A can of chickpeas can make a healthy and delicious meal! Here are all our favorite chickpea recipes, from sandwiches to soups to tacos.
Wondering what to do with a can of chickpeas? You’ve come to the right place! Chickpeas, also know as garbanzo beans, are full of plant based protein, making them perfect for creating filling meals. And chickpeas aren’t just for hummus. You can use them in so many creative ways! Head to the recipes below.
What can I do with canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)? Let us count the ways (or head to the recipes below):
Soups:Chickpeas are perfect in soups, either whole or blended to make a creamy body.
Tacos: Spiced up with cumin and chili powder, they’re perfect in a tortilla
Sandwiches: Throw them on a sandwich in a vegetarian version of chicken salad, for example.
THE favorite in our garbanzo bean recipes: this chickpea salad sandwich! Chickpea salad is a play on a vegetarian chicken salad: and man, is it good! The chickpeas are mashed and mixed with a little mayo, lemon juice, celery and green onions. It takes about 10 minutes to make, perfect for when you need a quick lunch or dinner!
Next up in our chickpea recipes: this Moroccan stew is cozy, hearty and full of flavor. It's warm spiced with cumin, coriander and cinnamon, and the chickpeas are simmered with tomatoes and chickpeas. Serve with side quinoa or couscous and a dollop of Greek yogurt, and it's an extraordinarily tasty meal.
Here's a new way to use chickpeas: in burgers! And these chickpea burgers are extra special. They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with a hint of nuance from smoked paprika. Painted with BBQ sauce and served with shiitake bacon and spicy mayo, they’re pretty darn tasty (if we do say so ourselves).
This chickpea curry is the epitome of healthy weeknight dinners! It can be made in just 20 minutes, a speed record for sure. But there are no flavor shortcuts: it's bursting with garlic, ginger, cumin, and curry powder, with a bit of coconut swirled in for a creamy body. Serve with basmati rice and it's a true gem.
Want to know one of our best easy meal tricks? Try these Easy Canned Chickpeas, the way to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes! This one is one of our very best secrets to eating healthy plant based dinners on the regular. Many nights we’ll make improv dinners using what we find in the pantry or fridge. More often than not, you’ll see these easy chickpeas on the menu! They’re great for healthy lunches, or work as the protein in a grain bowl. Really, we should call these lifesaving chickpeas.
Ever tried crispy chickpeas? They're the perfect salty snack! Here the chickpeas are combined with savory spices like cumin, garlic powder, and black pepper, and roasted until crispy. They're like a healthy potato chip...and you'll find it's hard to stop crunching on them.
The falafel sandwich is the stuff dreams are made of: and one of the most iconic vegan sandwiches...ever! The crunch of the fried chickpea fritters, the soft herby interior, and the sauces that dribble down your chin….it’s our ultimate meal. Might we present the ultimate falafel sandwich! It features crunchy fritters, ultra soft flatbread, crunchy veggies and creamy, garlicky sauces.
Tip: This one uses dried chickpeas, so make sure to have a bag of dried chickpeas hand. Is all you have canned chickpeas? Then make...
Bowl meals are so popular these days, and often they’re on our table because it’s one of the easiest ways to turn random ingredients into a healthy dinner! But here’s the thing: you can’t just throw anything into a bowl. A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. This one is Greek-inspired and stars our easy canned chickpeas with seasoned quinoa, colorful veggies and tahini sauce.
Meet our favorite vegetarian and vegan dinner recipe: the Falafel Burger! We don’t always have the energy to fry up a batch of authentic falafel. So eating it in burger form is the next best thing! These are easy to make with canned chickpeas. The combination of a cumin and coriander-scented chickpea patty with cool cucumber sauce and all the fixin’s is pretty darn epic. It’s a healthy vegetarian and vegan dinner recipe that everyone loves.
Pasta e ceci is a traditional Italian “pasta and chickpea soup” This stew is full of big Italian flavors: intense vibrant tomato, leafy Tuscan kale, and a creamy broth made with Parmesan rind. Swimming in it all are the chickpeas and pasta of the soup’s title, making it hearty and filling. It’s a stunner!
And now for the most famous of all chickpea recipes...hummus! Our best homemade hummus is way tastier than store bought, and a little cheaper too. Blend it up with lemon garlic, tahini, and it's simply delish. Use for dipping pita chips, or in our Veggie Roll Ups.
Ready for one of our best quick fix meals? This simple chickpea salad. Some people might say it’s not even a recipe. But just as important are non-recipes like what to eat for lunch every day. Making “real” recipes and throwing together a 5 minute fast lunch are equally as valid! So how to eat a plant based lunch without spending hours on meal prep? How to make a quick dinner out of nothing? It starts with a can of chickpeas.
Ever tried chickpeas on....pizza? This vegan pizza recipe is so good you won't realize it doesn't have cheese. It's topped with our tangy Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe and loaded with veggies: savory mushrooms, artichokes, red onion, and red pepper. Chickpeas bring in plant based protein, and it's topped with basil for a fresh note.
Why not make a bean salad recipe with chickpeas? Our very best easy bean salad features chickpeas along with white beans and pinto beans. They're mixed with a savory tomato vinaigrette, green onions and feta cheese. It's almost impossible to stop eating this one. This is a great side dish to add protein to vegetarian meals. Another option: our Dill Bean Salad.
You might not think of tacos as a chickpea recipe...but taco spiced chickpeas go perfectly in a tortilla! Here the chickpeas are sauteed with lots of spices, then combined with a cabbage slaw. The best part? The avocado scream sauce that covers the entire taco in tangy goodness. Another chickpea taco recipe is our Chickpea & Veggie Tacos that feature mango, carrot ribbons, and jalapeño peppers.
This butternut squash soup doesn't look like it's a garbanzo bean recipe...they're hiding inside! Yes, chickpeas work well as a soup thickener: and add a bit of protein to make it more filling! Here, chickpeas make the body of this squash soup flavored with curry paste, fresh ginger and coconut milk.
This curry with chickpeas recipe is another fan favorite! Here curry powder and coconut milk make a savory broth for simmering cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas until tender. Wilt in some spinach and serve with brown rice. It's seriously tasty and chock full of good-for-you veggies.
Chickpeas in a risotto recipe? Yes, we've added chickpeas here for protein so you can serve this vegetarian risotto as a main dish! The star is golden roasted cauliflower, baked until tender and browned in a very hot oven. Stir it into Parmesan risotto, and it's a cozy dinner.
Chickpeas are the perfect adder to bowl meals to add plant based protein! Here they're the star of the show in our Mediterranean couscous bowls, which take about 25 minutes to put together. Spiced chickpeas are nestled in a bowl with lemon parsley couscous, tomato, cucumber, and topped with tahini sauce.
Salads are natural for chickpea recipes, and this Greek orzo salad is a standout! The rice-shaped pasta is combined with chickpeas, red pepper, olives, feta cheese, and fresh mint and dill to make everyone's favorite side dish. A few more chickpea salads with a Mediterranean spin: Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Eggplant Salad.
Here's another chickpea soup recipe, dark and savory with the umami of porcini mushrooms and herbaceous sage. It's everything a good soup recipe should be: cozy, colorful, tasty, and nourishing. Serve with a chunk of artisan bread.
Here chickpeas (instead of chicken) add a boost of plant based protein to that classic American salad recipe: the Cobb! This bowl features hard boiled eggs, blue cheese crumbles, coconut bacon (yep! It's seriously good), and a tangy vinaigrette.
One of our top chickpea recipes of all time is this dark chocolate hummus! This unique spin on the classic dip features cocoa powder and maple syrup to make a chocolate-y dip. Serve with sliced green apples, strawberries or pretzels, and it's perfect for entertaining as a healthy sweet snack!
To bring protein to this vegetarian paella recipe, there are chickpeas hiding in this saffron-scented rice! Paella is a beautiful Spanish celebratory rice dish, and this one is chock full of savory veggies. It's perfect for date night and full of Spanish flavors!
Adding chickpeas to main dish salads is one of our favorite tricks. And this vegan Buddha bowl is a hearty and filling salad for dinner! It’s full of roasted and fresh veggies for texture and color contrasts: roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower, fresh beets and cabbage, and cooked chickpeas. Place them over a bed of greens and black rice, drizzle with lemon tahini sauce, and you’ve got a super satisfying dinner salad. For another way to eat roasted veggies with chickpeas, try our Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables.
And last but not least in our chickpea recipes: using chickpeas as a salad topping! Here this California Salad is made more filling with chickpeas, and it's topped with radishes, carrots, fresh dill, and a tasty avocado oil vinaigrette. It's the perfect side dish! For another salad that combines avocado and chickpeas, try our Avocado & Chickpea Salad.
Why eat canned chickpeas? This mighty legume is full of the good stuff. Here are a few reasons to love garbanzo beans:
Rich in plant based protein. 1 cup has 14.5 grams of protein, about 30% of your daily protein needs (source).
Excellent source of fiber. 1 cup also has 12.5 grams of fiber, about 50% of your daily need (source).
May help you manage your weight. Chickpeas are low calorie density, meaning they provide few calories relative to the nutrients they contain. The high protein and fiber also help to satiate the appetite and reduce calorie intake at meals. (source)
How to cook dry chickpeas
Is it better to cook chickpeas than use canned chickpeas? You can definitely use both! When we find time, we like cooking garbanzo beans from dry because the texture is a little firmer and the flavor a little better. However, we often use canned as well! Our favorite way to cook chickpeas is with our Instant Pot: the dry chickpeas cook in just 1 hour! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can use our Dutch oven method.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, smash the chickpeas with a fork.
Combine the chickpeas with the chopped celery and green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery seed. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on your chickpea brand and taste preferences, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Taste and salt until the flavor pops! If the salad is dry, add more mayonnaise (cooked chickpeas have a drier texture than canned).
Assemble the chickpea salad sandwich: If desired, spread the bread with hummus (this amps it up a bit but not required). Top the sandwich with lettuce or greens and chickpea spread.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.