Get inspired to cook up delicious, healthy, 100% plant-based (vegan) recipes, from salads to entrees to desserts, with the versatile chickpea. I’m sharing ten of my all-time favorite recipes today!
Chickpeas are one of my absolute favorite plant-based protein sources. Just one cup of this fiber-packed pulse provides you with nearly a third of your daily protein needs. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are also full of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and selenium, nutrients that can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and hypertension. These versatile plant foods are a great choice for a balanced meal, as they contain both protein and slow-digesting carbs. They have a lower glycemic index than other starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, meaning chickpeas won’t lead to a spike in your blood glucose levels.
There are just so many ways to enjoy chickpeas, ranging from luscious salads, to warming stews and curries, to vibrant hummus; you can even transform this marvelous pulse into healthy and delicious desserts! There is really no limit to the dishes you can create with chickpeas, but today I am sharing ten of my favorite recipes that incorporate this splendid ingredient. Remember to stock your pantry with canned chickpeas, and even try dried chickpeas for a different texture.
Top 10 Plant-Based Chickpea Recipes
I just love putting a creative spin on classic hummus. Here’s a great example: this beautiful, flavorful pistachio hummus. It’s the perfect plant-powered dip or spread for sandwiches, veggies, and pita bread, or as a side with salads, grain dishes, or savory entrees. In fact, you can eat it with any meal or snack for heart health benefits, thanks to those healthy fats from olive oil, tahini and pistachios, as well as fiber and other antioxidant nutrients.
The contrast of green, verdant colors and sunny, golden shades—as well as vibrant flavors and textures—of this easy plant-based salad really shine. Based on cooked brown rice, and the Mediterranean ingredients chickpeas, yellow bell pepper, leeks, artichokes, basil, and pistachios, this filling salad has intriguing tastes and health benefits. A touch of healthy fats, lemon juice and herbs provides for a delicious, light vinaigrette. Rich in fiber, plant protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, this offers a great nutrition punch to your day.
This hearty recipe calls upon farro—an ancient wheat variety from Italy, chickpeas—one of the first recorded plant foods cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean, crisp green beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and bell pepper. Fresh herbs, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil create a vibrant vinaigrette for this rustic, hearty dish, which is perfect as a one-dish meal, or served as a side-dish or salad for your entree.
Here’s a fun, hearty twist on a classic tabbouleh. Whip up this recipe the next time you cook Middle Eastern food, such as falafels, hummus, or grilled eggplant. Or even serve it as a rustic side dish for veggie-burgers or vegetable soup. Make it gluten-free by substituting a gluten-free grain.
Flavored with sea vegetables and fermented pickles, this chickpea-based sandwich filling is a perfect plant-powered replacement for tuna salad in sandwiches and green salads. Rich in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients, this chickpea sea-salad also provides a helping of healthy bacteria, compliments of the fermented pickles—they possess live bacteria and are increasingly available in natural food stores. This is really one of my favorite recipes from my book Plant-Powered for Life.
With the Mediterranean flavors of chickpeas, ancient grains, artichokes, olives, tomatoes, and herbs, this recipe is powerful in flavor, and packed with important nutrients, such as plant protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Whip it up for a one-dish meal, and pack up the leftovers for work the next day.
Turn to an Instant Pot to make this classic comfort dish in minutes. This 100% plant-based (vegan) Instant Pot Chickpea Curry pays tribute to the vibrantly flavored, Indian classic comfort food, Chana Masala. And it’s easy to make this rustic, protein-packed dish at home too with a few simple ingredients—chickpeas, canned tomatoes, spices, and cooked whole grains. Rich in flavor and nutrition, this is a simple way to get dinner on the table in minutes, thanks to the brilliance of the Instant Pot.
There’s nothing quite like a meal bowl, filled with the goodness of whole grains, pulses, and roasted vegetables. The flavors of Morocco—spice, lemons, and olives—shine through in this easy, nutritious Moroccan Chickpea Sorghum Bowl. It’s perfect for meal prep—prepare this recipe and pack it up for 4 healthy meals all week long. Or serve it for your next family meal as a one-dish wonder.
Hummus is a staple in my plant-powered kitchen—you will always find it in my refrigerator. And you can use it for so much more than a simple dip or spread. Hummus can be an ingredient in dishes. I turned to a spicy hummus to form the creamy basis of these spring fresh, easy veggie tacos. You can make them into a great snack or turn these tacos into a meal with a serving of fabulous rice and beans on the side.
Spurred on by a jar of really good peanut butter, I was inspired to include one of the best food love affairs of all time—peanut butter and chocolate—in a healthy vegan bar you can feel really good about enjoying. You’ll never guess that these moist Peanut Butter Chocolate Chickpea Bars have a whole can of chickpeas in them; even the liquid (aquafaba) is used to replace eggs in this bar.
For more chickpea recipes, check out these other favorites:
Recipe and Images by Sharon Palmer
Edited by Ally Mirin, Dietetic Intern
Image: Creamy Chickpea Curry, Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
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