chopped veggies (carrots, onions and parsley tossed into the food processor) are sautéed in olive oil until soft. One can of chickpeas, one egg and the veggies go into the food processor until pureed. Add breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, black pepper and garlic powder, then form the mixture into balls. Finally, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You can dress up these Baked Vegetarian Chickpea Meatballs with marinara sauce and serve with pasta or on a whole wheat bun, sprinkled with cheese.
One garlic bulb, roasted in the oven for 45 minutes, really brings major flavor to this hummus, a traditional Middle Eastern dip. The rest of the Roasted Garlic Hummus recipe calls for olive oil, a can of sodium-free chickpeas, tahini (a Middle Eastern condiment made from sesame seeds), lemon juice, water and cumin. A few whirs in the food processor and voila, you have homemade hummus. Two tablespoons are only 150 calories! Scoop and enjoy with sliced carrots, celery sticks, sliced red bell peppers or whole grain crackers.
This Moroccan or Middle Eastern egg dish is equally at home at the breakfast or dinner table. Our One-Pan Chickpea Shakshuka recipe starts with sautéed onions and peppers which are combined with a festival of spices (garlic, paprika, cumin and chili powder) and a can of whole peeled tomatoes in a saucepan. Simmer for eight minutes, adding a can of chickpeas halfway through. Add eggs, then bake in the oven. Finally, top with cilantro or parsley for a 280-calorie meal.
Chickpeas play a supporting role in this summery Tomato and Peach Salad recipe. It combines fresh juicy tomatoes with fresh juicy peaches, an improbably delicious sweet and savory combo. The salad also includes red onions, feta cheese and chickpeas on a bed of arugula (interesting fact: arugula is an herb!). It’s dressed with a mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey. This one-serving recipe contains 289 calories.
Chickpeas and chocolate? Oh yeah! Chickpeas make a great wheat flour alternative that makes baked goods extra moist. This Chocolate Walnut Chickpea Muffin recipe make 12 140-calorie muffins. And they’re surprisingly simple to make! Just put one can of chickpeas into a food processor and process until smooth. Add eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, stevia and baking soda, then process again. Finally, add walnuts and bake in a muffin tin for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Eternal gratitude to whoever invented sheet pan meals! They’re easy, fast and make clean up a breeze. This Sheet Pan Sesame Tofu recipe is a real tribute to the deliciousness of roasted veggies, with carrots, broccoli, chickpeas and tofu triangles crisped to perfection. It’s all covered with a dressing made from soy sauce, ginger, minced garlic, honey and sesame oil, then sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Feel free to substitute your own favorite non-starchy vegetables! The recipe makes four servings, each 364 calories.
Like many restaurant salads, the Cobb is deceptively high in calories. This Mason Jar Cobb Salad recipe slims down your favorite and packs it up as a to-go lunch in a cute Mason jar. For only 314 calories, you get a delish meal made with grilled chicken, chickpeas, red onion, avocado, lettuce and fat free ranch dressing.
The chickpeas in this recipe get roasted (along with jalapenos) that gives them a pleasing crunch. The jalapenos form the basis of a dressing that includes olive oil, lime juice and honey, all whipped up in a food processor. Combine the chickpeas with cooked quinoa, red onion, red peppers, avocado chunks, fresh cilantro, cumin and black pepper. Toss with the spicy, homemade dressing and dig into this Roasted Jalapeno Quinoa and Chickpea Salad. The recipe makes 4 servings, each of which is 224 calories.
This Chicken Tikka Masala Soup is the very definition of umami—AKA savory goodness—which is one of the five basic tastes. It starts with sautéed onions, garlic and bell peppers. Then you add a spice blend of garam masala, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and ground ginger. That’s followed by a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, some tomato paste and chicken broth. Simmer for 30 minutes before adding shredded cooked chicken and two cans of chickpeas. One serving contains 343 calories of savory goodness.
How versatile are chickpeas? You can have them in your salad, your main dish, AND for dessert! An air fryer makes short work of these yummy Air Fryer Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies, which are made with chickpeas whirred in your food processor with cashew butter, egg, dry rolled oats, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and a stevia brown sugar blend. Pour the thick batter into your air fryer baking pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Ten minutes later, you have a 198-calorie dessert.
Canned chickpeas and avocado turns into a creamy, rich dip that you can enjoy with vegetable crudités or whole grain crackers. Just blend them in a food processor for two minutes with cilantro, salt and pepper. This user-generated Avocado Chickpea Dip recipe is only 93 calories per serving.
This appetizer, snack or veggie side dish uses baked eggplant in place of sliced Italian bread. Combine Roma tomatoes, chickpeas, feta cheese, basil leaves and olive oil, then let it sit for an hour so the flavors meld. In the interim, place slices of eggplant in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Top the eggplant slices with the bruschetta mix and you’re good to go. (If you’re making it for a party, just double the recipe.) One serving of this Easy Eggplant Bruschetta is only 128 calories.
Direct to you from TikTok—with a Nutrisystem healthy makeover—these Air Fryer Protein Pasta Chips, which have their own hashtag (#PastaChips), start with high-protein chickpea-based pasta, boiled till it’s al dente. Add olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano and black pepper. Pop the mixture into your air fryer and cook for five minutes, flip, then cook for two or three more minutes. You can serve your pasta chips with a marinara sauce for a satisfying treat. One serving is 239 calories.
Think of this as your salad alternative. This Chickpea Dumpling Stew is brimming with veggies—onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery and chickpeas, simmered in a vegetarian broth of your choice. The best part: the dumplings. They’re made with whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, fresh chives and unsweetened almond milk. Drop them into your soup and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the dumplings cooked through. One serving is 153 calories.
Chickpeas make for smart snacking when you turn two cans into this nacho-flavored, crispy treat with just some Parmesan cheese, chili powder and onion powder. The Nacho Style Roasted Chickpeas are baked in the oven for about 45 minutes to give them a little crunch. A half cup of chickpeas is one satisfying serving.
A can of chickpeas and some nut butter (pick your favorite, though we recommend sunflower seed butter) are what starts the magic that is this tantalizing Raspberry Chickpea Blondie dessert recipe studded with sweet raspberries. Eggs, oats, baking powder and stevia are part of the recipe that comes together in your food processor. Twenty minutes in the oven and you have tonight’s dessert. Each blondie is 65 calories.
Baked feta pasta is another recipe that rose to fame on social media. This Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash Baked Feta Pasta slims it down by substituting spaghetti squash for the pasta and adding chickpeas to up the appetite-satisfying fiber. Garlic, black pepper and chopped basil adds flavor without any calories. But the star of the show remains the block of feta cheese that melts with cherry tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients in a 400-degree oven. Add to a plate of cooked spaghetti squash “noodles” and enjoy for only 360 calories.
Tasty cheese substitutes are hard to come by. But this Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe that uses chickpeas as its base will satisfy the most discerning cheese dip lover. It takes minutes to make and includes Dijon mustard, ancho chili powder, garlic and onion powder, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and salt. It’s made in a blender then heated slowly. One serving is 75 calories.
Falafel is usually a deep-fried patty made from chickpeas or other beans and Middle Eastern spices. That deep-frying makes it quite the calorie bomb. In this Lightened-Up Falafel with Tzatziki recipe, chickpeas are combined with red onions, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, lemon juice, egg, olive oil and whole wheat flour. Rolled into balls then flattened, the falafel is then baked for 20 minutes. Top them with a homemade tzatziki sauce made with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, cucumber, fresh dill, minced garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. The recipe makes 12 servings, each 92 calories.