If you’re a person who loves eating chickpeas, buying them dried can save you a ton of money. Plus, if you make a big batch of cooked chickpeas to keep in your fridge, you’ll be able to toss them in salads, throw them in your morning smoothie, or add them to a batch of weeknight pasta after a long work day. Even if you're not down with this versatile legume yet, after learning how to cook them to perfection, you'll be ready to add them to any dish.
Bags of dried chickpeas can occasionally come with impurities, like small stones, which is a completely normal occurrence.
Before you get to cooking, sort through the chickpeas by hand, making sure to pluck out anything that looks like it doesn’t belong, and rinsing them well in a strainer underneath cold water.
There’s an old wives’ tale that says you should not salt your beans while cooking, as it will make it tough. In reality, the opposite is true. Salt helps the skin of beans to soften, resulting in a creamy, well-seasoned finished product. Cooking and soaking your chickpeas in unsalted water will result in tough skins which can cause indigestion, so don’t forget to salt your water!
Chickpeas, like all dried beans, need to be soaked before they’re cooked. The only exception to this rule: you can cook from dry if you’re using a pressure cooker, like an instant pot, or a slow cooker. Here’s a few methods of cooking dried chickpeas, depending on what equipment you have in your kitchen.
Fill your largest pot ⅔ of the way with water, then stir in a tablespoon of kosher or sea salt. Add the dried chickpeas, stir well, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let the chickpeas rehydrate for at least eight hours.
You can do this overnight, or in the morning before you leave for work.
Once the chickpeas have rehydrated, drain well, return to pot, and then fill with enough water to cover by two inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and drop the heat to a simmer. Cook until the chickpeas can be pierced with a fork, about two hours. Make sure to stir occasionally to ensure even cooking, and add more water as needed to make sure the chickpeas stay covered.
Put 1 pound of dried chickpeas in the slow cooker with a tablespoon of salt, then fill with water until it comes up 1” from the top. Cover and cook, without removing the lid, for 8 hours on low, or 4 on high. Test for tenderness — if you’d like your chickpeas to be even more tender, place the cover back on and cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour over high heat. Drain well.
Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
The ratio for pressure cooking is 1:3 — for every cup of dried chickpeas, add 3 cups of water. Add a hefty pinch of salt, stir, and seal. Cook on high pressure for one hour, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent the steam. Drain and rinse.
There’s so many quick and easy ways to make crazy flavorful and super nutritious meals when you’ve got chickpeas on hand. Toss a bowl of them with vinaigrette, herbs, a bits and bobs of whatever vegetables you may have in your fridge for a salad that will keep you full all day. Pop them in a food processor with garlic, lemon, tahini, salt and some water for hummus that’s a fraction of the cost of the stuff you buy in the store. Toss a few into your morning smoothie for an extra dose of fiber and protein that you won’t even taste. Throw them into a skillet with some oil, garlic and red chili flakes, then toss with pasta. Truthfully, the possibilities are endless, and their extreme versatility is a great reason to always keep big container of chickpeas in your fridge.