Monday, May 25, 2009

Cooking Chickpeas

When I have time I prefer to soak all my dried beans overnight or longer. I have read many articles that discuss the health benefits of sprouting your beans (starting the germination process) and the corresponding increase in bioavailability of the nutrients in the beans due to this sprouting. Even if you don’t believe the beans are more healthful if they are soaked overnight it dramatically reduces the cooking time. I soaked my beans for 7 hours and they were fully cooked in 20 minutes.

I like to make a large batch of beans when I cook so that they can do double duty. If I don’t have anything planned for the extra beans immediately I put them in a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze them to use later.

Cooked Chickpeas
Makes a little more than 6 cups (equivalent to approximately 4 – 15 ounce cans)


2 cups of dried chickpeas
8 cups of cold water, to soak
8 additional cups of cold water, to cook


Spill the dried chickpeas onto a half sheet pan and look for any broken or discolored beans and discard those. I also check with pebbles or dirt while they are on the tray. Rinse the beans in a large colander and place a in a large container with a lid. Cover with 8 cups of water and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 7 or 8 hours.

After the beans have soaked drain them of their soaking liquid and rinse. Put the chickpeas into a heavy bottomed pan (I use a Le Creuset enameled dutch oven) and turn the heat to medium high. My beans were tender in 20 minutes. Your cooking time will depend on the age of your dried beans. I find if you buy the beans at a health food store you are more likely to get “freshly dried” beans that cook much quicker. Mine were so fresh they had begun to sprout tails after 7 hours.

Drain the beans of the cooking liquid (reserving liquid if you are making hummus) and allow beans to cool.


Cooking your own chickpea from dried is so much cheaper than canned beans. I paid $1.89 for the last pound of organic chickpeas I purchased. (a little under 12 cents an ounce) It takes about 11 ounces of dried chickpeas to make 2 cups or 6 cups of cooked chickpeas. Somehow I don't think I could buy 4 cans of organic chickpeas for $1.30. The canned beans I measured have ranged from 1-1/2 to 1-2/3 cups of drained beans in a 15 ounce can.

I also like that my chickpeas have no added salt. It is also nice to know they have no preservatives, and that I can cook them to the exact level of tenderness that I desire.

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