From hummus to stews to curries, chickpeas are a protein-rich ingredient that give dishes heft. They come both dried and canned, but the dried ones are decidedly more wallet-friendly. Here’s how to cook dried chickpeas, and store them for use later.
Do you like chickpeas? These beans are delicious in so many recipes from soups and salads to curries and pasta. I love buying dried chickpeas from the bulk bins at my local natural food store since I can purchase as much as we need — no more, no less.
It does take some planning ahead to prepare dried beans of any kind. But once they are reconstituted, they can be used as you would canned beans in recipes.
From an economic standpoint, dried chickpeas are better for my wallet too. Canned beans are fine in a pinch (we use them sometimes!) but they come at a premium price. Dried beans bought in bulk cost less than canned alternatives.
Where to buy dried chickpeas in bulk
Look for dried chickpeas at grocery stores, health food stores and the like throughout the United States.
The dried beans in one-pound packages are easiest to find and are located where the beans are in the store. But many stores also have bulk bins, and that’s an even better place to purchase them since they are even more wallet-friendly and you can buy only the amount you need.
Our local natural store, the Natural Living Center, is where I typically purchase them. They’re also available from bulk bins at co-ops, health stores and some bigger organic-forward stores.
How to cook dried chickpeas
There are many methods for cooking dried chickpeas — stovetop or in a pressure cooker, for instance — but my favorite is cooking them in a slow cooker. You don’t have to soak the chickpeas when you do it this way, which makes this an ultra-simple process.
Start by weighing your chickpeas to ensure you are cooking your desired amount. I generally cook one pound at a time.
Rinse and pick over the chickpeas. You want to make sure there aren’t any straggler rocks in what you’re going to cook. No one wants to find a rock in their batch of cooked beans, right?
Add the chickpeas plus 7 cups of water and a bay leaf to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for four hours. You can also cook them on low for 7-8 hours, but I prefer the faster cooking method.
And voila! Perfectly cooked chickpeas made in a slow cooker ready for recipes or tossing on salads.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.