Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, if you must) are loved around the globe and claim a permanent spot in practically everyone's pantry. It makes sense—since they're chock full of protein, fiber, folic acid, and manganese, these beans are nutritional overachievers. Yet they're always relegated to side-dish territory or unceremoniously puréed into yet another bowl of hummus. Why is that? Here are 32 recipes that prove they deserve so, so much more.
Snacks and Appetizers
Whoever coined the phrase "simplicity at its finest" must've had chickpeas in mind, and this recipe proves how right they were. Since it doesn't use anything but a dash of olive oil and a few spices, this dish showcases the natural goodness of chickpeas. And since they turn a glorious golden brown in the oven, they make a great, crunchy swap for potato chips.
Greek salad gets a major update with this garbanzo-based recipe—the beans add major protein, but the salty feta, crunchy cucumbers, and lemony dressing are all the same. We tend to eat this out of the bowl itself, but it also works great served over greens.
We can't think of a more fitting name for this recipe—the smattering of diced veggies, quinoa, and chickpeas really do resemble festive confetti. The quinoa adds a major health boost while the beans serve up the protein. All in all, it's a party on a plate, and the perfect one to serve at your next party.
You'd never believe that a soup so silky is vegan—but that's the magic of garbanzos! In this decked-out version of the quintessential cold-weather dish, beans provide the velvety texture usually created by heavy cream. If you're looking for a more rustic finish, stop just short of puréeing the tomato/chickpea mixture completely. It's perfectly slurpable either way!
Who could ever say no to a dish that includes the word parfait in the name? In this savory take, cooked chickpeas are layered with brainpower-boosting walnuts, minted Greek yogurt, crunchy cucumbers, and fiber-filled raisins for a sweet and savory explosion of flavors.
We covered savory roasted chickpeas above, but if it's a sweet craving you're looking to satisfy, this lightly sugared, cinnamon-dusted substitute for popcorn can't be beat. Sesame-based tahini paste helps to coat the chickpeas with seasonings while upping the protein count per serving. They're filling and lick-your-fingers good, you'll see.
One of the most popular chickpea dishes out there is crispy falafel, but really, who's got a deep-fryer in their kitchen? Avoid the hassle (and the potential heartburn) with this "deconstructed" salad. Full of chickpeas and veggies and tossed with a sesame tahini-based dressing, it may even be better than the original. Falafel purists may call it bending the rules. We call it genius.
Lemony zoodles topped with herbed breadcrumbs sounds like a total dream, we know. Add to that broccolini, chickpeas, and a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and you've got a filling, healthy dinner that's made almost entirely from vegetables.
We don't know if our favorite part of this curry is the fact that it's packed with veggies and super healthy, or that it's all made in one pot for easy cleanup. Or if it's that it's super versatile: Don't have eggplant? Sub in zucchinis. No bamboo shoots? Go for protein-packed green peas instead.
Searching for a way to catapult the humble chickpea into gourmet territory? Look no further than this luxurious but simple risotto. This dish combines immunity-boosting mushrooms, heart-healthy caramelized onions, Arborio rice, and chickpeas in a way that makes it look like it'd be a laborious production. But unsuspecting dinner guests will never know the truth: Literally all it takes is a bit of stirring.
If you've always been intimidated by Indian food, this chana masala is a great gateway recipe. Obscure ingredients are kept to a minimum without compromising the zippy tang of its traditional sauce. The spices aren't overpowering, but they perfectly combine with the tomato to elevate the garbanzos to restaurant-level flavor.
We're big fans of any recipe that lets blenders do all the work, and this one fits the bill. Plus, it gets bonus points for providing a slew of healthy benefits. These patties use garbanzo beans and brown rice for energy-rich, complex carbohydrates and shiitake mushrooms for a meaty, umami bite. This blogger uses green garbanzo beans for a gorgeous hue, but don't fret if you can't find them—regular tan ones will be just as tasty.
Need a burger stat but looking to sub out that hunk o' beef for something more plant-based? This is the reason chickpeas are a pantry staple—they're lifesavers when you need something substantial and healthy. Here, they're combined with oats for extra ammunition against heart disease. Blend them up with veggies, seeds, and spices, then bake 'em in the oven. Just 20 minutes later, you'll have deliciously wholesome, vegan patties that'll put their fast-food counterparts to shame.
Sick of the same old PB&J? Make your lunchtime menu more than an afterthought with this seriously satisfying sandwich. Avocado, spinach, cucumber, and celery add a shot of Instagram-ready color and they keep you happily full for hours. Bonus: If you remove the cheese to make it vegan, the beans will still provide a full serving of protein.
No need to resort to scary, processed substitutes for meatless Mexican dishes—give the all-natural chickpea a chance! In these clean tacos, chickpeas are lightly seasoned, roasted along with radishes, and topped with avocado and a zesty yogurt sauce. All in all, they make a crunchy, healthy taco filling, and we're here for it.
If chickpeas never struck you as breakfast food, this recipe will be a game-changer. Soft-cooking an egg in a nest of sautéed chickpeas and spinach is a great way to get two servings of veggies in before you've even walked out the front door. A dash of lemon brightens up the dish while providing a healthy dose of vitamin C.
If you're looking for a simple, vegan protein source, this savory loaf—which is loaded with a protein-packed duo of chickpeas and quinoa—is a delicious answer. The best part of this easy-to-bake dish is that it's suitable for any time of day. Enjoy it as a mid-morning snack, lunchtime sandwich, or dinnertime entrée ladled with gravy.
Phyllo can be hard to work with, but don't let that keep you from trying this show-stopping Greek pie. It looks more complicated than it is, we promise—and even if it were hard to make, the garlicky, creamy veggie-and-chickpea filling would be so, so worth it.
It's rare to find "Mexican food" and "detox" in the same sentence, but that's how this blogger describes her vegetarian recipe—and for good reason. Jammed with chickpeas and kale, these enchiladas could qualify for "clean eats" status—even with a cup of grated cheddar on top. It really doesn't matter whether you're looking for a detoxifying dinner or straight-up comfort food—this dish delivers on both levels.
Bars, Cakes, and Sweets
Regulate blood sugar with dessert? Oh, yeah. The fiber and protein from the chickpeas in these creamy, bite-sized treats makes it possible. The chickpea and cashew butter base is sweetened with maple syrup, dunked in dark chocolate, and topped with cacao nibs. We think these treats could give Godiva a little competition, don't you?
Store-bought protein bars are often packed with unnecessary sugar and preservatives, but these chickpea-based bars aren't. All you have to do to make them is pop chickpeas, dates, nut butter, pepitas, cranberries, and all-natural protein powder in a food processor, so they're easy AND healthy.
So far, we've seen peanut butter playing a supporting role in these recipes as the binding agent or the texture booster. But in this take on the classic sandwich, peanuts costar with chickpeas. A homemade strawberry chia seed jam maximizes the bars' fatty acid and antioxidant levels, but any all-fruit-sweetened jam will work.
There's always room for one more in our ever-expanding list of pumpkin-laced treats. In this one, a spiced purée of pumpkin, chickpeas, and dates makes a batter that chocolate chunks are mixed into. It doesn't matter if Thanksgiving is around the corner or months away—these pie-inspired goodies are irresistible year-round.
This beautiful loaf cake calls for a mere seven ingredients, letting the subtle nuttiness of the garbanzos and the zest from the fresh orange shine through. You'll have to spend a few extra minutes skinning the chickpeas, but it's well worth it for the end result: a gleaming, caramel-colored loaf. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon sugar and serve with a piping hot cuppa for a lovely and light teatime snack.
Blondies are frequently brushed off as the less desirable sibling of brownies, but maybe that's because nobody's tried this gluten-free rendition of the traditionally butter-laden bars. The joint efforts of chickpeas, honey, and nut butter give each square a pleasant chewiness and sweetness that's offset by a sprinkle of sea salt. Looks like brownies will have to share the spotlight—these blondies are ready for their close-up.
White chocolate may be notorious for its less-than-stellar nutritional profile, but the vitamin C from the strawberries and the antioxidants from an entire can of chickpeas more than make up for that. (If you just don't like white chocolate, though, you can always sub in the dark stuff.) The beans are folded in with three eggs and a banana to provide most of the substance here, making it a gluten-free treat that can double as breakfast or dessert.
One look at this fudgy goodness and you'll want to race off to your pantry to gather up the ingredients. Before we lose you to the kitchen, let us make your indulgence even sweeter by telling you that these treats are vegan and gluten-free without requiring obscure, funky ingredients. OK, on your mark, get set, bake!
Cookies and Cookie Dough
OK, so maybe this is just another way to say "dessert hummus," but what's in a name when you're talking about one of the most famous chickpea-based sweets in the blogosphere? Made with your favorite all-natural nut butter and studded with dark chocolate chips, it's a vegan, guaranteed salmonella-free bowl of yum just waiting to be slathered onto a graham cracker or sliced apple.
If oversize novelty cookies are your weakness, meet your new go-to chickpea recipe. It's a crispy-on-the-edges, chewy-on-the-inside, oozing-with-chocolate, deep-dish pizookie (pizza cookie) that you will not believe contains almost a cup of chickpeas. The fudge sauce, we should add, can be eaten by the spoonful, and the combo gets so much more epic with a scoop of frozen yogurt of non-dairy ice cream. Just saying.
Cookie dough is well and good, but nothing beats a warm cookie fresh from the oven. And these bronzed, slightly crispy (but still soft!) nuggets are no exception. Make the recipe as written using peanut butter and chocolate chips, or experiment by subbing in peanut butter chips or other nut butters for a slightly different taste. Whatever you try, you're just throwing ingredients in a blender (or food processor), so you're always close to cookie time.
This time, chickpeas are getting the opposite treatment—they're frozen instead of baked! The base is made with peanut butter and coconut milk (go for full-fat here for optimal creamy consistency). Flaxseeds bind the mixture without eggs, so you can chill them until they're frozen into those perfect creamy pops.
The ingredients for these thumbprint cookies are similar to many other chickpea cookies, but it's amazing how much more adorable they look when they're dressed up with dollops of your favorite all-fruit jam. The recipe only makes 12 at a time, so these party-worthy treats are perfect for when you're baking for a small group.
Originally published September 2014. Updated June 2017.