chickpeas in a bowl chickpeas in a bowl Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. (Photo: margouillat photo / Shutterstock)

6 wonderful ways to cook with chickpeas

The versatility of this tasty legume is virtually limitless.

Chickpeas are one of the most versatile legumes in existence. In addition to being hearty and filling, this bean is an integral component of many vegetarian diets. With little effort, you can turn chickpeas into a highlight of every meal. Here are a few of our own ideas straight from our Israeli Kitchen, as well as some handy web-curated gems that we just can't wait to try.

Put a little flair in your salad or stew

chickpea rice saladLet your guests do the tossing for this salad. (Photo: Sarah Berkowitz)

Salads and stews that include chickpeas make for a filling, hearty meal. We've got several chickpea salad and stew recipes in our Israeli Kitchen recipe collection. Here are just a few:


Make out-of-this-world hummus

Hummus dipHummus dip is a crowd-pleaser. (Photo: Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock)

Hummus is pure, creamy dipping bliss. And it all starts with a heaping bunch of chickpeas, pureed with tahini, garlic and olive oil. We've got some clever variations on hummus and equally clever ways to use it in other recipes, all of which are undoubtedly worth trying, but there's nothing like a tried-and-true, classic hummus recipe to make your party guests want to dive in and keep dipping.


Fry 'em up into falafel

falafelFalafel is fried chickpea, but to you, it's a crispy ball of goodness. (Photo: Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock)

Increasingly popular around the world, falafel joints dispense hot, crunchy falafel balls packed into fresh pita bread and topped with all kinds of relishes. It's hard to stop eating, but not hard to make at home. Here's our easy, can't-go-wrong recipe. For a double-chickpea delight, add hummus to the pita before plopping falafel into it.


Stuff 'em in a sambusak

Chickpea sambusakChickpea sambusak (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

Don't you love stuffed stuff?

These savory Mediterranean turnover pastries, similar to hand pies, are stuffed with a variety of fillings, from ground lamb or beef to chickpeas to chicken to spinach. We like the chickpea version best because it's easily applied to any occasion or meal, from appetizer to lunchbox item. It's also great to have on hand frozen when guests are coming and you need something to offer, in a hurry.


Roast 'em for a delicious, healthy snack

spicy roasted chickpeasSnack away on these flavorful, healthful roasted chickpeas. (Photo: koss13/Shutterstock)

Mark Bittman, author of "How to Cook Everything," says it takes cooked chickpeas about 30 minutes to become crisp, either in the oven or on the stovetop. That's plenty of time to get the kids to bed, feed the dog, pour a glass of wine, power up Netflix, set up a cute serving bowl, and make these roasted chickpeas for you and your honey to snack on while you relax.


Harvest the liquid for a fantastic egg substitute

Chickpea liquid, also called aquafaba, is a great egg substitute.Chickpea liquid, also called aquafaba, is a great egg substitute. (Photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock)

If you're as big a fan as we are of the Mediterranean diet – a diet that's been linked to all manner of benefits, including brain and breast health – then you'll want to keep this trick handy. French chef Joël Roessel discovered a brilliant use for the liquid left over from cooked chickpeas – yes, the liquid you usually pour down the drain after you're done making all the delicious recipes we listed above. It's even got a fun name – aquafaba! Whip it up just like you would egg whites, and you get a lighter-than-air, frothy substance that's perfect for meringue, custard or any recipe that calls for eggs.

MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Healthy eating, Lists