It's one of the greatest debates among foodies: is there a difference between garbanzo beans vs. chickpeas? Whether you grind them up for hummus or roast them in the oven, it's important to know the difference between these two legumes before you buy them.
The short answer is there is no difference between them. Garbanzo beans and chickpeas are simply two different names for the same legume. However, there are two main types of chickpeas called kabuli and desi.
Keep reading to find out why chickpeas are sometimes called garbanzo beans and some of the best ways to eat them.
Garbanzo Beans vs Chickpeas: What Is the Difference?
Chickpeas are a popular legume that is a staple in many diets, especially in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Depending on where you shop, you might see similar-looking legumes labeled as garbanzo beans.
Whether they’re called chickpeas or garbanzo beans, there’s no difference between them. Even though there are two varieties of chickpeas, they both come from the same plant. However, when chickpeas are labeled as garbanzo beans, they’re usually referring to the kabuli type.
Chickpeas come in dried or canned form. Sometimes there may be a variation in the nutritional values between dried or canned chickpeas, which is likely due to added ingredients. For example, when you purchase canned chickpeas, they’re already cooked but there may contain added sodium.
It may seem confusing, but the name is the only difference between chickpeas and garbanzo beans. Both are considered pulses, or edible seeds that come from a legume. You can choose to call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, but either way they’re a delicious and healthy legume to add to your weekly meals.
What Are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are a type of legume that grows in over 50 countries. These legumes have been around for thousands of years and were likely one of the first used by ancient civilizations. Chickpeas are a great pantry staple and have a variety of uses.
Chickpea itself comes from the Latin word “cicer arietinum,” which is also the name of the plant chickpeas come from. This plant is part of the Fabaceae family and chickpeas are an essential part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
There are many health benefits to chickpeas. Although they’re often a staple in plant-based diets, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy the benefits of chickpeas. They’re a good source of protein and fiber to include in salads, soups, and stews. You can typically purchase chickpeas dried or canned. The canned version is already cooked and soaked in water.
As an added bonus, the liquid that comes from boiling the chickpeas, known as aquafaba, can be used as an alternative to egg whites. For those who have eat a plant-based diet or have dietary restrictions, aquafaba can be used to make meringue or even vegan whipped cream.
Why Are Chickpeas Called Garbanzo Beans?
If chickpeas and garbanzo beans describe the same legume, why are there two different names? While the name chickpea comes from the Latin name for the chickpea plant, the name garbanzo bean comes from the Spanish term for chickpea. Garbanzo comes from the words “garau” and “antzu,” which translates to dry seed.
The fact that they’re often called garbanzo beans can cause some confusion about what chickpeas are. Technically, a chickpea is considered a pulse. Pulses are seeds that come from legume plants and the three types of pulses are beans, lentils, and peas.
Considering the conflicting names of chickpea and garbanzo bean, there has also been some confusion over whether a chickpea is actually a pea or a bean. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a chickpea is classified as a pea.
Can You Substitute Garbanzo Beans for Chickpeas?
Depending on where you purchase them from, these legumes will be labeled as garbanzo beans or chickpeas. No matter what the label says, chickpeas and garbanzo beans aren’t any different.
Since garbanzo beans and chickpeas are the same food, you can always use them interchangeably. There are two different types of chickpeas: kabuli and desi. The kabuli chickpea is lighter in color and is the most common type you see in North American stores. On the other hand, the desi has a darker exterior and is more common in the Middle East.
Nutritional Values of Garbanzo Beans vs Chickpeas
How Do You Cook Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas?
Now that you know the difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas, what should you do with them? There are numerous ways to eat garbanzo beans and chickpeas or include them in your recipes at home. Generally, you can purchase either dried or canned chickpeas.
Dried chickpeas have to be cooked before eating while canned chickpeas are ready to use. If you purchase the dried version, you can cook them on the stove or use another cooking method like a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Prior to cooking the beans, you will need to soak them. The soaking process makes the peas softer and often makes them easier to digest as well. You can either soak them in cool water overnight or soak them in hot water for a faster method. If you do cook them in a slow cooker or Crock Pot, you don’t have to worry about soaking them first.
There’s always the option of purchasing canned chickpeas if you need a quick meal. Canned chickpeas will definitely work well when you’re in a hurry, but you don’t have any control over the texture like you do when you cook them yourself.
What Recipes Call for Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are a great item to keep on hand since they have many nutritional benefits and you can use them in a variety of recipes. Some of the most popular recipes that include these legumes are:
- Soups and stews
Additionally, if you’re looking for a healthy snack that’s simple to make, try roasted chickpeas. To make roasted chickpeas, all you have to do is season your cooked chickpeas and pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
You can turn roasted chickpeas into a salty and savory snack or even a sweet snack by adding some cinnamon and honey or maple syrup.
Health Benefits of Garbanzo Beans and Chickpeas
Aside from the versatility and yummy taste of chickpeas, their health benefits are another reason to use them on a regular basis. Like most pulses, chickpeas are chock full of nutrients such as protein, fiber, iron, and zinc. They’re also an excellent source of manganese and folate.
Their high-protein content makes chickpeas an exceptional choice for a variety of meals. Just one cup of chickpeas provides almost 15 grams of protein. The combination of protein and fiber in chickpeas can also help you feel full longer.
High-protein foods like chickpeas are a great meal for those who are trying to lose weight. Some studies have shown that starting a high-protein diet can contribute to weight loss by reducing your overall appetite.
The nutrients in chickpeas can also help support blood sugar regulation. Chickpeas have a low glycemic index compared to other foods, and the high fiber and protein content may also keep your blood sugar from spiking.
Despite the two different names, garbanzo beans and chickpeas are actually describing the same food. The name garbanzo beans come from the Spanish name for chickpeas, while chickpea comes from the Latin name of the chickpea plant.
Chickpeas come in dried or canned form and they’re a simple way to add extra fiber and protein to your diet. There are numerous ways to eat chickpeas from making homemade hummus to adding them to salads, stews, and soups. No matter how you choose to use them, they have plenty of health benefits and you can even save the liquid you boil them in to create meringue or whipped cream.
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, drained
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, scraping sides often.
2. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 3 1/2 cups.