October 20, 2018
Dried white chickpeas ceci on the wooden spoon

Great Garbanzos! Healthy, Filling Chickpeas

by Berkeley Wellness

Chickpeas are pale, round, cream-colored legumes that are used extensively in India, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. There is conflicting evidence as to how long chickpeas have been eaten, though some date it back an incredible 10,000 years. FYI: Cicero in Latin means chickpea!

Today chickpeas are an increasingly beloved staple in American homes. In Latin American cuisine they are called garbanzos, and in Italian American cuisine, they are called ceci. Chickpeas are also the key ingredient in the popular Mediterranean dish hummus.

Types of Chickpeas

There are two main varieties of chickpeas, kabuli and desi, plus chickpea shoots, chickpea flour, and other chickpea products.

Chickpeas: nutrition

One of nature’s perfect foods, these versatile legumes, with a firm yet creamy texture and a delicate nutlike flavor, are highly nourishing. They are rich in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, folate, iron, and zinc.

One half-cup of cooked chickpeas provides 7 grams of protein, and only 2 grams of fat. It also provides 35 percent of the RDA for folate, a B vitamin that studies show helps to reduce certain birth defects. Chickpeas are no slouches when it comes to iron content—1/2 cup providing 30 percent of your daily iron requirement.

Chickpeas are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps people feel full, a benefit if you’re trying to control your weight. Like other beans, chickpeas are digested slowly, which promotes a gradual release of blood glucose, which may be helpful in the control of diabetes. In addition, the soluble fiber in chickpeas may help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Evidence indicates that a diet that contains generous amounts of legumes—which are nutrient-rich, low in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates—may help reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.

For a full listing of nutrients, see Chickpeas in the National Nutrient Database.

11 Recipe Ideas for Chickpeas

Chickpeas add great nutrition and nutty flavor to salads, soups, stews, and even pasta sauces.

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