The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat chickpeas. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What chickpeas etiquette is

Chickpeas etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat chickpeas. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve chickpeas to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat chickpeas at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat chickpeas

What you should know about chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume that is widely used in cooking and is native to the Middle East.

Chickpeas are small, round beans with a beige color and a firm, slightly grainy texture. They have a nutty and slightly earthy flavor.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat chickpeas

1) How to store chickpeas

The ideal temperature to store chickpeas is in a cool, dry place between 50-70°F (10-21°C). You can store dried chickpeas in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 1 year. Store fresh chickpeas in the fridge for up to 3-5 days, and in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Store sliced or cooked chickpeas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

2) How to clean chickpeas

To clean chickpeas, rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove any dirt or debris. There are no significant risks associated with cleaning chickpeas.

Chickpeas that have turned bad will have a sour or rancid smell and may be discolored or slimy.

3) How to prepare & cook chickpeas

Chickpeas should be cooked before consuming them. To prepare chickpeas for cooking, soak them in water for at least 4 hours or overnight to soften them. After soaking, rinse and drain the chickpeas before cooking. The most common ways to cook chickpeas include boiling, pressure cooking, or slow cooking. Common utensils for cooking chickpeas include a pot, pressure cooker, or slow cooker.

Popular dishes or types of dishes that use chickpeas include hummus, falafel, chana masala, and soups and stews.

Chickpeas can be used in salads and sandwiches, and can also be blended into hummus or pureed into a smoothie. They are suitable for vegan, keto, and paleo diets. However, they are not suitable for paleo diets that exclude legumes too.

4) How to serve & present chickpeas

Chickpeas are versatile and can be served in a variety of settings, including formal and informal meals, as a side dish, main course, appetizer, or even in desserts.

Chickpeas can be served warm or cold and can be presented in a bowl or on a plate. Serving tools such as a spoon or fork can be used to serve chickpeas.

You can accompany chickpeas with a variety of seasonings and accompaniments, including herbs, and spices. Common accompaniments include lemon, olive oil, garlic, and cumin.

5) Food and wine to pair chickpeas with

Chickpeas pair well with a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. They also pair well with fruits such as oranges and pomegranates. Vegetables and fruits that are high in acidity, such as pineapple, are not ideal pairings with chickpeas.

Chickpeas can be paired with cheese and dairy, such as feta cheese and yogurt. It is best to avoid dairy products that are high in fat, such as heavy cream.

Chickpeas can pair with meat, such as lamb and chicken, and also go well with fish, such as tuna and salmon. Fish that have a strong flavor, such as mackerel, do not pair well with chickpeas.

Chickpeas pair well with a variety of wines, including red, white, and rosé. Red wines such as Syrah and Pinot Noir pair well with chickpeas, while white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay also pair well. Beer and spirits such as gin and vodka can also pair well with chickpeas.

6) How to eat chickpeas

When eating chickpeas, it is polite to use utensils such as a fork or spoon, especially when in a formal setting. Eating with your fingers may be acceptable in more casual settings. However, it is always best to follow the lead of your hosts or those around you. You can eat whole chickpeas, including the peel, as it is edible and provides fiber.

Chickpeas etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common chickpeas etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Not properly cleaning chickpeas before cooking.
  • 6/10. Serving chickpeas too cold or too hot.
  • 6/10. Overcooking chickpeas, resulting in a mushy texture.

Additional information for properly serving chickpeas

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Chickpeas contain approximately 46 calories per 1/2 cup serving (82 grams) or 364 calories per 100 grams. A single chickpea contains about 4 calories.

How to buy the best chickpeas

A crucial factor in chickpeas etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Chickpeas are available all year round, but the best season to buy them depends on the region. In general, the harvest for chickpeas is in the fall. Thus, they may be more widely available and fresher during the winter months.

Choose the best

Chickpeas can be found in commerce in various forms, including fresh, canned, and dried. Dried chickpeas are the most common form, available in bulk or in packages, while canned chickpeas are popular for their convenience. Fresh chickpeas are less common but can be found in some specialty stores.

The most popular varieties of chickpeas in commerce are the Kabuli and Desi varieties. Kabuli chickpeas are larger and lighter in color, while Desi chickpeas are smaller and darker in color. The Kabuli variety is generally more prized for its taste and texture.

When buying chickpeas, look for those that are firm and uniform in size, shape, and color. Avoid any that are discolored, shriveled, or have insect damage. Freshness is also important, so check the expiration date on packaged chickpeas or ask your grocer about the harvest date for bulk chickpeas.

Alternatives to chickpeas

Some common alternatives to chickpeas include other legumes such as lentils, black beans, and kidney beans, as well as grains like quinoa and bulgur wheat. These can be used in similar recipes to chickpeas and provide similar nutritional benefits.

Resources

  • The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov