How to cook chickpeas; nutrition, dried vs canned and two chickpea recipes

by HollieT

Cooking with chickpeas, nutritional value and how to cook and freeze them. Also explores the advantages of using dried chickpeas as opposed to canned. Includes two chickpea recipes

Are you looking for a nutritious, versatile, inexpensive main ingredient which is easily prepared; enter the chickpea, otherwise known as the garbanzo bean, gram pea or ceci.

Are you on a low sodium/fat/cholesterol diet, or perhaps you're a diabetic, or have a gluten allergy? Are you vegan or vegetarian, or are you just looking for a healthy alternative to meat? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you have just found your perfect culinary partner.

What are chickpeas?

Members of the legume family, there are two types of chickpeas known as the Kabuli and Desi. Although the differences between the two types are slight, the Desi chickpea has a much darker flesh and is not as large as the Kabuli variety. Both varieties, nonetheless, are suitable for culinary use and are used extensively in world cuisine.

Nutrition Facts.

Serving Size: 165 grams.

Calories:                   270.                             

Calories from fat:      36

% daily values based on a 2000 calorie per day diet.

Fat:                           4 grams  (6%)

Saturated fat:          0 grams.

Unsaturated fat:     4 grams.  

Carbohydrates:    45 grams (15%)

Sugar:                      8 grams           

Fibre:                     12 grams (48%)

Protein:                  15 grams (30%)

Cholesterol:           0 grams.

Nutritional value of chickpeas.

Chickpeas are not only a great source of copper, protein and dietary fiber, they are also an excellent source of folate and manganese.

In fact, one cup full or 165 grams of chickpeas, will provide 26% of an adults recommended intake of iron, 8% of calcium, 84% of manganese, 29% of copper, 71% of folate, 17% zinc and 28 % of phosphorus.(Percentages are based on a 2000 calorie per day intake.)

In addition, cooked chickpeas contain essential omega3- fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also free from saturated fats, cholesterol and only contain small amounts of sodium. The table opposite gives further nutritional values.

Percentage of minerals and other nutrients which are lost during the canning process.



  • 48% Iron.
  • 42% copper.
  • 28% Manganese.
  • 30% Phosphorus.
  • 29% Potassium.
  • 25% Calcium.
  • 10% Zinc.
  • 20% Selenium.
  • 60% folate and niacin.
  • 48% omega 3-fatty acids.

Canned chickpeas also contain 52% more sodium than the dried variety.

Dried vs canned chickpeas.

I know, it's just so easy to buy and use canned beans. However, those of us who will only use dried beans, can honestly say hand on heart, that the taste is far superior to that of the canned variety.

Take hummus for example, a good, home made hummus which has been produced from dried beans, would never be considered inferior to the alternative, mass manufactured product which can be bought at the nearest Wal-Mart. The principle is the same here, the canning process impairs the taste of the beans considerably, whatever the dish.

And that isn't all. For those of you who have decided to cook with chickpeas because of their high nutritional value, take a look at the chart opposite which details the loss of nutrients during the canning process. It really does make sense to use dried beans. Which leads me on to....



What Others Are Saying About More Than Hummus"contains everything you need to know about hummus.Canning has done a very nice job putting this ebook together. She even got the Ta...

View on Amazon

Krinos Tahini

Krinos tahini is a thick paste made from crushed sesame seeds. High in proteins and other nutrients, it is a flavorful base for spreads, a topping for pasta or falafel or as an ...

View on Amazon

Ingredients and method

Prep time 3 min  -  Total time 123 min
Ingredients for 2 servings
1 cup of dried chickpeas  • 3 cups of water.  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional

1. Rinse the dried chickpeas, removing any debris or peas which float to the top of the water. Drain.
2. Place the rinsed chickpeas into a large pot and cover with cold water. Ensure that the level of water is roughly four inches above the chickpeas. Add the seasonings if required and bring to the boil.
3. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for approximately two hours, or until the chickpeas are soft.
4. Remove from the heat, drain and then use in your favorite recipe.

Recipe  3.0/5 Stars (3 Votes)

How to prepare and cook dried chickpeas.

Cooking dried chickpeas really isn't as inconvenient as it might sound. Not only will your recipes taste far better with the inclusion of dried beans, you can also cook them in advance and store them in your freezer for later use. Remember that once cooked, chickpeas will more than double in  size.

During cooking the chickpeas will loose some nutrients. If you prefer, you can soak the chickpeas for 3 to 4 hours prior to cooking. This process will reduce cooking time and so reduce the amount of nutrients which are lost.

How to freeze chickpeas.

If you have decided that you would prefer to cook large quantities of chickpeas and freeze them for later use, then freeze as follows:

  • Allow the chickpeas to cool.
  • Drain off some of the liquid, but retain a small amount.
  • Spoon the chickpeas, with a small amount of the liquid, into freezer bags and place into the freezer.
  • Remember to store in required portions and not to freeze one mass batch together.

Chickpea and spinach curry with coriander.

Easy, healthy and delicious.

Chick pea and spinach curry with coriander.
Chick pea and spinach curry with coriander.

I can honestly say that chickpea and spinach curry with coriander is one of my favourite dishes. Not just because it's delicious, but because it's just so easy to make. Chickpea and spinach curry is also a really inexpensive meal, filling and lends itself to freezing.

No more than six ingredients are needed, including the curry paste, all of which are particularly healthy. Many Thai curry pastes contain shrimp and are not therefore vegetarian. Fortunately Masaman Thai curry paste is free from shrimp, or any other fish byproducts for that matter and is completely suitable for vegetarians.

The Panang curry paste is free from shrimp, dairy and all other animal by-products, and is therefore suitable for vegan use.


Ingredients and preparation.

Ingredients and preparation.

Prep time 6 min  -  Total time 20 min
Ingredients for 4 servings
2-3 tsp Vegetarian red Thai curry paste  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped  • 400g can of cherry or chopped tomatoes  • 400g chickpeas, cooked  • 200g baby leaf spinach  • 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

1. I would recommend that you use a non-stick pan for the following step, as the curry paste can stick. Place the pan on the hob which should be on a high setting, and add the curry paste. When the paste begins to separate stir in the onion. Cook for about one minute or until the onion has softened.
2. When the onion has softened add the tomatoes to the pan. Cover, bring to boil and allow to bubble away for approximately 3-4 minutes or until the tomato sauce has begun to reduce.
3. When the sauce has started to reduce, add the chopped coriander and stir in the chickpeas. Season if desired and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. After 3-4 minutes, stir the mixture in the pan and then remove the pan from the heat. Add the spinach and allow to wilt over the steam from the pan. This is important because you only want the spinach to wilt. If you "cook" the spinach it will become soggy and lose flavour and some nutrients.
5. Stir in the spinach until it becomes softened or wilted, as illustrated in the picture beneath.

Recipe  0.0/5 Stars (0 Votes)
Add paste then onion.
Add paste then onion.
H. Thomas
Add tomatoes.
Add tomatoes.
H. Thomas
Add chickpeas and coriander.
Add chickpeas and coriander.
H. Thomas
Allow spinach to wilt over the heat.
Allow spinach to wilt over the heat.
H. Thomas
Stir in the spinach once it has wilted.
Stir in the spinach once it has wilted.
H. Thomas.
Real Vegetarian Thai

Real Thai has gone vegetarian! Everyone loves Thai food, but it's not easy to find truly meatless dishes. Thai cooking expert Nancie McDermott has developed inventive variations...

View on Amazon

Paprika roasted vegetables with chickpeas and sunflower seeds.

A great way to include heart healthy sunflower seeds and use up excess chickpeas and vegetables.

Have you ever wondered how to turn those few left over veggies into a healthy, delicious meal for the family? Then read on. 

I've used sweet potato and red pepper in the example, but you can use any vegetables you like providing that they lend themselves to roasting. Paprika roasted vegetables is served here with steamed mangetout, but you can add any other green vegetable or salad. Or serve with crusty wholemeal bread to mop up the sauce.


Paprika roasted vegetables with chickpeas and sunflower seeds, served here with steamed mangetout.
Paprika roasted vegetables with chickpeas and sunflower seeds, served here with steamed mangetout.

Ingredients and method.

Prep time 10 min  -  Total time 60 min
Ingredients for 4 servings
I large or two medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into squares (1 to 2")  • 3 medium sized carrots, sliced.  • I large red pepper, de-seeded and cut into squares. (1 to 2")  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and cut into squares.  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced.  • 3 tbsp of raw sunflower seeds.  • 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes.  • 400g of cooked chickpeas.  • 2 tbsp of paprika  • 2 tbsp of oil  • 1 bunch of coriander for the garnish (optional)

1. Chop the veg as illustrated. Not to small or it will burn.
2.Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Add the oil to a suitably sized roasting pan and heat for 2-3 minutes.
3.Place all the vegetables into the roasting tin, sprinkle in the sunflower seeds and toss all the ingredients in the olive oil.
4.Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven when the vegetables have started to brown at the edges, then sprinkle the paprika over the top. Mix well and then return to the oven for five minutes.
5. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and transfer the ingredients to a suitably sized pan. Add any juices which remain as they are infused with the garlic and paprika. Transfer to the stove top and put the heat onto a medium setting and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and coriander. Bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes.
6. Remove from the heat and plate up. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Recipe  0.0/5 Stars (0 Votes)
Chop the veg into squares of between 1 and 2 inches.
Chop the veg into squares of between ...
H. Thomas
Place the vegetables and sunflower seeds into a roasting pan.
Place the vegetables and sunflower se...
H. Thomas
Sprinkle the paprika over the vegetables and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the paprika over the vegetab...
H. Thomas
Transfer the vegetables to a pan and chickpeas and tomatoes.
Transfer the vegetables to a pan and ...
H. Thomas
Frontier Paprika Powder Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bag

Frontier Paprika Powder comes in 16 ounce bags. A sweet but sassy relative of the chili pepper, paprika is used to add warm, natural color and mildly spicy flavor to soups, stew...

View on Amazon

Updated: 11/18/2012, HollieT
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
HollieT on 04/03/2013

Brenda, I find that they take on the flavours of the other foods and spices that they're cooked with, so they're really versatile and can be used in all kinds of recipes. You should give them a go. And thank you for sharing the recipes with your friends, very much appreciated. :)

BrendaReeves on 04/03/2013

I shared it on FB with my vegan and vegetarian friends.

BrendaReeves on 04/03/2013

I never even thought of cooking chick peas even though I cook other beans. I'm definitely going to try your recipe.

HollieT on 03/11/2013

Thank you, Elias!

EliasZanetti on 03/11/2013

I'm a big fan of chickpeas! Great recipe&tips! Thumbs up!

HollieT on 03/11/2013

Thank you, Cazort.

I think that once you learn how the nutritional value and taste of chickpeas has been impaired after the canning process, dried chickpeas become the favoured option, and of course they're much cheaper.

Your salads and soups sound very appealing, particularly since I also really like the combination of chickpeas and coriander. Be lovely to see your recipes in an article, Cazort! :)

cazort on 03/10/2013

I had never seen the nutritional comparison between canned and dried beans before--this is compelling. Dried beans are certainly much cheaper too. I know that frozen beans are more nutritious than canned beans, and I wonder why more types of beans aren't available frozen. I'd buy them over canned beans if I needed the convenience.

I also LOVE the combination of chickpeas and coriander. I will frequently make salads or soups that contain both coriander powder (from the seed) and fresh coriander (cilantro) leaf. I think chickpeas go particularly well with this spice. Coriander + chickpeas + cooked greens are also a great combination!

I really love your recommendations here!

HollieT on 02/19/2013

Hi Mira,

I love mangetout, I eat it raw all the time and when I do cook it, I just steam it for around a minute so that's it still has a bit of crunch. You have me intrigued regarding using chickpeas in cake, this I must try! I hop you enjoy the recipes, Mira. :)

Mira on 02/19/2013

Hi Hollie, I love these recipes. I will definitely try them. Also, I wish we had mangetout over here. Another thing to try with chickpeas is cake. It works wonderfully. Just use soaked dried chickpeas instead of flour. (I also prefer dried chickpeas.)

HollieT on 02/19/2013

Hi Catana,

I rarely use canned chick peas, but if I do i always give them a good rinse before re-heating because of the sodium in the juice. I hope you enjoy the paprika roasted vegetables. :)

You might also like

Where to Buy a Tagine Pot online ~ What is a Tagine Pot?

Exploring the benefits of cooking with a tagine pot and which features to loo...

The Rise of Food Cooperatives and Food Buying Groups; Consumer...

Exploring food cooperatives and food buying groups; defining food cooperative...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...