3 Ways to Use Chickpeas

3 Ways to Use Chickpeas

If you’re looking for the easiest ways to use chickpeas, we’ve got you covered. Using pre-cooked chickpeas in recipes will save you tons of time, and they taste great too!

  • By Leila Kalmbach
  • April 12, 2020

Chickpeas are a surprisingly versatile little plant, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re staring down a can in your pantry and brainstorming dinner or snack options. 

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzos, are a high-protein legume that contain a whopping 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. They’ll also help you get your daily allowance of folate, iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, but let’s be honest: Our favorite thing about them is that they’re just plain delicious!

But if you’re like us, you’re not exactly looking for a monster cooking project right now — you want something quick and easy, with few ingredients but also major flavor. That’s why we wanted to share our three favorite simple ways to use chickpeas. Read on!

1. Chickpeas + Spices + Air fryer = Crispy Chickpeas

We’re a little bit obsessed with air frying these days, and chickpeas are one of the reasons. They get light and crisp without getting hard or overly crunchy, and they literally could not be easier to make. Simply heat your air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit, rinse a can of cooked chickpeas, toss them in a tablespoon of cooking oil and some salt, and spread them in an even layer in your air fryer. 

If you’ve ever baked chickpeas in the oven, you know that drying the chickpeas before baking is a crucial step to getting a crispy result — and it’s also kind of a pain. Great news, though — in the air fryer, you don’t need to dry them! The air will do it for you. 

Set your timer for 10 minutes and prepare your favorite seasoning blend while they’re air frying. (They’ll need anywhere from 10 to 17 minutes to get fully crisp, but it’s best to check frequently in the last few minutes so they don’t burn.) Some winning spice combos include:

  • Chili powder + lime juice
  • Cayenne + paprika + cumin + garlic powder
  • Cinnamon + sugar
  • Soy sauce + chili powder + sesame oil
  • Or just toss on some garlic powder and call it a day!

Toss the chickpeas with your seasoning fresh out of the air fryer. A little secret: A tiny drizzle of olive oil will help the seasoning stick!

2. Chickpeas + Mayo + Bread = Mashed Chickpea Toast

Sure, you can get fancy with this combo if you like. But if you’re looking for a super-simple lunch or snack, this mashed chickpea toast, reminiscent of tuna salad or egg salad, could not be easier. Just do a rough mash of one can of chickpeas (drained) along with about a quarter of a cup of mayonnaise. You’ll get two to three servings out of one can.

Easy ways to add some extra flavor include:

  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • A bit of minced onion, shallots, green onions, or chives for some aromatic sharpness
  • Some finely diced celery or pickles for crunch
  • Sliced avocado and radishes on top
  • Microgreens or chives as flavorful garnish
  • A drizzle of harissa, your favorite hot sauce, or olive oil

Of course, you could also turn it into a sandwich by adding a second slice of bread along with lettuce, tomato, and mustard.

3. Chickpeas + Curry Powder + Coconut Milk = Curry

Is this the world’s simplest curry recipe? It just might be. A few additional ingredients will seriously up the flavor, but if you’re just not feeling like putting in any effort whatsoever (we totally get it!), this is a great way to fake it ‘til your favorite Indian restaurant makes it. 

Simmer a can of coconut milk over low heat for a few minutes, then add a tablespoon of curry powder. Taste and adjust — curry powder can vary hugely in its flavors and spiciness, so let your tongue be your guide here. Some curry paste can also add fantastic flavors, if you have it, and a half tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a couple tablespoons of water will help your sauce thicken. (Without cornstarch, mash some of the chickpeas for a thicker sauce.) Stir in the chickpeas and let them heat through. That’s it!

If you have garlic, onion, or vegetables, sauté them in a bit of cooking oil before adding the coconut milk. Serve over rice, on its own, or sop it all up with your favorite flatbread. 


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