Chickpeas (garbonzo beans) have become one of our favorite lunchtime ingredients. They add protein and heft to salads and are easy to find. I was trying for a while to keep a can or two on hand at all times, just so I could throw them into various dishes that needed a little something more, but we kept coming across a few problems.
For one thing, not all canned chickpeas are created equal. While Whole Foods has, in my opinion, the best and creamiest canned version, other brands are often mealy or almost crunchy and gritty. Not exactly a pleasure to eat.
The second problem was cost. While one can isn’t too bad, I’d have to buy at least four cans, probably more, in order to make a substantial base for our lunches. Once you start adding all of the fun ingredients on top of that, our little money saving lunches aren’t saving us quite so much money anymore.
I kept seeing things about how superior and incredibly easy cooking dried chickpeas was, so one day I decided to give it a go. I looked around to find the best and easiest version (Alton Brown, for the win!) and bought some dried chickpeas.
The results blew Josh and I away! We seriously had no idea that chickpeas could be so good. I’ll happily eat these by the spoonful with just a tiny sprinkle of sea salt, which I never in a million years would do with even the best canned version. Plus, they are CHEAP. As in, $1.49/pound for organic cheap. One pound of dried gets me the equivalent of 3-4 cans of chickpeas. Um, yes, we have a winner.
If I had more freezer space I’d portion them out into two cup servings and freeze the cooked beans, since they reheat perfectly. Then you still have most of the convenience of the canned ones.
The “recipe” could not be any easier.
- 1 lb dried chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
- 7 cups water (though I never actually measure it out)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Simply combine all the ingredients in your crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours. I tend to start tasting around the three and a half hour mark so that I can control how soft they become. I like them to still be a little firm for cold salads, but I’ll let them cook longer for something like hummus.
Great chickpea salad recipe to come on Friday!