Chickpeas vs. Chickpeas. Garbanzo Beans: Are They Different?

Beans and legumes are pantry staples with an array of culinary uses and health benefits.

Of the multiple types of legumes, chickpeas are one of the more popular varieties. In the United States, both “chickpeas” and “garbanzo beans” can be found on grocery store shelves (1).

But are chickpeas the same as garbanzo beans? This article will explain the difference between chickpeas and garbanzo beans and discuss ways to use these delicious legumes.

In short, no. There isn’t a difference between chickpeas and garbanzo beans.

However, understanding the varieties of chickpeas helps to explain the addition of the term “garbanzo bean.”

Chickpea classification

Chickpeas are a type of legume, the family of plants that also includes peanuts, soybeans, lentils, and peas. Legumes have edible seeds that grow in pods.

Within the legume family are two categories: oilseed and non-oilseed legumes. The non-oilseed legumes include a sub-category called “pulses,” and chickpeas fall into that sub-category (2).

Chickpea varieties

Chickpeas are a type of pulse and can further be split into two main types: desi and kabuli (3).

The desi chickpea is a smaller seed with a thick outer coating that must be removed before eating. These types of chickpeas have multiple color varieties, including brown, black, green, and yellow (4).

Kabuli chickpeas are larger, have a thin outer coating, and are lighter in color.

The desi and kabuli Chickpea types are the most prevalent on store shelves, but there are multiple wild chickpea relatives currently being studied for crop diversity purposes (5).

When buying chickpeas in your local grocery store, it’s most likely that you’ll purchase a desi or kabuli chickpea variety.

When are chickpeas called garbanzo beans?

In the United States, kabuli chickpeas are often labeled as garbanzo beans. However, the name difference is not indicative of a functional difference in the plant.

All garbanzo beans are considered to be chickpeas. However, it’s most common that those labeled as “garbanzo beans” are the kabuli variety of chickpea.

Summary

Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are interchangeable names that refer to the same variety of the chickpea known as the kabuli chickpea.

Chickpeas are a versatile ingredient with a variety of culinary uses. Their culinary application and nutrient composition — including that fact that they’re a great source of protein and fiber — makes them ideal for use in recipes as a plant-based protein.

Chickpeas are common in Mediterranean, South Asian, and Middle Eastern recipes, such as hummus, falafel, and some curry dishes (1, 6).

Non-traditional culinary uses for chickpeas have become popular, too. Some food manufacturers turn to chickpeas as a gluten-free flour substitute and, in some cases, as an egg substitute (made from the liquid of canned chickpeas) (7, 8).

Cooking at home with chickpeas

For the home cook, chickpeas are a pantry staple that are available in both dried and canned preparations. This legume can be eaten boiled or roasted and can also be ground into a flour for use in recipes.

Canned chickpeas can be found in both regular and low sodium varieties and typically require minimal prep before use.

Unlike canned chickpeas, the dried variety requires additional planning and preparation. You’ll need to soak them in water, drain them, and heat them to cook until soft.

However, dried chickpeas may be a good choice if you need to limit your sodium intake because canned beans often contain extra salt.

Chickpea flour is also available for home cooks for use in baked products as a gluten-free flour substitute.

It’s the base for many gluten-free chickpea pastas and can add a boost of fiber and protein to recipes compared with traditional flours.

Recipes featuring chickpeas

Chickpeas can be used in multiple recipes, including:

  • soups, chili, stews
  • bean-based burgers
  • vegetarian meatballs
  • hummus and other dips
  • baked goods like brownies and cookies
  • sauces and curries
  • salads made with greens or pasta
  • snacks like roasted chickpeas

Summary

Chickpeas are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many recipes, including salads, soups, sauces, and dips. You can purchase them dried or canned and use either variety in your recipes.

Does it matter whether you buy chickpeas or garbanzo beans?

No, chickpeas and garbanzo beans can be used interchangeably. They are the same type of chickpea.

Can you use chickpeas interchangeably in a recipe?

Yes, chickpeas can be used interchangeably in recipes no matter the type.

If you purchase canned chickpeas, you’ll likely want to drain and rinse them before using in a recipe unless the instructions indicate otherwise. Dried chickpeas will require additional prep by soaking and cooking prior to use in recipes.

Are there differences in nutrients between chickpeas and garbanzo beans?

No, chickpeas and garbanzo beans do not have a nutritional difference, as they are the same type of legume.

Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, these versatile legumes are a convenient pantry staple that can be used as a plant-based protein. They can also add fiber and other essential nutrients to your favorite recipes.

You may want to buy dried chickpeas if you don’t mind the extra time required to cook the legume before eating. Otherwise, canned chickpeas offer a quick and easy way to add protein and fiber to your recipe.

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