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Pantry All-Stars: Canned Chickpeas

Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, you’ll love the versatility of these nutritious little legumes.

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In our series, “Pantry All-Stars,” we put the spotlight on one of the ingredients we always have on hand for quick, kid-friendly meals. Next up: chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).

Chickpeas have had a prized place on our tables for a very long time. One of the first beans to be cultivated, there’s evidence of folks eating chickpeas more than 7,500 years ago. It’s really no wonder chickpeas have been a pantry staple for millennia: creamy, mild, and beyond healthy, these little beans can be blended into dips, balled up to make falafel, cooked into curries and soups, and can even go sweet (chocolate hummus, anyone?). They’re also among the most affordable protein sources out there, and while you can save extra pennies by cooking up dried chickpeas, it’s really hard to beat the convenience factor of the canned variety.

Here are some of our favorite ways to cook with this tasty kitchen shortcut:

Make hummus, fast. James Beard Award-winning chef (and dad) Michael Solomonov might know more about chickpeas than anyone we’ve ever met. But the mastermind behind a host of beloved restaurants in Philadelphia and beyond isn’t a purist about cooking them from scratch. In fact, he’s all for using the canned stuff to make extra-creamy hummus you (and your Little Sous) will want to spread on everything. (P.S. If you want some falafel to go with your hummus, canned chickpeas can help out with that, too.)

Make a crunchy topping for salads (or a standalone snack). A quick pat dry, a touch of oil, a short stint in the oven, and whatever spices you’re inspired to sprinkle are all that stand between a can of chickpeas and your family’s new favorite munchable.

Add a can to a vegetarian tikka masala. Skip the takeout and make this Indian-inspired dish with a few of our other pantry all-stars: coconut milk, canned tomatoes, and savory spices.

Substitute chickpeas for chicken or tuna in sandwich-ready salads. Kids can mash chickpeas with a potato masher, then stir in mayo, chopped celery, herbs, and anything else you’d add to a tuna or chicken salad.

Make your own veggie burgers! Chickpeas act as a binder when mushed up with other ingredients, so you won’t need any eggs. Just add some grated vegetables, spices, and a bit of flour to keep everything together.

Add extra protein to pretty much anything you’re cooking. Pair chickpeas with pasta, throw them into vegetable soup or macaroni and cheese, mash them with ricotta for lasagna, or blend them into smoothies.

Need even more reason to fill your pantry with stacks on stacks of garbanzos? The beany liquid from canned chickpeas (called aquafaba, which is really fun to say) is pretty magical on its own! It can be whipped into egg-free mayomeringue, and even fluffy chocolate mousse. Cool beans.

Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking box that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!