8 Chickpea Snacks This Nutritionist Loves

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These chickpea snacks—products and recipes—are great sources of plant protein and fiber. Check out the ones this registered dietitian loves.

The chickpea snack craze

Pulses, edible seeds that grow in a pod, are having a moment, and one of the rising stars is the chickpea. While pulses include all beans, peas, and lentils, chickpeas are a fan-favorite with their nutty flavor and versatility. There’s a lot to love about these little beans: They’re versatile, easy to eat, high in fiber, gluten-free, and vegetarian and vegan.

With all that in mind, I looked at the hype behind store-bought chickpea snacks to determine whether they’re worth eating and which brands are best. But first, let’s learn why chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses.

Chickpea nutrition

First and foremost, I am not kidding when I say chickpea nutrition is excellent. A cup of chickpeas provides adults with ample amounts of fiber and protein, not to mention a fair amount of iron, calcium, B vitamins, and antioxidants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Chickpeas are also an excellent source of health-promoting phytonutrients, including phytic acid, sterols, tannins, carotenoids, and isoflavones, according to the British Journal of Nutrition. These plant compounds play a role in maintaining health and preventing disease.

Because these little legumes are gluten-free, they are a great snack option for people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. They are a wonderful go-to snack for vegans and vegetarians, too.

The health benefits of chickpeas

Healthy eaters love chickpeas: A study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences found that people who eat chickpeas and/or hummus tend to eat more fruits and vegetables overall than people who don’t.

Why do health-minded eaters choose chickpeas? The beans are a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium, all essential nutrients for health.

Protein

Protein is important to maintain bone, skin, and muscle health. It also plays a role in weight management and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol, according to research published in 2019 in Nutrition Reviews. It helps to keep us full and assists in daily metabolic function. And chickpeas have a lot of it.

A 150-pound adult who eats 1 cup of chickpeas per day is getting 23 percent of their daily protein needs. This makes chickpeas an attractive lunchtime option.

I personally like to saute them in a pan with cumin, red pepper flakes, and a touch of olive oil—a flavorful topping for my lunchtime salad. It’s fast, easy, and guaranteed to make me feel good throughout the day instead of sluggish. (Here are more dietitian-approved high-protein snacks.)

Fiber

Per cup, chickpeas have 22 grams of fiber, which benefits heart health by drawing cholesterol away from the body. Fiber also helps keep you full until your next meal, a perk that can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Fiber works to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain healthy bowel and digestion functions. Eating a high-fiber diet is associated with a decreased risk of gastrointestinal disorders, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer, according to research in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Iron

Iron is vital for producing hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen. It also plays a role in making certain hormones and producing DNA.

Chickpeas are a great source of iron, especially for vegetarians who may require supplementation. Often iron supplements can be constipating, as noted in a 2015 study in PLoS One. However, with the high fiber content of chickpeas, it’s not an issue.

Magnesium

Chickpeas also have about 230 milligrams of magnesium per cup, making them heart-healthy, too. One of magnesium’s most important jobs is to regulate muscle function throughout the body—and that includes the heart muscle, according to Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease. In the body, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm.

This mineral helps regulate other bodily functions as well, including blood pressure, the production of cholesterol, and the sleep cycle.

Chickpea snacks you can buy

Now that you know all of the great reasons to include chickpeas in your diet, check out some of my favorite store-bought chickpea snacks. (These are the other healthy snacks nutritionists eat.)

Hippeasvia amazon.com

Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs

$3.40

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Who doesn’t want to eat a nutrient-packed Cheetos-like snack? Hippeas puffs are made with chickpea flour and come in a variety of flavors, like white cheddar, nacho, barbecue, and sriracha. They’re really tasty and satisfy salt cravings. The snack is low in calories and has 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving. I recommend these for times when you’re craving something chip-like; they provide an equally satisfying crunch.

(Here’s why potato chips are addictive.)


Lebbyvia amazon.com

Lebby Chickpea Snacks

$30 for a 12-pack

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These gluten-free, vegan chickpea snacks coat dry-roasted chickpeas in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, or sesame honey. They have no artificial flavors or allergens. I love that there’s plenty of fiber and protein (4 grams each per serving). These Lebby Chickpea Snacks are easy to eat on the go, and they don’t skimp on the chocolate.


Biena Chickpea Snacksvia amazon.com

Biena Chickpea Snacks

$28 for an 8-pack

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Biena’s roasted chickpeas are the perfect combination of salty and sweet, thanks to the real honey and sea salt. They come in a variety of flavors, like ranch, barbecue, and habanero. Like most other chickpea snacks, these have a good amount of plant protein and fiber—5 grams each per serving. Plus, the little bags are perfectly portable.


The Good Bean Dark Chocolate Covered Chickpeasvia amazon.com

The Good Bean Dark Chocolate Covered Chickpeas

$31 for an 8-pack

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I eat chocolate every day and love it if there is fiber in my chocolate, too. (Fiber has been linked to good gut health.) The Good Bean’s Dark Chocolate Covered Chickpeas are the kind of chickpea snack I’m looking for to elevate my gut health game. All the chickpeas covered in chocolate, please and thank you. For variety, the company also makes milk chocolate and mocha flavors.

(Here are the best foods and recipes for gut health.)


Kibo Chickpea Chipsvia amazon.com

Kibo Chickpea Chips

$20 for a 12-pack

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These chips are made from chickpea flour—a gift from the universe if I ever saw one. Kibo Chickpea Chips have 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, so they will keep you feeling full but unlikely to eat multiple bags. They come in fun flavors, like pico de gallo, Mediterranean herbs, and pink Himalayan salt. How can you go wrong?


Chickpea snacks you can make

I’ve been playing around with perfecting chickpea snacks for the last few years, and what I’ve found is that canned chickpeas work better than dried. (Here are the other canned foods nutritionists buy.) With dried chickpeas, you have to rehydrate them and then make sure they dry, but with canned, you simply rinse them.

I like to lay rinsed chickpeas out on a kitchen towel overnight. If you want to try something other than hummus, here are some fun chickpea snack recipe ideas.

Basic Chickpea Snack

Ingredients

  • 14 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Rinse chickpeas, then dry on a kitchen towel overnight.
  2. Toss chickpeas in olive oil and salt.
  3. Roast in the oven at 400° F for about 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool and enjoy.

Spicy Chickpea Snack

Ingredients

  • 14 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse chickpeas, then dry on a kitchen towel overnight.
  2. Toss chickpeas in olive oil and salt.
  3. Roast in the oven at 400° F for about 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool before combining with chili powder cayenne pepper.

Sweet and Savory Chickpea Snack

Ingredients

  • 14 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Rinse chickpeas, then dry on a kitchen towel overnight.
  2. Toss chickpeas in olive oil and salt.
  3. Roast in the oven at 400° F for about 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool before combining with pistachios, cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.

Now that you know all about chickpea snacks, check out these other healthy snacks for adults.

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