How to Cook Garbanzo Beans
Until this past week, I had never cooked dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans before. It’s funny how something so small can be so intimidating, but I guess you stick with what you know until you realize what you are missing. Who knew cooking beans was so similar to having children?!
Then I read this line in my trusty Bean Bible (Amazon), “Dry chickpeas are the most challenging bean to cook.” What’s that, a challenge? It’s on. Determined, I filled a small bag of dried beans in WinCo’s bulk section.
I came home and continued reading, “Check that your chickpeas come from a source that sells through its stock quickly. Shriveled, dried-out chickpeas will never get soft, no matter how long you cook them.” Hmmm. My beans were definitely on the shriveled end of the spectrum. I stubbornly pushed on, turning to the official Soaking Chart for Dried Legumes. Let’s see… whole chickpeas… 10 hours?! My resolve started to waver, but I stuck with it.
And guess what? I am happy to report that I successfully soaked and cooked my shriveled little chickpeas. It was neither difficult, nor a disaster. And I’m not kidding when I say that as they were cooling on the counter, I started popping them in my mouth like candy. They were delicious; the flavor and texture were so superior to any slimy bean I had ever dumped out of a can.
Don’t take my word for it. Try this bean for yourself! The steps are the same ones we covered yesterday. I’ll run through them one more time. Repetition is the mother of learning, right?
Cooking Dried Garbanzo (or other) Beans using the Speed Soak Method
- Sort 2-3 cups of beans on a rimmed baking sheet and rinse the beans in the cold water.
- I didn’t want to soak these overnight so I switched to the Speed Soaking Method. Brilliant. You can do this with any bean to speed up the soaking time. Here’s how it works: Place the beans in a pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour. Drain the water and rinse the beans.
- Dump the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Let simmer on medium heat, covered, for an hour or until tender. The beans should be soft but slightly firm. They will cook a bit more as they cool. You don’t want them to be so soft they are mushy or falling apart.
- Remove from the heat and stir in salt, if desired. Let the beans cool in the water, absorbing the salt as they cool.
- After half an hour or so, drain the beans and cool completely. Use them immediately or store in the fridge for several days, the freezer for several months.
I froze my cooked garbanzo beans in flat 1.5-cup portions. I will just pop them out of the freezer as needed for salads, hummus, falafel, or soup. Start to finish, this little cooking experiment took about 2.5 hours of very little effort.
Again, the benefits of cooking your own beans from scratch are totally worth the time involved. They are cheap, tasty, and healthy. And that’s a winning combination in my book.
One of my favorite things to make with garbanzo beans is hummus. For a concoction so simple: garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt… it’s surprisingly addicting. And the best part is, you don’t even have to feel guilty about polishing off an entire container in one sitting. Well, at least my husband and I never do.
The one ingredient that most of us probably don’t have taking up space on our pantry shelves is tahini. It’s just a paste made of pureed sesame seeds. Most 15 ounce jars of tahini cost between $4-$6, but at 1-2 tablespoons per batch of hummus, a little bit goes a long way so it’s a relatively economical ingredient. In most grocery stores it can be found in the organic/natural food section or the peanut butter aisle.
Buying hummus at the grocery store will run you around $3-$5/10 oz. container. I’ve often used coupons for hummus. Combined with a sale, this isn’t a bad deal. We’re perfectly happy with the flavor & quality. However, like many things, making a batch of hummus in your own kitchen is easy and economical.
adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe
1 (14.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained (reserve liquid) or 1 3/4 c. cooked garbanzo beans
1 T. tahini sesame paste
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. crushed pepper flakes
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, finely crushed or 3-4 cloves Roasted Garlic*
reserved liquid or water
salt, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
- Combine beans, tahini, oil, pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor bowl or blender; pulse to combine.
- Slowly add enough of the reserved liquid or water (or even more olive oil), pulsing and checking occasionally, to achieve the desired smooth consistency.
- Transfer to a smaller bowl and serve with vegetables, pita bread or crackers. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.
* I found this is one of the best places to use roasted garlic. The first time I tried making hummus, I used a clove of fresh garlic. It overpowered the dish, adding a bitter bite. Even when I minced it as finely as possible, it was too strong. We love garlic so that’s saying a lot. Try it either way, but by using roasted garlic, you’ll definitely get a more mellow, sweet garlic flavor. Learn how to roast garlic here.
Hummus is a delicious low-fat alternative to mayonnaise in sandwiches or wraps or served as an appetizer or snack. I even serve it for dinner with pita bread, vegetables, and sometimes grilled meat.
Leave a comment, question, or tip! Oh, and has anyone ever frozen hummus before? I’ve read it can be done, but I am skeptical it holds well. Opinions?
I absolutely love my Progressive International Lemon Squeezer. I also own a fancy juicer attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, but it rarely sees the light of day. This lemon squeezer, on the other hand, gets pulled out several times a week. I use it for both lemons and limes; it quickly presses out fresh juice, while separating the pulp and seeds for any recipe that calls for a small amount of fresh citrus juice. Amazon carries this lemon squeezer for under $10!
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