Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzos, chana, ceci, or hummus, are small, round, tan beans that are very popular in the entire Mediterranean basin, India, Latin America and the Middle East. Their flavor and density can be rich, creamy, nutty, and very substantial in a wide variety of recipes. As with most legumes, chickpeas are rich in protein, folate, zinc, and potassium.
Garbanzo beans are a legume and contain “anti-nutrients” that are designed by nature to protect them.
One is a natural toxin called lectin; the other is the enzyme inhibitor phytic acid. Both of these substances can make beans tough to digest and can trigger gas, difficulty with mineral absorption, and possible calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D depletion.
Soaking and sprouting beans helps neutralize phytic acid and lectins while enhancing the amino acid, vitamin and protein content. As always, let how you feel when you eat beans be your ultimate authority.
Chickpeas are very easy to sprout, and you can do it without any special equipment. For many people who have difficulty digesting them, this can be a game changer. I love using sprouted chickpeas to make hummus, roasted chickpeas, soups, and stews. They are also delicious as a raw snack as long as you chew them very slowly and very well.
½ cup organic chickpeas
- Decide how long you want to extend the sprouting process. For cooking purposes, including stewing or roasting, a short-sprouted garbanzo makes sense. For eating raw in salads or for raw hummus I like a longer sprout.
- Thoroughly wash ½ cup chickpeas before soaking. Soak the chickpeas overnight in at least double the amount of water. This re-hydrates them and starts to “wake” them up.
- In the morning drain the garbanzos in a stainless steel colander and rinse them thoroughly. Spread the chickpeas evenly across the bottom of the colander. Place the colander over a bowl and cover it with a cotton dishtowel. This keeps air flowing while protecting the chickpeas from fruit flies or other insects.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas at least two to three times a day. Rinse more frequently in especially hot weather.
- Repeat this process 2-3 times a day until the garbanzo beans have sprouted sufficiently. This will take around three days for short-sprouted chickpeas (for cooking), or around five days for the longer sprouts (for raw consumption).
- Once the chickpeas have sprouted to the desired degree, give them a final thorough rinse and drain well. Any skins that have come loose can be picked out, but they don’t impact taste or digestibility. Let the chickpea sprouts air dry for a bit, then refrigerate them for up to a week.
- If you prefer your chickpeas cooked, steam them for ten minutes. You will have a more easily digested legume than with standard cooking.
- 1/2 cup dry makes about 2 cups sprouted
Great Chickpea Recipes
- Quick Wilted Spinach and Chickpeas in Coconut Milk
- North African Chicken and Chickpea Stew
- Chickpeas with Watercress
- Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry
- Chickpeas with Garlic and Greens
- Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
- Classic Hummus
- Black Bean and Chipotle Harissa Hummus
- Avocado Cilantro Hummus