Basic Chickpeas

21 Jan

basic chickpeas

Yes, yes, another dried bean recipe… this one’s actually even simpler than my past basic beans. But chickpeas (which also spend time under the pseudonym garbanzo beans) are an especially easy bean to cook up. They’re extra creamy when cooked from dried and don’t even need a whole lot of aromatics – I only added a hefty amount of garlic and some olive oil to my pot. Although in the past I’ve refrained from adding salt to beans before they’re cooked, due to various rumors about it negatively impacting the texture, I’ve now changed my stance. While I still don’t add salt during the cooking process, I’ve started soaking my dried beans in salted water overnight, which I’ve found adds extra flavor to the finished beans and even seems to ultimately improve the texture. And since I’m talking about general tips for cooking beans, it’s good to know that while aromatics (such as onion, garlic, fresh herbs, and spices) will only improve your beans, anything acidic (like citrus, tomatoes, or vinegar) needs to be added after the beans have softened or else they’ll stay hard for hours on end. Of course, no matter what, cooking up dried beans does require some patience, since I’ve yet to cook up a pot of beans in under two hours, even after overnight soaking. But there’s so little work involved that it really just means experiencing the comforting, savory aroma filling your kitchen while occasionally sneaking a taste to check the texture.

Basic Chickpeas
Yield: 6 – 7 cups cooked beans


  • 1 lb dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and soaked overnight in cold, salted water, then drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine 1 lb dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water, then drained with 6 cups water, and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in 4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced and 1 Tbsp olive oil, then lower heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and let simmer until the beans are softened and fully cooked, about 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Remove from heat, and add salt and pepper, to taste. Use the beans anywhere you would used canned chickpeas, and use the bean cooking liquid to thicken and flavor soups or stews or to thin purees.

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2 Responses to “Basic Chickpeas”

  1. Joseph JaJa January 21, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Try adding some lemon juice to your recipe which should enhance the flavor of the chickpeas.

    • Claire January 21, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Yes, some lemon juice at the end would probably be a good addition! You have to be careful not to add it before the beans have softened though because of the acidity.

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