7 Ways to Use Chickpeas (That Don't Involve Hummus)

These legumes add texture to a sandwich, work well in soups, and can even be used to whip up healthy desserts.

We're all familiar with standard pantry staples, such as rice, pasta, and olive oil, but we're here to tell you that chickpeas deserve a coveted spot on that list, too. Though they're often overlooked in favor of similar items like lentils and kidney beans, chickpeas are just as versatile as their counterparts, if not more so. This is largely thanks to the fact that chickpeas can be served in many different forms with a variety of textures.

Yes, chickpeas are a standard hummus base, but these bite-sized legumes also make a great addition to most rice dishes and soups, and can even be used to make a vegan version of tuna salad. Like other pantry staples, they're also easy to find and don't mind being neglected for a few months until you remember you purchased them.

From a health perspective, they're packed with vitamins and minerals, including manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of fiber and protein, making them a healthy addition to any snack or meal.

And if you buy canned chickpeas, don't forget to save the liquid that comes in the can. Also known as aquafaba, this substance is often used as an egg substitute for vegan cooking and baking. It can also be whipped and used as a base for mousse, meringues, and more.

Take your meals to the next level, all courtesy of canned chickpeas.

01 of 07

Include Them in a Sandwich or Wrap

Chickpea salad sandwich on a plate
Here, chickpeas roll in for a vegetarian version of a chicken salad sandwich (read: not your grandmother's). If you want to lighten it up, swap yogurt for the mayo. Once you try it you'll be brown-bagging one daily—and it’s so quick, you'll have no excuse not to make it. Get the recipe: Chickpea Salad Sandwich. Alison Miksch

Looking for ways to cut back on your meat consumption? This sandwich is basically a vegetarian version of a classic chicken salad sandwich. Here, chickpeas are seasoned and mashed, which gives them a coarse, satisfying texture similar to chicken salad.

02 of 07

Make Tuna Salad

Chickpea-Tuna Salad with greens on a plate
Photo by: Victor Protasio

Chickpeas can also come in handy if you're looking to revamp your standard tuna salad. This mayo-free recipe calls for chickpeas (which have been marinated in oil and vinegar) along with canned tuna, radicchio, red onion, kalamata olives, and capers. The result is a refreshing take on tuna salad that you definitely won't find at your local deli.

If you want to take things a step further, omit the tuna entirely and use mashed chickpeas (along with lemon zest, capers, and whatever else you typically like in your tuna salad) to create a plant-based version of the lunchtime staple.

03 of 07

Sprinkle Them in a Grain Bowl or a Rice Dish

Herby Rice Salad in a bowl
Courtesy of Ananda Eidelstein

In Middle Eastern cooking, chickpeas are a common addition to many rice dishes. This recipe pairs the nutty legumes with pistachios and arugula for a light, protein-packed lunch or side dish. If hearty grain bowls are more your speed, consider cooking some chickpeas on the stove until they're brown and crispy, and tossing them together with some leftover rice and vegetables for a DIY meal that won't disappoint.

04 of 07

Smash 'Em on Toast

Chickpea and Mint mix in a bowl with a side of toasted crostini ready for serving
In this no-cook recipe, combine chickpeas with juicy pomegranate seeds and chopped mint for a bright, fresh topping. Get the recipe: Chickpea and Mint Crostini. Mikkel Vang

Sure, you could make an argument that just about anything tastes great atop a piece of toasted baguette, but this crostini recipe that pairs chickpeas with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint really lets their earthy flavor shine.

05 of 07

Add to Soup or Stew

Two bowls of Pasta, Chickpea, and Chicken Soup and a bowl of pesto on the side
Simmering a Parmesan rind directly in the broth deepens the flavor of this twist on chicken noodle, while the pesto adds a bright and fresh finishing touch. In fact, go ahead and double the pesto. Save the leftovers, then use later in the week on homemade pizza or bruschetta. Get the recipe: Pasta, Chickpea, and Chicken Soup With Pesto. Greg DuPree

Got a can of chickpeas you're eager to use before it's too late? Toss them in a soup or stew to make the comforting meal even heartier. This elevated chicken soup uses Parmesan rind and homemade pesto to flavor the broth, while the chickpeas add texture and a hefty helping of protein.

06 of 07

Go for a Veggie Burger

Chickpea Veggie Burger on a cutting board
Caitlin Bensel

Thanks to their hearty nature, chickpeas make a great veggie burger base. This recipe combines them with harissa and panko breadcrumbs for a spicy, meat-free dish that won't have you heading back to the kitchen an hour after you've finished your meal.

07 of 07

Let Them Shine in Desserts

Chickpea "Cookie Dough" Bites
Victor Protasio

Chickpeas actually work very well in no-bake cookies. Here, the beans join forces with oats, pecans, raisins, molasses, and cinnamon to form a healthy take on oatmeal raisin cookies.

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