A Chickpea by any other name – Garbanzo

The chickpea, sometimes called the Garbanzo bean has been around since Man began cultivating and is a main staple of many diets, yet the lowly chickpea has often been relegated to not much more than a hummus ingredient here in the States.

Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs
Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs

By the way, my Hummus is fantastic (if I do say so myself), as well as the wraps I make with them, and so are my Crunchy Oven Roasted Chickpeas) but chickpeas have so much more to offer!

When dried chickpeas are treated lovingly from the start, simmered in herbs and aromatics, they’ll take on the most wonderful flavor – and the chickpeas will be tender, buttery and rich. They’ll also produce a lovely broth, something you’ll never get from the canned version (and they’re lower in sodium and less expensive than canned).

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

One note: when I make this dish with dried herbs the chickpeas are very good, but if you have fresh herbs, they’re fantastic. I can hardly stop eating them. They are down right addictive.

There’s really no reason to worry, though, about how many chickpeas you eat – according to the World’s Healthiest Food, the Garbanzo is full of protein and has a myriad of health benefits. Chickpeas help increase satiety (make you feel full faster, improve colon and cardiovascular health and a half cup of chickpeas a day will help lower and stabilize blood sugar.

Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs
Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs

Plus, they’re dirt cheap! Look for dried chickpeas in the beans and rice sections of your store, and if you don’t see them there, don’t stop – check the aisles where Indian and Mexican foods are sold, generally on the bottom shelves. Markets and health food stores are great places to make sure you’re getting the freshest chickpeas – they’ll produce the tenderest chickpea.

I thought I knew everything there was about the humble Chickpea until I picked up a Fine Cooking “Cook Fresh” magazine at the airport last winter on my trip to Georgia.

Hummus bi Tahini
Hummus bi Tahini

If you read my blog, you know I’ll often take one long cooking ingredient and make extra to transform into other dishes – it’s seldom you’ll see a magazine do that, but Fine Cooking did. I’m going to be featuring a Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad made with this batch and perhaps a few more recipes are in store.

I’m tossing in a few photos and links to my other Chickpea recipes, too, my Hummus and Wraps post, which contains a lot of information on comparative pricing, Oven Roasted Chickpeas, Falafel, and be sure to check out my Spinach Quinoa Salad for another great main dish salad.

Wraps made with hummus - made with dried Chickpeas
Wraps made with hummus – made with dried Chickpeas

But back to the chickpeas, themselves – here’s a quick summary of Fine Cooking’s tips for tender chickpeas:

  • Use the freshest dried chickpeas you can find; shop at a place with high turn-over if possible.
  • Soak overnight and don’t use the “quick-soak” method. If you’re worried about fermentation, soak them in the fridge.
  • Simmer very slowly. Bring the pot up to a boil and immediately turn it down. Add a little salt, but wait until the beans are tender, about an hour, then continue to cook.
  • Taste multiple beans when checking for doneness. If any are under cooked, continue simmering.

Below is my adaptation of the Fine Cooking Recipe; I generally just drop in the herbs and onion and don’t worry about placing them in a cheesecloth bundle like Fine Cooking did. The few stems are easily picked out and the onion has fantastic flavor.

Oven Roasted Chickpeas
Oven Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs

  • Servings: 5-6 cups
  • Time: 1 hr + soak
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, as desired (see Conversion Guide)

Pick through chickpeas and discard any discolored ones or debris. Rinse well under running water. Place in cooking pot (six quart) and cover by a few inches and soak for six and up to twelve hours. Longer soaking may result in more split beans. Soak in refrigerator if worried about fermentation.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Return to pot. Add onion and 10 cups of cold water and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Turn the heat down to maintain a very gently simmer (a few bubbles gently breaking the surface) and when the foam dissipates (a few minutes), add in the herb sprigs and bay leaves.

Continue to simmer until chickpeas are just tender, about an hour. Add salt and gently stir, and cook until the chickpeas ae fully tender and creamy on the inside but still retain their shape, 15 to 30 minutes more. Test several to check for doneness.

Drain and reserve liquid, discard herb stems and let chickpeas and broth cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator in separate airtight containers for up to five days.

Yield: five to six cups of cooked beans plus broth

Note: these chickpeas can successfully be frozen for several months, in a Ziploc bag with some of the liquid.

From the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

Fantastic Falafel Sandwiches!
Fantastic Falafel Sandwiches!

I’ll be toting this recipe along to Fiesta Friday #88, hosted this week by Julie @ Hostess At Heart and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons . Thank you, Angie of the Novice Gardener, as usual, for putting on this party!

I’ll be bringing it, too, over to Throwback Thursday. Quinn of Dad What’s 4 Dinner and  Alli from Tornadough host this blogging extravaganza

11 thoughts on “A Chickpea by any other name – Garbanzo”

    1. Thanks, Alli – I hope I inspired you then – I know, I know, chickpeas probably aren’t on the top of everyone’s bucket list of recipes, but you might be surprised! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by – I’m pretty excited by you and Quinn and Throwback Thursday and have only just started exploring your site! Love that Italian cake! Wow!

    1. I’ve been making them for years and almost always use the quick soak method – not anymore! It was small but dramatic difference in the texture. I think the salting, too, after they became tender allowed them to hold together while they softened that wee bit more…

      One of the reasons I still love cooking after all these years is I keep learning more…:)

  1. I have been wanting to try to make chickpeas from the dry version for ages–I just never plan ahead well enough to soak them overnight, and end up using a can….but this post is inspiring me. It sounds like they taste so much better than the canned version!

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