The Chickpea Takeover

Adrienne Leonard by Unsplash

Words By Bethany Griffiths

Since turning vegan in October, chickpeas have become one of my most reliable food staples. Whether its curries, soups or an adventurous hummus, chickpeas can be used to make a variety of great dishes! Most everyday recipes, vegan or not, can be adapted to include chickpeas;they are a great source of protein that can be used as an alternative to meat.

Don’t just take my word for it though! Chickpeas have leaped onto the ‘trendy’ food scene in the last few years, and it looks like they’re here to stay – maybe even replacing everyone’s favourite (well, not for me at least) avocado?

Dragne Marius By Unsplash

With Veganuary growing in popularity this year, it’s not surprising that chickpeas are hot on trend right now. Sainsbury’s has even introduced its own Vegan Spicy Masala chickpea pizza! So, what is it about chickpeas that is making everyone fall in love?

Well, for starters they have been named as The European, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, Special Ambassador for Pulses – yeah, I’m not sure either. But what I can tell you is that chickpeas are a good source of fiber as well as iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K – all of which are great for bone growth! What is more, chickpeas (along with pulses in general) have a low carbon footprint and help to enrich the soil that they grow in.

With the growing interest in adopting a plant-based lifestyle, and with people beginning to think more about what they’re eating and the impact this has on the environment, it’s not surprising that chickpeas are taking over the food scene. Chickpeas are one of the easiest ways to replace meat and are a powerhouse of nutrients – who wouldn’t want to boost their diet and taste buds by making chickpeas a part of their everyday meals?

There are so many ways to make chickpeas work as a part of your diet. Chickpeas can be bought dried in bulk which you then have to let stand overnight in water, or simply ready to go in tins for as little as 40p! Once you’ve prepped your chickpeas you can add them to curries (I mix them with chopped tomatoes, spices and coconut milk for a cheap and creamy curry), casseroles, burritos, soups – the list is endless! You can also roast them with a little oil and some spices of your choice and add them to salads or jacket potatoes for a great protein boost!

Edgar Castrejon by Unsplash

Chickpeas are an easy way to mix up your meals – they’re great for the planet and your insides. It’s really no wonder that chickpeas are having such an impact on our food scene! If you’ve never tried chickpeas before, don’t be afraid to experiment. Trying chickpeas and other pulses can be daunting, and before they really hit the internet food scene, I had no idea what to do with them! However, with the growing interest in veganism, the amount of chickpea recipes appearing on our screens and online is increasing. It’s never been easier to incorporate these pulses into your balanced lifestyle, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting until you find out what works for you! Top tip: try adding a little bicarbonate of soda to your chickpeas to make them softer when cooking in soups and curries – a life saver to say the least.

So, whatever your diet: vegan, vegetarian or meat-eater, there’s always room to start incorporating chickpeas!