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How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas | Family Cuisine

dalChana dal is a type of lentil that can be boiled and then stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It's also great in soups, curries, and stews.

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How to store boiled chana

I absolutely love chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. These protein-packed legumes have a mild, nutty flavor that goes well in a variety of dishes, including hummus, soups and stews. Because of the time involved in preparing dried chickpeas, most people resort to canned varieties. The trouble with canned chickpeas is that many contain additives for preservation, as well as high sodium content from added salt. Making chickpeas from scratch is a much more natural and healthy way to go, and it’s surprisingly easy. This recipe, photo tutorial and video will show you the whole process, step-by-step.

Overhead shot of cooked chickpeas on blue plate with parsley and spoon.Tori’s Stories

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Here is a simple method for quick-soaking and preparing chickpeas for recipes. Chickpeas are soaked before boiling for two reasons – one, they need to be softened before they boil, and two, pre-soaking helps to make the beans more digestible. You can soak them quickly, as described below, or overnight if you prefer. My friend Gila Ronel, a doula and holistic nutritionist in Israel, soaks the beans for a couple of days until they begin to sprout. She says that the nutritional value improves when the chickpeas are sprouted. If you try this, you’ll need to use cold water, not the quick soak method. Make sure you change the water they are soaking in twice daily to keep bacteria at bay. When shopping for your chickpeas, make sure you use a bulk bin with a high turnover rate. The older the chickpeas are, the less tender they will cook. Beans that have been sitting in a pantry for a year or longer tend to go stale and will not cook up as nicely.

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Most recipes call for chickpeas that have been soaked and boiled until tender (falafel is one notable exception- chickpeas should only be soaked for falafel, not cooked). I often make a large batch of cooked chickpeas, then refrigerate or even freeze for future use. I have covered the instructions for storing and freezing below. You will notice that home-prepared chickpeas taste much better than the canned variety, and you’ll have more control over the salt content. Preparing the beans this way is also more affordable… you’ll save over 50% by preparing them yourself. Frugality rocks!

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Overhead shot of cooked chickpeas in colander on a grey background.

Nutritional information per serving is for 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (1/3 cup dried chickpeas)- values and cook times will vary based on how what cooking method is used.

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