Cheap Chickpeas: 14 Ways to Prepare This Frugal Staple

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When most people think of chickpeas, the first thing that comes to mind is hummus. After that, most people don’t pay them any heed. Those people are missing out!

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are so much more than just mere hummus (though hummus in and of itself has near limitless options and combinations). Not only can they be extremely versatile in how you prepare them, but they are also a powerhouse when it comes to getting proper nutrition. The fact that they are often low-cost and easy to find only makes them better.

What’s the deal with chickpeas?

Chickpeas, like many beans and legumes, are high in fiber. The average serving of 1 cup contains 12.5g of fiber, which helps to keep you full longer and as well as keeping things moving through your digestive system. 1 cup of cooked chickpeas also contains 14.5g of protein, 269 calories, and is a significant source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate(B9), vitamin B6 and calcium.

Chickpeas, superfood that they are, have a pretty low glycemic index (GI), which makes them great for helping to manage and regulate blood sugar levels, and may help to lower blood sugar spikes after meals. This is great for people who have insulin resistance, diabetes, or any condition where managing your blood sugar levels is important.

In some research, chickpeas and the nutrients they contain have been shown to aid in heart health, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and helping to lower and manage cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber that the little beans contain is also known to aid in digestive issues, such as IBS. Some preliminary research even highly suggests that eating chickpeas regularly in your diet may also lower the risk of cancer and improve brain functioning (though more research on these is still required.)

How to prep and cook dried chickpeas

People usually get chickpeas in one of 2 ways: dried or canned. I go with the canned, just because I find it a lot easier, less time-consuming, and while a little more expensive, still very affordable. That being said, cooking dried chickpeas is still fairly simple. There are three main methods: stovetop, crockpot, and instant pots. Before you get to the cooking, like many dry peans, presoaking is important.

Your dried chickpeas will be approximately triple in size once the cooking and soaking process has finished. Depending on what you intend to use the chickpeas for, you may want to cook them to a softer or harder consistency. Soft chickpeas are good for things like dips and spreads, while harder consistencies are great in soups, stews, casseroles, or for roasting.

The liquid from the soaking process is good to go down the drain, but I’d recommend keeping it from the cooking process, known as aquafaba, because it can be utilized in many great recipes (more on that further down).

How to presoak chickpeas

Before presoaking, it’s important to quickly look through the beans to ensure no small pebbles or beans of a different variety managed to sneak into the bag.

There are two main methods of presoaking chickpeas. The first, and what I most recommend, is an overnight soak with cold water. The chickpeas can be up to triple the size, so make sure they are covered in plenty of water. Put a lid on, and let sit for eight to ten hours.

You can do a quick soak method if you’re in more of a time pinch. For this, put the desired amount of chickpeas in a pot, cover completely with water, and simmer beans for 5 minutes. Once simmered, pull off the burner and let soak in the water for a full hour.

Once your chickpeas have been presoaked, strain out the liquid in either method. I like to give one more quick look to make sure I didn’t miss anything that shouldn’t be there. Then, they are ready to move on to the cooking process.

Time to get cooking

The best ratio for cooking chickpeas, no matter which method of cooking you choose, is 3 cups of clean water for every 1 cup of dried chickpeas.

While you’re cooking them, if you intend to save the water for aquafaba to use in other recipes, I recommend not putting anything else in the pot. If you’re just cooking it for the chickpeas themselves, many people enjoy adding in a clove or 2 of garlic and a pinch of salt.


If you are cooking on the stovetop, add the water and chickpeas to a pot, bring to a boil, lower heat to low, and simmer for 1-2 hours. The time varies based on a few factors, such as how tender you want your chickpeas and if you put a lid on the pot when it simmers. If you decide to put a lid on, make sure you leave a little space for the steam to escape. The lid will make them cook faster.

After cooking time is over, remove from heat and let them sit for 1 hour. Strain the liquid, which can be saved for aquafaba.


If the crockpot is your choice, and you’ve presoaked your beans, place 3 cups of water and 1 cup of dried beans in the crockpot. You can cook them on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.

After the chickpeas are cooked, turn off the crockpot and let the beans sit for 1 hour. Strain the liquid, which can be saved for aquafaba.


One nice thing about using an Instapot is that it allows you to skip the whole soaking portion of things if you decide to, which can easily save hours of time. For softer beans that have not been soaked, cook for 50 minutes on high pressure and allow for 15 minutes for pressure to release. For slightly harder beans that have not been soaked, cook for 45 minutes and allow 10 minutes for pressure to release.

If you have soaked your beans and still want to use your Instapot or pressure cooker, cook for 15 minutes on high pressure for a firm bean and 18 minutes for a softer, spreadable chickpea.

If you decide to use an Instapot, I recommend you check your user manual, as cooking and pressure release times may be between types and brands.

What the heck is aquafaba, and what can I use it for?

In short, aquafaba is the water that remains from cooking chickpeas (though you can use the water from a few other beans, too, with varying results). Once you’ve cooked your chickpeas, you can strain the water and set it in the fridge for 12 hours, and it will be ready to use. If you choose canned chickpeas, it’s ready to go fresh out of the can.

The consistency of aquafaba is very similar to that of egg whites, which is appropriate since it can so often replace full eggs or egg whites in everything from baked goods to meringues and mosses to dips and spreads like homemade mayonnaise.

Aquafaba started to gain popularity around 2015, when it started to appear in many vegan recipes and as an egg substitute for those who can’t eat eggs, like my sister, who has an allergy. When you use it because you already had chickpeas on the menu, it’s a little more budget-friendly, or even to change things up a bit. It’s an ingredient I definitely recommend experimenting with.

If using it as an egg substitute, 3 tbsp is equal to 1 full egg, and 2 tbsp is the equivalent of a single egg white.

What to make with aquafaba

  • Mayonaise
  • Homemade mayo-based salad dressing
  • Meringue (just whip with sugar, and it’s ready to be topped on that lemon pie!)
  • Chocolate mousse.
  • Replace in any baked good recipe that calls for eggs

How to use your chickpeas

Chickpeas themselves are great and versatile. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat them:

  • Roast chickpeas snack (these make for a great snack, and you can put any seasonings you’d like, or stick with a simple salt. Just spread on a pan in a single layer, coat in your seasoning of choice, and bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes.)
  • Salad topper (both cooked, or roasted)
  • Hummus
  • Casserole (check out the ultimate frugal casserole formula)
  • Soup (check out the ultimate frugal soup formula)
  • Rice or grain bowls
  • Chickpea burgers
  • Smashed on toast (think avocado toast style, with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe some crushed red chili peppers if you like a little kick!)
  • Burritos and wraps

How do you use chickpeas?

Are you a fan of chickpeas? What are some of your favorite ways to eat them? While I enjoy them on occasion, I never really ate them often (outside of my love of hummus). After researching and writing this article, though, I definitely intend to incorporate them more. The chickpea burgers sound especially delicious!

Have you ever made any fun or interesting dishes with chickpeas? Are there any favorites that I forgot to mention? Let’s discuss this in the comments!

About Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s, all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college-age students on their own for the first time with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her dog, Rhea. 

Check out her work on and where she writes about food, frugality, finances, and self-reliance, or her work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing.

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.

7 thoughts on “Cheap Chickpeas: 14 Ways to Prepare This Frugal Staple”

  1. My favorite meal that my mother-in-law used to make was chole with paratha (whole chickpeas cooked with Indian spices and eaten with unleavened Indian flat bread). My wife makes it too but it’s not quite as good.

  2. My favorite is a pasta sauce made with chickpeas. You saute garlic in olive oil, add fresh rosemary (this is heavy on the rosemary) and then add chickpeas, cook until warm. Then mash them – you can leave some whole if you’d like – and thin with pasta water. This may not sound like much, but the first time I tried it I had three servings! It’s delicious. I will link a similar recipe below.

  3. My parents were lacto ovo vegetarian. Mom would cook garbanzos with chicken bullion. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley on top as a garnish. Made a meal with a slice of homemade buttered bread and a salad.

    Occasionally she would cook the above then add egg noodles( they ate eggs and yogurt) and cook till ready to eat. It was good. I still like chicken bullion in simple boiled garbanzos.

    My other favorite is canned or cooked garbanzos drained and marinated in Italian salad dressing served on lettuce or added to a good mixed salad of greens, green onions or red onion, other veggies, chopped boiled egg, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, sliced radishes, grated sharp cheddar cheese and pickled beets for my plate. Cooked and cooled diced roasted chicken is a good addition. It’s a meal for me with or without the chicken.

    I like blended cooked garbanzos with a bit of oil, salt, red chili flakes, finely diced garlic, and fresh lemon juice to taste. It’s a good sandwich filling or a dip with pita chips. Also a good spread in a pita bread with a good mixed salad as a filling.

    Roasted garbanzos with a spicy or BBQ blend of seasoning make a good crunchy snack.

  4. I make a chick pea “tuna”.. You mash the chick peas or grind coarsely in a food processor then add red onion, mayo and pickle relish. This is my summer time sandwich go to. It’s good in a lettuce wrap also. You can also add any “egg ” salad spices and have it like egg salad. And, there are a ton of Indian food recipes w/chickpeas. There is a Facebook site, vegan richa, that has chick pea curries and such.

  5. Another option: saute garlic and onion in olive oil, then drain and add canned chickpeas. When everything is warmed, add spinach – fresh or frozen – and cook till all is combined. (If using fresh, you will need a lot of spinach as it cooks down.) This is a very tasty combination for dinner. I use salt and pepper, but curry spices would be good too.

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