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What are Chick Peas?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Chick peas are perhaps better known by their name garbanzo beans. They are a roundish, beige to light green members of the legume family grown primarily in part of West Asia, India, and in the Mediterranean. Most are familiar with chick peas as either used whole in salads, or ground up to make the popular Middle Eastern dish hummus.

These legumes also can be ground up and used as a flour called gram flour. They may be used in this fashion to make falafel, or to make a variant of tofu made by the people of Burma. It is usually known as Burmese tofu.

Chick peas are also a frequent ingredient in Italian dishes. They may be used to make pasta and beans. They are often added to marinated vegetables and may be part of an antipasto dish. They may also be recognizable as a staple in three-bean salad, which is comprised of green beans, kidney beans and chick peas and pickled with vinegar or stored in vinegar and oil.

A serving of chick peas has about 4 ounces (113.39 g) or half a cup has about 17 grams of dietary fiber and 19 grams of protein. They are also considered more digestible than most other beans making them a better choice for people who suffer from excessive flatulence after consuming beans.

Chick peas are considered a starchy carbohydrate and are a great staple for people with diabetes. They do not produce high glucose in the body when consumed. Thus they rate well on the glycemic index.

There are actually two forms of chick peas. The Desi type has a darker color and tends to be smaller. The Kabuli type is more familiar to the American consumer with a lighter color and a softer coat. Of the two, the Desi is considered a better dietary choice, but is harder to find in the US.

Kabuli chick peas are quite easy to find, especially canned. One can hardly fail to notice their presence next to many other varieties of canned beans in most grocery stores. Because they have only a slight flavor, they are excellent for mixing with other ingredients or spices, and make for a healthful addition to a variety of dishes.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon326953 — On Mar 25, 2013

How do chick peas grow?

By anon252109 — On Mar 04, 2012

If I eat too many beans, will I break wind a lot?

By anon170161 — On Apr 25, 2011

good to know. I like chick peas and will be trying it in all the ways the comments mention.

By anon145521 — On Jan 23, 2011

We use chick peas mainly in hummus. Delicious! In fact, we are eating freshly made hummus right now!

By anon91293 — On Jun 21, 2010

In kenya, it's mainly an indian dish but other communities also boil it with maize and eat it that way.

By anon74108 — On Mar 31, 2010

Chickpeas are very common in malaysia. The tamil indians use it in their cooking; one can also steam it after soaking it in water and add a little salt for taste. eat when it's hot. yummy!

By anon60903 — On Jan 17, 2010

the best falafel is made from chickpeas and the best one is made by Falafa Pita in New York.

It is gluten free and fresh. taste of heaven

By anon19763 — On Oct 18, 2008

YAY! I use them as vegetarian for a meat sub!

By rjohnson — On Feb 10, 2008

While most falafel is made from chick peas, some are made exclusively from fava beans or a combination of fava beans and chick peas.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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