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Chickpeas’ Nutritional Properties and Health Benefits

Karen Alexander, Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

January 14, 2020

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a member of the legume, pea, and pulse family. Chickpeas are used extensively in many different cuisines, including Mediterranean, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Western and Southwestern American, Spanish, and Italian.

There are many ways to prepare chickpeas.

  • cooked and eaten cold in salads
  • cooked in stews and soups
  • ground into a flour called gram flour
  • fermented to make an alcoholic drink
  • stirred into a batter and baked
  • cooked and ground to make hummus
  • roasted, spiced, and eaten as a snack
  • roasted and ground chickpeas used as a caffeine-free alternative to coffee

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Several studies show that eating chickpeas can have many health benefits. They include:

  • weight control
  • improved blood glucose
  • improved insulin response
  • improved LDL control
  • improved bowel health
  • reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • reduced risk of cancer

In addition to its many health benefits, chickpeas are also good source of copper, folate, zinc, vitamin A, and iron. Chickpeas phytonutrients include phytic acid, sterols, tannins, carotenoids, and isoflavones. I recommend cooking chickpeas from scratch, but if you can’t do it, try organic canned chickpeas. Most organic brands are BPA free and they have very minimal sodium added.

Egg White Alternative

Aquafaba is the liquid that results from cooking chickpeas. You can make it from scratch or buy it in the can. Aquafaba can be used as an alternative for eggs if you have an egg white allergy or are sensitive to baked goods. The starchy liquid is a great binder and can be whipped or created into a foam.

*Note, use cream of tartar when whipping the aquafaba.


  • 1 tablespoon of aquafaba = 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 one whole egg

The recipe of the week: Hummus


  • 1 can (15.5oz) no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste, found in either the ethnic section or at times near the peanut butter)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp paprika


Place chickpeas and garlic in a food processor, pulse several times until chopped. Add all remaining ingredients, pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Adjust consistency by adding either water, lemon juice, or olive oil. Serve with fresh vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and sugar snap peas.

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