10 Delicious Ways to Turn a Can of Chickpeas into a Meal

Marygrace Taylor

Published on September 22nd, 2016

Why should you make chickpeas a mainstay of your diet? Let us count the ways. For starters, the beans are packed with muscle-building protein and belly-filling fiber. They’re also inexpensive, easy on the environment, and super simple to prep. (Just open up the can, drain, rinse, and you’re good!)

Best of all, they’re creamy and all-around delicious. But aside from just tossing chickpeas in a salad or pureeing them to make hummus, how else can you eat them?

Turns out, creative—and tasty!—uses for chickpeas abound. Here are 10 easy ways to turn them into a mouthwatering breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

  1. Toss them with pesto.
    Instead of throwing chickpeas into a leafy green salad, make the beans the main event. Toss cooked chickpeas with basil pesto (homemade is great, but store-bought works, too), crunchy diced red onion, toasted pine nuts, and a handful of your favorite cheese, like Mother Thyme. It takes about two minutes, but all that fiber and protein will keep you full for hours.
  2. Stuff them into a sweet potato.
    A plain baked sweet potato is a side dish. But a sweet potato filled with chickpeas and other yummy ingredients? That’s a meal. Try topping yours with a combo of chickpeas, goat cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro like Renee Kemps. Or how about chickpeas, greek yogurt, and steamed kale? You could even do a sweet variation with chickpeas, grated apple, and a dusting of cinnamon.
  3. Use them in a spicy curry.
    Chana masala, the Indian chickpea and tomato curry, is flavorful, filling, and delicious. But you can toss cooked chickpeas into almost any type of curry in place of the usual chicken, fish, or tofu. This coconut chickpea curry from Jessica in the Kitchen is creamy, fragrant, and totally satisfying. Spooned over brown rice or quinoa, it’s a meal in a bowl.
  4. Make a surprising sandwich filling.
    Smash up some chickpeas, mix in some mayo, and fold in a few flavorings—like chopped onion, carrot, celery, or even mashed avocado. And viola! You have a crazy simple, crazy tasty salad that’s perfect for tucking into a whole wheat bun, pita, or tortilla. Need more to go on? Try this mouthwatering recipe from Edible Perspective.
  5. Puree them for soup.
    Adding chickpeas to a pureed vegetable soup gives a richer, more velvety texture—and makes the soup filling enough for lunch or dinner. Try this creamy chickpea and cauliflower soup from The Floating Kitchen, which gets an extra flavor boost from fresh garlic, ground cumin, and paprika.
  6. Use them as the base for veggie burgers.
    Chickpeas add a hearty texture—and a welcome shot of protein—to meatless burgers. Try making patties with mashed chickpeas, shredded sweet potato, egg, and your favorite spices, then topping them with a tangy tahini-yogurt sauce, like this recipe from The Sugar Hit.
  7. Or as a base for veggie meatballs.
    If you can use chickpeas to make veggie burgers, you can use them to make veggie meatballs, too. These hearty vegan meatballs from the Minimalist Baker, combined mashed chickpeas with Italian-inspired flavors like sun-dried tomato, fresh basil, and plenty of garlic. Eat them over pasta, or stuff them into a crust roll to make a chickpea meatball sub.
  8. Pile them onto a pizza.
    Sure, it might not be traditional. But it definitely is delicious. Creamy, high-protein chickpeas make a satisfying alternative to the usual cheese, especially when paired with other Mediterranean ingredients. Try topping your pie with tomato sauce, chickpeas, olives, artichoke hearts, and sliced red onion, like The Simple Veganista.
  9. Use them in a savory yogurt bowl.
    Sauté chickpeas in olive oil, garlic, and your favorite chopped fresh herbs (like basil and dill). Then, spoon the mixture over bowls of creamy yogurt, like Local Haven. Enjoy alongside a piece of crusty whole grain bread or warm pita, and you’ve got a satisfying meal in 10 minutes flat.
  10. Make chickpea tacos.
    Why should black beans get all the Tex-Mex fun? Toss chickpeas with cumin and chili powder, roast them until crispy, then stuff them into tortillas and pile on your favorite toppings. Dishing Out Health uses roasted cauliflower and spicy mango salsa, which is pretty darn delicious.