Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, chana, ceci, or hummus. These small, round, tan beans are very popular in the entire Mediterranean basin, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. If eating chickpeas cause gas or other digestive issues, the solution may be sprouting them.
Nutritional Benefits and Side Effects
Chickpeas have a flavor and density that can be rich, creamy, nutty, and very substantial in a wide variety of recipes. As with most legumes, chickpeas are rich in protein, folate, zinc, and potassium.
As a legume, chickpeas also contain “anti-nutrients” that are designed by nature to protect them. One is a natural toxin called lectin; the other is the enzyme inhibitor phytic acid. Both of these substances can make beans tough to digest. They can trigger gas, difficulty with mineral absorption, and possible calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D depletion.
Make Chickpeas Easier to Eat
Soaking and sprouting beans help to neutralize phytic acid and lectins while enhancing the amino acid, vitamin, and protein content. It may not be a perfect solution for everyone. Whether or not this trick allows you to eat beans should ultimately be determined by how you feel.
Chickpeas are very easy to sprout, and you can do it without any special equipment. For many people who have difficulty digesting them, this can be a game-changer. Sprouted chickpeas are delicious when used to make hummus, roasted chickpeas, soups, and stews. They are also a tasty raw snack as long as you chew them very slowly and very well.
How to Sprout Chickpeas
To sprout chickpeas, all you need is chickpeas, water, and time (about three to five days). Consider using organic chickpeas and keep in mind that 1/2 cup dry beans will result in about 2 cups of the sprouted beans.
Decide how long you want to extend the sprouting process. For cooking purposes, including stewing or roasting, a short-sprouted garbanzo makes sense. For eating raw in salads or for raw hummus a longer sprout is often preferred.
- Thoroughly wash 1/2 cup chickpeas before soaking.
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in at least double the amount of water. This re-hydrates them and starts to “wake” them up.
- In the morning drain, the garbanzos in a stainless steel colander and rinse them thoroughly.
- Spread the chickpeas evenly across the bottom of the colander. Place the colander over a bowl and cover it with a cotton dishtowel. This keeps air flowing while protecting the chickpeas from fruit flies or other insects.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas at least two to three times a day. Rinse more frequently in especially hot weather.
- Repeat this process two to three times a day until the garbanzo beans have sprouted sufficiently. This will take around three days for short-sprouted chickpeas (for cooking), or around five days for the longer sprouts (for raw consumption).
- Once the chickpeas have sprouted to the desired degree, give them a final thorough rinse and drain well. Any skins that have come loose can be picked out, but they don’t impact taste or digestibility. Let the chickpea sprouts air dry for a bit, then refrigerate them for up to a week.
- If you prefer your chickpeas cooked, steam them for ten minutes. You will have a more easily digested legume than with standard cooking.