Preparing Dried Chickpeas

October 7, 2010 8:00 am

Mary Papoulias-Platis is the co-owner of and executive chef at the Greek Gourmet, a family owned and operated concession and catering business, in San Diego since 1974. She teaches cooking classes and writes at about Greek cuisine — with a California twist.

Today she shares her technique for preparing chickpeas from the dried beans instead of getting them out of a can.

If you just discovered October: Unprocessed, go here to find out more and take the pledge. Don’t worry if you missed the start date! You can start your 30 days today, or simply join in for the rest of the month.

Dried Chickpeas
Chickpeas, often known as garbanzo beans, are a round-shaped legume with a light brown color. They have a firm texture, a light brown color and a mild nut-like flavor. They can be found cooked and ready-to-eat in a can, or dried, uncooked, in packages or bins at your local market.

Chickpeas are featured prominently in the Middle Eastern cuisine; they can be transformed into many healthy and nutritious dishes such as hummus, falafel, and soups.

Pulses, the category they fall under, are a great pantry staple, lasting up to six months in an airtight container. They are an inexpensive source of protein, making them a popular bean. In addition to protein they are a great source of fiber, iron, vitamin B and C, calcium — and may help in lowering one’s cholesterol.

There are many reasons for making chickpeas “from scratch.”  First is the unique flavor and texture you get that you would not get from the can. Home-cooked chickpeas have a soft outside skin with a creamy center inside. When you do open a can, you get that slimy juice that you must rinse and drain — and many times the chickpeas are mushy.

You also have the ability to add as much or as little salt as your diet requires.

A pound of raw, dried chickpeas costs about $0.79. Canned chickpeas run from $0.99 to $2.99 a can. Buying them from a bin and cooking them yourself is much more cost effective in the long run!

However, dried chickpeas need to soak overnight, so you do need to plan ahead.  Once they are cooked, you may freeze them in smaller batches to be added later to your salads and soups.

Chickpeas “Rivithia”

1 pound dried Chickpeas
1/2 Onion
1 Bay Leaf
2 Whole Garlic Cloves, peeled
1 Celery Stalk
1 Carrot, peeled
2-3 Sprigs of Thyme, Rosemary, and/or Parsley, tied in a bundle with string
2 tsp. Salt, to be added after cooking the beans

The night before: Place the beans and cold water in a pot and soak overnight.

The next day add all the ingredients to the pot, except the salt. Fill the pot with more water, up to 2 inches above the beans. Boil and reduce to a simmer.

Chickpeas, herbs, and vegetables in stock pot

Cook beans for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until soft. As they cook, skim the white foam off the top of the beans. Check by biting into them; when they have softened remove beans from the heat.

Cooked Chickpeas before Draining

Add salt and stir. Cool.

Remove all the vegetables and herbs. Drain.

Draining Chickpeas

They are now ready for your recipe!

Cooked, Herbed Chickpeas

Mary has just posted on her blog three new chickpea recipes, which she prepared this week for October: Unprocessed.

Greek Hummus with Pomegranate

Fresh Chickpea Stew with Fall Vegetables

Greek Chickpea Salad – Rivithia

A question from Andrew: We’re still trying to figure out exactly what the process is for producing canned garbanzo beans.  Are they simply soaked, then cooked in a similar manner, then canned?  Do they pass the “Kitchen Test?” If anybody has any insights, please leave a note in the comments.

11 Comments on "Preparing Dried Chickpeas"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    good timing on this entry as i just made hummus with canned garbanzo beans because i didn’t plan and soak them ahead of time. :P glad to hear they fare well in the freezer, so i can just make a bunch at once, rather than turn it all into hummus all at once.

  2. Comment left on:
    October 9, 2010 at 6:33 am

    I always use the canned ones to make hummos, salads, soups, although I use dried versions of other beans, like for chili, black bean dishes, etc. Never really thought about this. What would you consider more “unprocessed?” Canned or dried? Seems like they both require a similar degree of processing. (Serious question)

    • Comment left on:
      October 9, 2010 at 8:12 am
      Andrew says:

      Great question, Xan — one that I would love to know the answer to, also (but haven’t had a chance to start researching).

      I’m guessing that the dried beans are less processed — because they’re so much cheaper. They also take up less space (therefore being cheaper to sell in a store with limited shelf-space), and certainly cost less to package and ship. So I’d assume — but I may be wrong — that the dried beans undergo less processing.

      Also, if the canned beans go through the same drying step, but are then cooked and canned, my vote certainly goes with the dried beans. (Three good reasons: You can control the sodium, they cost less, and there’s less environmental impact).

      Any chickpea experts out there know the answer?

  3. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm
    Jessica says:

    I might be wrong, but I think dried beans are cheaper because they’re less convenient, not necessarily because they’re less processed.

    • Comment left on:
      October 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm
      Andrew says:

      Hmm… There’s such a huge price differential between a bag of dried beans and a can of ready-to-go beans. I’m sure the convenience-factor has a lot to do with it, but I’d imagine the cost to get the canned beans to the market must be much higher, too. Either way, dried beans are much-more cost-effective! :)

  4. Comment left on:
    October 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm
    Diane says:

    I do this at least once a week (I do love garbanzos), but I use a pressure cooker. It makes it even easier and faster. I can cook them in 22 minutes from top pressure – easy peasy.

  5. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm
    Joanne says:

    I cook my own dried garbanzo beans because I don’t like the texture of the canned beans, plus it’s cheaper. But I just cook it plain without all the vegetables & herbs. Is there a function for the veggies & herbs or is it just for flavor?

  6. Comment left on:
    October 20, 2010 at 10:09 am
    Mary Papoulias-Platis says:

    When I cook chickpeas, I add the aromatics to give the beans a slight earthy deeper taste for my dishes. Cooking them with just water is another way, and adding the spices you like later to your dish is fine too!
    I agree, I don’t like the gooey substance that comes with canned beans. Do rinse the beans after opening a can to rid of the gooey sauce.
    Many Organic companies, like Eden, just add water, making them not so processed.
    I do love the idea of a pressure-cooker for faster results!
    The slow cooker is another option.Put them on while at work or before bedtime, and your beans will be ready!

  7. .
    November 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    [...] Eating Rules . This is my second year taking the challenge , last year I wrote an article on Chick-peas. I have been tweeting about this new challenge, adding recipes to help others with their daily [...]

  8. Comment left on:
    January 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm
    marge201 says:

    Dried chickpeas all the way. I start with 1 1/4 pounds and soak for 24 hours sometimes, changing the soaking water a few times. Then put in my rice cooker, cover with just a little extra water because the moist environment doesn’t evaporate the water, set it to 4.5 hours and forget about it. It’ll switch to “keep warm” when done. I use the very flavorful cooking water in place of oil in thinning out my completely from scratch (and delicious!) hummus and freeze the rest in popsicle molds and use for marinades or sauteeing. It’s cheaper, no cans to recycle, no crap to rinse off, sodium-free, better for the pocketbook and the environment. As Michael Pollan in Food Rules says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” Buying beans in the bulk aisle doesn’t count as being made in a plant although I suppose they’re sorted in a plant but that’s okay with me.

  9. Comment left on:
    January 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    marge201 says:

    That is 1.25 pounds and sometimes 1.5 pounds of dried beans.

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