Somebody once told me that chickpea puns are fal-awful…
Chickpeas are one of the most well-known legumes. But did you know that chickpea flour is also just as useful? Chickpea flour is a great substitute for egg and can even work as a gluten-free flour for gluten-free recipes!
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) also known as garbanzo bean, gram, and Egyptian pea, is a common ingredient found in many cuisines. There are three kinds of chickpeas that are commonly used. The first is the common chickpea that we are well accustomed to, the second is Kabuli which is used in Mediterranean cuisine, and the last being the desi chickpea which is smaller and brown in color, used in Indian cuisine.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, India is the biggest producer of chickpeas, followed by Australia and Pakistan (Chickpeas, 2018).
Whoa? Chickpeas can be flour?
Yes, chickpeas can be used as a flour! Chickpea flour, also called Gram flour or besan, is a staple in India and is commonly found in the pantry. Chickpea flour can be made from either raw or roasted chickpeas.
It has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe. Chickpeas themselves have been apart of our diets for 7,500 years (Bell, 2014). In Italy chickpea flour is used to make a farinata, and in France it is used to make socca, both dishes are served as wedges as an accompaniment to a meal.
Chickpea flour is renowned for being a great egg substitute, working in the same way as flaxseed and chia seed. If you are trying to avoid eggs because they’re an allergen or because you’re adhering to a vegan diet, chickpea flour should be your new pantry addition!
Chickpea flour can easily be used as a thickener for sauces too, and it’s a much healthier alternative to corn starch. Just add a bit of chickpea flour while you’re reducing your sauce to give it a thicker consistency.
They’re so healthy for you!
Eating chickpeas provides 40% of our daily fiber intake. Fiber maintains the health of our bowels and has even been shown by some studies to decrease our risk of certain cancers! Our body is not capable of digesting fiber. This means insoluble fiber creates bulk in our intestines and helps to flush out toxins. While soluble fiber is absorbed in the intestine and attaches itself to “bad” cholesterol called LDL-C and excretes it.
Chickpeas are also a powerful plant-based protein source. The average person needs to be consuming 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Therefore, chickpea flour can provide a high source of protein for your daily needs.
Many of the biological roles of Manganese in the human body remain a mystery. What we do know is that Manganese activates enzymes which are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, cholesterol, and amino acids. When our body endogenously makes glucose, it requires a manganese containing enzyme called Pyruvate carboxylase (Manganese, 2019).
Manganese also detoxifies ammonia in the body. Manganese is found in the enzyme Arginase, which is a part of the urea cycle (Manganese, 2019). The urea cycle detoxifies ammonia, a molecule produced from the metabolism of amino acids.
The second mineral that chickpea flour is high in is magnesium. Magnesium is involved in bone formation, and it helps deposit calcium in our bones and is involved in activating Vitamin D in our kidneys
The following nutrient profiles is for 1 cup of chickpea flour (Self, n.d.).
Thiamin: 30% of our daily value
Folate: 101% of our daily value
Did you know chickpea flour contains 100% of your daily value of folate?
Iron: 25% of our daily value
Magnesium: 38% of our daily value
Phosphorus?: 29% of our daily value
Potassium?: 22% of our daily value
Manganese: 74% of our daily value
Carbohydrates?: 53.2 g
Protein: 20.6 g
Fat: 6.2 g
Top 5 Health Benefits of Chickpea Flour
- Great Source of Plant-Based Protein
One serving of chickpea flour contains 20g of protein, which is comparable to a 3 ounce serving of lean beef (Gunnars, 2018)! This makes chickpea flour an even better gluten-free flour substitute.
- Improves Satiety
Chickpeas are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates contain a mix of carbohydrates, such as dietary fiber and sugar. Therefore, they take longer to digest compared to simple carbs. Complex carbs slow the emptying of the stomach and make you feel full longer!
- Supports Heart Health
Due to the high fiber content of chickpea flour and its effect on LDL-C, or bad cholesterol, cholesterol is cleared from the body and this reduces the build-up of plaque in our arteries. In one study done on Type 1 Diabetic patients, a high fiber diet helped to lower the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease (Schoenaker et al. 2012).
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Chickpea flour has a low glycemic index, which indicates that it does not spike blood sugar, and instead causes small fluctuations. This decreases the risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes and even heart disease (Fuji et al. 2013).
- Lowers risk of Osteoporosis
Chickpea flour is high in the mineral magnesium, which is involved in supporting good bone health. A deficiency in magnesium increases the expression of parathyroid hormone, which is involved in releasing calcium from our bones (Castiglioni et al. 2013).
3 easy recipes for Chickpea flour:
Chickpea flour can be universally used as a flour substitute.
Since we love Chickpea flour so much here at Good Food For Good, here are the top three plant-based chickpea flour recipes – a special shout out to our readers!
There is a PDF available for download below with a brief overview of chickpea flour.
This Golden Crêpe recipe from Turmeric Teas will be your perfect new breakfast ritual! Make it sweet or savoury by topping it with jam or chives.
Or try this recipe by The Minimalist Baker! It is a popular street food in Nice, France, and a great gluten-free substitute for flatbread:
Finally try these Chickpea flour mini frittatas by The Mostly Vegan which are gluten-free and even cheesy thanks to the nutritional yeast!
- Bell, S. (March 31, 2014).?The small but mighty chickpea. Phys.org. Retrieved October 8?2019, from Phys.org
- Castiglioni, S., Cazzaniga, A., Albisetti, W., & Maier, J. A. (2013). Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients, 5(8), 3022–3033. doi:10.3390/nu5083022
- (2018, October). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/vegetables/chickpeas
- Fujii, H., Iwase, M., Ohkuma, T., Ogata-Kaizu, S., Ide, H., Kikuchi, Y., . . . Kitazono, T. (2013). Impact of dietary fiber intake on glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors and chronic kidney disease in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry. Nutrition Journal, 12(1), 159. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-159. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-159
- Gunnars, K. (2018, April 21). Ground Beef (80% Lean / 20% Fat). Retrieved from https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/ground-beef-(80%-lean—20%-fat)?portionid=41309&portionamount=5.000
- (2019, January 02). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese
- “Chickpea flour (besan)”. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4406/2
- Schoenaker, D. A., Toeller, M., Chaturvedi, N., Fuller, J. H., & Soedamah-Muthu, S. S. (2012). Dietary saturated fat and fibre and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality among type 1 diabetic patients: the EURODIAB Prospective Complications Study. Diabetologia, 55(8), 2132-2141. doi:10.1007/s00125-012-2550-0
- UN Food and Agriculture Organization. (2017).Chickpea production in 2016, Crops/Regions/World list/Production Quantity (pick lists). Retrieved May 8, 2019
Image courtesy: Spruceeats.com